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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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6 Teaching Tools for Black History Month

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Black History Month provides a great opportunity for students to explore and learn more about a variety of issues. But it's important that teachers "reinforce that 'black history' is American history," writes Pat Russo in Do's and Don'ts of Teaching Black History Month. Russo's article is a great place to start when determining how to best incorporate black history into your lesson plans. Really, it's a topic that should be incorporated throughout the year, Russo writes, but in February, teachers can dig deeper, provide students with more context, and connect the past to the present.

Every year since 1928, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History has provided a theme for Black History Month. This year, we'll celebrate the 101st Black History Month, and the theme is "Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories." Here are some resources for diving into that theme:

Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories

Additional Resources for Black History Month

  • Dive Into Primary Sources on BlackPast.org: BlackPast.org is one of the largest repositories of information relating to Black History on the web. The site features more than 13,000 pages, and the content is organized into three categories: African American History, African American History in the American West, and Global African History. Teachers, be sure to check out BlackPast in the Classroom for ideas and tips for using the site with students.

  • EdTech Ideas From Edutopia: Last year, Edutopia blogger Irvin Weathersby curated some really innovative tech tools for exploring Black History Month. One that's particularly relevant to this year's theme is More than a Map(p), a "multi-layered geo-location app that locates sites and landmarks relevant to African American history in your immediate vicinity."

  • Beyond Black History Month From Learn NC: This article from the University of North Carolina's School of Education offers ways teachers can "shift the lens" and explore African American history from new perspectives. The school has also produced a long list of lesson plans and related resources for teaching black history.

  • Celebrate African American Heritage With Scholastic: This rich collection of teaching resources covers a lot of ground, including the Civil Rights Movement, African American contributions to the arts, and slavery in America. Each topic is covered with lesson plans, multimedia, and reading lists.

  • Black History Month Lessons and Resources From the NEA: The National Education Association produced this exhaustive collection of teaching resources for Black History Month. Lesson plans are provided for all grade levels, and they include quizzes, discussion topics, and background information.

  • Civil Rights Lessons From the Smithsonian: Smithsonian Source offers a smaller package of document-based question (DBQ) activities and lesson plans with links to source material. There are resources here for all grades, including two elementary school plans and both high school and middle school DBQs.

There are many wonderful resources online for Black History Month. Unfortunately, we could only cover a few. Did we miss anything? What resources do you use in your classroom?

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Basmah's picture

I really like the banner that you have in your picture. May I ask where you got it?

Debra Cotton's picture

Thank you for the many links and teaching tools for Black History Month. I especially appreciate the repeating of one of Pat Russo's Dos and Don'ts of Teaching Black History Month that says "reinforce that 'black history' is American history." I have used a couple of your teaching tools to convey Black History.

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

Thanks for these great resources! I've been trying to find some good resources that don't start and end with slavery and the civil rights battles. (This article in Time really got me thinking: http://time.com/4208013/black-history-month-education/)

hefroceslo's picture

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Jayne Reuben's picture

I am posting a Black History fact everyday this month on my facebook page. My focus is on contributions in Health care-medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, public health. So don't forget the National Library of Medicine
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/aframsurgeons/
here are some other links
http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/
http://www.biography.com/people/groups/african-american-firsts-science-m...
http://afam.nts.jhu.edu/about
http://ndaonline.org/about-nda/

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