What Black History Month Looks Like in My Classroom
It’s Black History Month! Now, I realize that Black History should be celebrated all year long and not just in the shortest month, and in my classroom it is, but I love Black History Month for 2 big reasons.
- I really get to focus on the amazing culture, history, and contributions of Black people without having to jump through hoops to tie it into our bland curriculum.
- Other people care about Black History too. Black history/culture has a constant presence in my classroom because I’m black, that’s just how it is. However, during Black History Month, I see most of the classrooms in my school, and around social media, go out of their way to discuss it in some way.
1. Class Meeting
I always kick off February 1st with a classroom meeting. I tell the kids why I’m so excited for Black History Month and why it’s important. We discuss how a month of Black History is needed because it’s not typically included in our curriculum and even when it is, a lot of it is about slavery and civil rights. A great read aloud for day one is “Our People” by Angela Shelf Medearis. In the book, a father is telling his daughter about the amazing history of their people. How their people were kings and queens and invented amazing things.
2. Read Alouds
I have a whole slew of picture books I love reading aloud with my students. I make sure to read books with diverse characters all year long, but I try to set these ones aside, knowing that I want to use them in February. You can download a list of all of the books pictured for FREE here.
3. Book Display
If your schedule and pacing don’t allow for whole group read alouds daily (or even if they do), just making books available to students can have a huge impact. I check out a ton of books from the library each month and simply put them on display. My students will grab them to read dyring breakfast, when they finish work early, during transition times, or when they are waiting for their bus to be called. I never have to introduce or sell these books to them, just putting them in their eyeline is enough to generare interest.
4. A New Daily Routine
During Black History Month, our routine changes a little bit. First, students get to select a Black History Biography necklace every morning.They are necklaces with a picture of a person on the front and a mini biography on the back. The necklace they choose is theirs for the day and I try to incorporate it throughout the day when I have time.The second way our daily routine changes is by our biography of the day. I read a page-long biography of a different person every day and then the students respond verbally or by writing a couple sentences. I choose a couple students each day to record their response, facts, or quotes on the graffiti bulletin board.
*2023 UPDATE* Over the years, I’ve adapted this to a digital version as well! I have been using the digital version daily as it includes links to videos or read alouds. I still use my bio cards/necklaces and have even incorporated them into a “Timeline of Greatness” display. I added the timeline cards to the resource on TPT!
5. Bulletin Board
I love a good interactive board. My board this year is modeled after the book, “Young, Gifted, and Black” by Jamia Wilson. This book highlights 52 famous African-Americans. I printed pictures of some of the people and hung them on the board. I will read a different person every day and then students will be able to write on the board, around the picture of the person, with their response for the day. The board is still clean because it’s the beginning of the month. I will update this post as my board starts to get filled in.
What does Black History Month look like in your classroom? I’m always looking for new things to incorporate. Leave me a comment below and share your great ideas!
Talk to you soon,