I’ll say this louder for those in the back. Black History should be celebrated all year. Things like National Muffin Day should be a small period of time. But something as important as celebrating the bravery and accomplishments of African American men and women should be mainstream, and not taught in schools six or seven months later. These Black History Month Activities can be used throughout the school year. Why wait until February?
Where To Start In A Time Like This?
I am a 6’ 1” blonde woman with very Dutch heritage. My skin is so pale that I wear sunscreen on my face daily. Even in December. Why does this matter? Because my students need to hear how important this issue is from someone WHO LOOKS LIKE ME.
This is 2020. It’s a tough time and this is a touchy subject. But I am going to unapologetically state for the record that I am an ally for my students. I taught in a predominantly African American population, and I loved it. My students are my kiddos and will be for the rest of my life.
But it was hard to teach Black History Month activities. How does someone who looks like me, tell these children about horrible things from history caused by someone who looks like me?
“I Believe And Know They Were Wrong”
Start like this.: “I believe and know they were wrong.” I tell them that I can not imagine telling a little girl that she could not go to school or sit somewhere on the bus. I tell them that there were a lot of people that looked like me that marched WITH Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I believe I would have been one of them. I tell them that I will never believe that they can’t do something because of the color of their skin, and my job is to make sure that they believe it too.
Black History Month Read Alouds
Here are my favorite books to add to your collection. You can click on each one to head over to Amazon if you need to pick up a copy.
I’m always learning and listening about the impact that I have on my students. One thing that I have heard, and that I take to heart is that limiting Black History Month Activities to these three individuals limits learning about the accomplishments of other less famous people. However, I taught first grade. I know that these three paved the way for many people that came after them. Just because we start here doesn’t mean we end here. Look for leaders in your community and show your students that it’s more than about being famous.
Black History Month Activities For Your Literacy Stations
Here are some Black History Month Activities you can do with your students. Which can be used ANY time, not just February!
- Black History Month Fact of the day
- Start your morning meeting with these facts.
- Play “Guess Who”
- Research African American people who have made an impact either in the world, or in your community.
- Students give clues about each person, and the rest of the group guesses who they are.
- Use a reflection journal.
- Sure, you could use a notebook, but my favorite thing to do is use a program called Seesaw to do video reflections.
- Give your students prompts and they video tape themselves telling what they’ve learned about the people they’re studying and why it’s important to them.
If you’re short on time, and need some activities that are ready to go with little or no-prep involved: check these activities out. There are traditional paper-pencil activities, as well as digital resources for your Seesaw library or Google Classroom. I assign them to my literacy stations for both my reading comprehension station, and my listening stations.
Where To Continue In A Time Like This?
Read books by African Americans. Read books about African Americans. Let your students know that you’re doing this. Open your hearts and ears and minds. Be an ally.
I welcome comments, as I am dedicated to listening and learning. However, comments with an unprofessional or unkind tone will be deleted. Let’s learn from each other and build each other up.
Much love, Rachael