Looking back on your schooling, what do you remember about Black history? Rosa Park’s civil rights movement by refusing to give up her bus seat? Martin Luther King’s revolutionary speech? Although these are important civil rights events, there is much more to educate children on with regards to Black history. Black history is honoured all year but the dedication of Black History Month creates an opportunity for educators to highlight the successes and importance of Black history. It is always important to remember Black history is world history too.
The 2022 Black History Month Theme is Black Health and Wellness. This theme is meant to encourage individuals to explore the contributions of Black professionals as scholars and medical practitioners. Not exclusive to Western medicine, the theme encourages recognition of non-traditional health and wellness such as birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths etc. (Black History Themes, 2022)
Now, how do we take this information into the classroom? Read below for 7 meaningful ways you can celebrate Black History Month in your classroom.
Lessons are important to relay information but allowing students the space to discuss and ask questions is where they can solidify topics. Students can build off of their peers and learn more through discussions. Creating a safe space for students to feel comfortable asking and answering questions is important. Start off with asking questions such as:
- What does Black history mean to you?
- How do you think this person felt during that time?
- What can you do to encourage equality?
Black History Treasure Hunt
A great activity to implement in the classroom is a Black history treasure hunt. Using internet searching, students search for the correct answer to a historic question. There are modifications for different grade levels and difficulties. This is a great activity to engage students and get them excited about finding the information and competing with peers.
Invest in Black Authors Texts
In New York, more than eight out of ten books students are shown in class are written by White authors. (Diverse City, 2020) Students need to be introduced to more Black authors as they speak to Black perspectives and experiences. Here is a list of engaging and interesting books to read to your class!
Quote or Fact of the Day
Every morning, have a new relevant fact or quote for students to read and explore. This can be done by posting it around the classroom, online or both! This can trigger a discussion about the importance or history of the statement.
Person of the Day/Week
There are so many prominent Black figures both in today’s society and throughout history. Taking the time to educate and learn more about their significance with your class is a great way to engage students. This does not have to be exclusive to huge celebrities or large historic figures – Look at other contributors such as writers, athletes, politicians, heroes, scientists etc. to broaden students’ knowledge.
Arts and Crafts
Who doesn’t like arts and crafts? A great way to allow students to be creative while educating themselves on Black history and culture is through art. To further the lesson, try including a discussion on Black artists and their pieces of work. Here is a list of relevant crafts to try out in your classroom.
Facilitate a Class Project
Assign your classroom a month-long project of their choice that highlights the importance of a Black figure or movement. Allow students to do independent research then collaborate to create a poster, powerpoint, or bulletin board!
We hope these resources will be beneficial in your classroom and in educating both your students and yourself. Black History Month is a critical time for reflection and we hope you can continue to use these resources and lessons beyond the month of February.
Black history themes. ASALH. (2022). Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://asalh.org/black-history-themes
Diverse City, White Curriculum. NY Coalition for Educational Justice. (2020). Retrieved February 6, 2022, from http://www.nyccej.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Diverse-City-White-Curriculum-3.pdf