I’m all about being honest and transparent, so here goes. I’ve never done a good job of teaching and incorporating Black History Month in our class. In the past we’ve done door decorating and we’ve learned about Martin Luther King and Barack Obama, which is great but I knew we could be doing more. That’s what inspired my Black History Month Research Project. I wanted to teach my students about African American heroes and how they changed the world. and I wanted to focus on people my students might never hear of otherwise. We are now in week 2 of this research project and it’s been a huge success.
As we’re learning about each person and their struggles and how they overcome adversity, my students are having great conversations about bravery and courage and changing the world. They’re most impressed with Ruby Bridges and how she was a first grader who changed the world! And yes, they’re 5 so we’re obsessed with the fact that some people have died. I love seeing their range of emotions as we read and learn about each person. They start with anger and cofusion at the unfair treatment and then move to excitement and joy when we read how people never gave up and kept going and made a difference.
So, today I wanted to share our project and walk you through how we do it in our classroom.
For each person, we do a read aloud and watch a YouTube video. Then we discuss that person. We talk about the things that happened to this person because they were black and we discuss how this makes us feel. Next, we talk about what they did to change the world. (A little note…when reading the books I do skip some stuff…because I teach 5 year olds and there are details that they don’t need to hear. They can still learn about the person and their bravery and achievements, but without some of the more “mature” content. They’re 5, remember…)
Then we fill out our chart for that person and finally we write in our research journal.
And we end our day of learning with a directed drawing of the person we learned about. I chose directed drawings as our art project for this research project because I feel like the drawings help my kids see that these were real people. The drawings help connect us to them. And directed drawings are just fun and full of personality.
When we learned about Jesse Owens, we learned that he lost his shoes on his trip to the Olympics, so we made him new shoes!
Also included in my Black History Month Research project are math and literacy centers! These activities feature some fun people like Oprah, Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson!
You can check out my Black History Research Project by clicking on the picture!
You can see the directed drawings we use by clicking on the picture!
Black History Month Research Project Book Suggestions:
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