What are some innovative projects for teaching Black History Month? This year, try something new. Your kids will love constructing pop-up books – and reading biographies. Or, if you’re a techie, try a Google Maps activity celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Finally, create a stunning display for your classroom with pictorial research of famous African Americans.
Ms. Sneed Searches for New Ideas for Teaching Black History Month
Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, sat at her computer. “Let’s see what we can find for teaching Black History Month,” she said to her student teacher, Mr. Grow. She tapped her pencil, deep in thought. “Let’s do something innovative, fun.”
“Yeah,” Mr. Grow said. “Not just reading about it and answering questions.” Ms. Sneed smiled. Her mentee was beginning to understand how to engage learners.
Five Tips for Teaching Black History Month – and Making Pop-Up Books
As Ms. Sneed searched, a post from Teaching Ideas for Those Who Love to Teach caught her eye. The author offered five tips to use before teaching Black History Month.
“Here’s some good advice,” she said to Mr. Grow. “First, the author recommends covering one period of history at a time. Second, we should address common misconceptions. For example, the Underground Railroad was not a railroad at all. Third, she advocates a more thorough discussion of the abolition movement. In other words, we should include people of all races who fought against slavery.”
“Like Levi Coffin from our state of Indiana,” Mr. Grow added.
“Right! The fourth point in the article is to encourage family involvement. Hmm. That’s something I never considered. What a great idea. We could have our students work on a project at home. Finally, we should remember that history is still being made. During the month of February, we could definitely spotlight some current events.”
As Ms. Sneed scrolled to the bottom of the page, her eyes opened a little wider. “Look at these! Our students would love this series of pop-up books! What a cute idea to celebrate African American heritage!”
Appreciating Our Differences
“This reminds us to help our students celebrate differences. And look at the books she has recommended.” Mr. Grow wrote down the titles. “I’ll head down to the library after school,” he said. “We can read aloud from these biographies.”
Celebrating Dr. King with Google Maps
Next, Ms. Sneed headed to one of her favorite teaching blogs, Two Boys and a Dad. She hit the search icon and found a Google Maps activity. “Hey, our kids would love learning about the life of Martin Luther King, Junior, this way!” she said. “And the post gives step-by-step directions as well.”
“How about the second week of February?” Mr. Grow asked.
“Perfect,” she replied. The plan book was filling up with great ideas for teaching Black History Month.
At the bottom of the webpage, Ms. Sneed noticed a link for free shades of meaning discussion cards. Yes! Her students could really use practice in that skill. Quickly, she clicked back to TpT and downloaded the resource.
Teaching Black History Month with a Pictorial Research Project
Finally, Ms. Sneed explored options for research projects. Back on Teachers pay Teachers, she found two similar resources. “This one features abolitionists,” said Ms. Sneed, “while this one celebrates African Americans.”
“Interesting,” said Mr. Grow. “The five tips suggest studying all abolitionists. But I still think this month is about celebrating African Americans.”
“Agreed.” Ms. Sneed downloaded and opened the resource.
“February promises to be an inspirational month in this classroom,” said Mr. Grow. Did Ms. Sneed see a hint of that famous teacher smile on his lips?
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.