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Black History Month Resources

Black History Month Resources

This blog was written by Kelley Painter, M. Ed., Reading Specialist at New Story Schools in Indiana, PA. 

We celebrate Black History Month each year, and quite possibly, we do the same things every time in our classrooms to celebrate. You may not have even known that there is a theme each year beyond just Black history. This year the theme is “African Americans and the Arts!" Here, we have compiled some different resources that could be helpful to you in the classroom to improve not only Black History Month, but the inclusion of Black history (present and future too!) in the classroom. 

Do’s and Don’ts:  

To start, we’ll take a look at an article written by Jeanne Sager at TeachStarter. In her blog, she lists 13 Black History Month activities for educators to incorporate into their lesson plans. She also includes a brief list of general do’s and don’ts for the topic of Black history lesson plans. These do’s and don’ts are listed below to help you ensure that you are properly presenting Black history to your students. If you would like to read the full article, click here! 

Do Take Time to Evaluate Your Teaching as a Whole: It is important to reflect on how your teaching is going many times throughout the year, that is how we improve. While this is not meant to be critical of anyone, it is important that we think about how much we include Black history in our daily teaching. Ask yourself if you have discussed Black history prior to Black History Month, and if so, how? Have you read books featuring Back children or adults this year? There are about 7.4 million public school students who are Black, and about 2.2 million who are biracial in America. It is important that we include Black history, perspectives, and stories all year round. If you realize that you have not been doing that, don’t panic, now you are aware and can start.  

Don’t Single Out Black Students: If students come to you and want to share stories about their heritage and backgrounds, that is wonderful and should be encouraged. However, don’t single out Black students. It is not their responsibility to teach their White classmates.  

Do Address That Black History is American History: The month may be called Black History Month, but what you are teaching is American history. It’s important that White students understand that this is part of their history as well, and not just something for Black classmates to care about. 

Don’t Treat This as the Past: While Black history is history, it’s important not to teach it as if it only happened a long time ago, because it is STILL happening. For example, we only saw the first Black American president in 2008 and the first Black American vice president in 2020, and the fight for equality is ongoing. 

Activity and Lesson Ideas 

Now that we understand the preparation for our lessons and how to carefully present the subject, we can begin to look at fun activities that can be done in the classroom to make this Black History Month both informative and engaging! Below are several resources from across the web to provide, or help you brainstorm, exciting activities for this month! 

Black History Lesson Plans: Check out this article by the National Education Association which provides lesson ideas and activities to teach Black history. It has items and materials grouped into grade levels, specifically K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. There are also multiple additional resources in the article. To view this article, click here. 

African American Art Resources: This article, published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, provides resources for art teachers who have lessons on Black history. You will find multiple famous artworks by Black artists and learn about African American art styles. To view this article, click here.  

The Birth of Hip Hop: Learn about the history of hip hop and then create a rap related to something our students have experienced in their lives with this video from The Kids Should See This. To watch the video, click here.  

African American Artists: This article was written by a teacher named Tanya Merriman. In the article, Merriman lists several famous Black artists and shows how she uses their art style to have her students create art pieces themselves! You can discuss the artist and their works while creating art in their style. To view this article, click here.  

Black History Month Playlists: Many genres of the music we listen to today were shaped by Black artists and influencers. Here are a few playlists to exemplify the history of Black music: 

Spotify Black History Month Playlist: To listen, click here.  

10 Influential Black History Songs: To listen, click here.  

Celebrating Black Artists: To listen, click here.  

Black History Month Songs for Kids: To listen, click here. 

Virtual Museum Tours: This article provides several African American or Black History Museums that your classroom can visit virtually. To view this article, click here.  

We hope that you find some truly special, fun, and creative ways to discuss the amazing influences that  Black culture and people have made in the arts and our lives! 

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