Monday, February 3, 2020

Not Your Same Black History Month

Though its a short month, February is full of celebrations and observances. American Heart Month, Valentine’s Day, and also Black History Month. It’s important to acknowledge vital moments of the past, but also let students know that we are all still contributing to the narrative of Black History here in America regardless of our backgrounds. In preparation for the month, here are some ideas on ways that you can incorporate and integrate technology and Black History Month into your classroom for the next few weeks.

Quote of the Week/Month

Think about your classroom. What are you currently studying? What are your students interested in? What has held their attention out of the classroom lately? Look for some inspiring quotes from present-day staples in the African American community that relate to any of the questions above. Selecting the right quote can empower them to move forward in their goals. Of course, you can type the quote yourself and print it on white paper. Go beyond that and use a graphic creation site, such as Canva, to add color, images, and dimension to your quote. Enlarge your graphic, print small individual copies for each student, or add to your daily slides to capture your students’ attention. Again, consider pulling quotes from modern influencers and explain their contribution to society. 

Here are some sample sites to pull from:

Got Primary Sources?

Great! There’s an AVID strategy to support the use of primary sources. There are a wealth of photographs, artifacts, and other pieces of art that are staples in the African American community. Give your students an opportunity to take their analysis of these resources to a deeper level by using the AVID inquiry strategy called P.O.S.E.R. When looking at the resource, students use their observation skills to draw conclusions from the people, objects, setting, engagement, and relationships that they see. From there, students formulate and write a summary of their findings. This is a great way to engage students’ prior knowledge, biases, or thirst for new learning.

Get your own copy of the template here.

Social Media Influence
Social media is a modern phenomenon that did not exist for some of the major historical moments in black history. Today, leaders and influencers use social media as a way to spread ideals and awareness on many issues. What would it be like if social media was present for some of the groundbreaking moments that forged our history? Consider asking your students the questions below provided by teacher/author Nancy Barile:
Would you consider anyone you follow on social media to be a leader? What power do they have? Who's bringing attention to important issues, and who's drawing attention away from them? How can social media spread awareness? When your students have their answers, lead a discussion about their main news sources and how informed they truly are. This is an ideal time to point out that, thanks to the internet, it's possible that what your students consider to be common knowledge is something many people don't know.

Finally, have your students write a reflection where they return to the original discussion questions and see how their answers may have changed. Their reflection should include some new ways they can find and evaluate information, and you can stress the importance of being informed, educated, and empathetic global citizens.

Using Images

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This one is a no brainer. As you're giving students an opportunity to create, consider giving them information about famous African Americans to use as a background. Studying a particular reading skill? Have them read about a famous African American here in South Carolina. Counting items? Have students count items (tennis balls) that represent notable sports figures such as Serena Williams. Look for ways to incorporate modern trailblazers in your content. The ideas are limitless!

Because of technology, we have the opportunity to reach further than our 4 walls in our classrooms. Bringing awareness to various backgrounds in our classrooms creates a culture of empathy and respect. Utilize these resources to celebrate Black History Month in February and beyond. 

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