As a mom, a bi-racial mom, I want my 2 daughters to know Black history. I want them to know that Black history IS American history. To know about the many Black people, historical figures, influencers, who helped shape our nation.
As a teacher, I want the same for my students. I want them to know the importance of Black history and culture. To celebrate the many achievements of Black Americans to our society. To affirm the lives and contributions of Black Americans. To honor the culture, history, and accomplishments of Black Americans.
President Ford wanted the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
February is Black History Month. It’s an opportunity for us as teachers and parents to dig deeper into Black history and to CONTINUE (beyond the month of February) to teach our students about the many Black Americans that have influenced our country’s history in the past and the many Black Americans that continue to influence our country today.
Black History Month is such a fun month. And it should be fun. After all, it is a month of celebration. There are so many different Black History Month activities you can do with your students. In this blog post, you’ll find 7 Black History Month activities you can do today with your students!
Fun Fact: Why is February Black History Month?
If you aren’t new around here, you know that I love fun facts and sharing fun facts with my students. So here’s one for ya! Do you know why Black History Month is celebrated in February? February was chosen because the second week of February was birthday to both President Abraham Lincoln, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. You can find more interesting facts about Black history to share with your students here!
#1-Black History Month Activities: Favorite Books
Here are some of my favorite books to read in honor of Black History Month but these are also great to read any time of the year! Storyline Online also has tons of great books to celebrate Black History Month! One of my favorites is As Fast As Words Could Fly. My third graders last year LOVED this story!
You can also watch and listen to White Socks Only here!
#2-Black History Month Activities: Mystery Fact Math Puzzles
Trivia facts are my love language. I’m a nerd, I know. But a simple way to begin exposing your students and allowing them to become more curious about Black history and Black American influencers is to share a new Black History Month fact daily. You can share a trivia fact during morning meeting, your closing meeting, or even during your math block. I use these daily math warm-up worksheets for morning work or sometimes at the beginning of my math block. Once my students have solved the math problems, they cut out the strips, put them in order from least to greatest, then the mystery fact is revealed. These math puzzles are really fun and my kids love learning new facts each day. There’s a set for both 2nd grade and 3rd grade.
#3-Black History Month Activities: Youtube Videos
This is great, kid-friendly video that I share with my students on the first school day of February. We watch the video during morning meeting and then have a class discussion. I ask them about their thoughts on the video and basically have them lead the discussion. We talk about how Black people have endured many hardships in their lives both then and now, and how many of them persevered by becoming inventors, scientists, actors, writers, pilots, etc. We talk about how they were able to accomplish these things because they never stopped fighting for their rights. We also discuss how they fought for their rights (peaceful protests, etc.).
I also show these two Black History videos to my students during the first week of February. They’re short but packed full of great information!
My Asynchronous Rosa Parks Video Lesson
Below is an asynchronous lesson I recorded for my students when we were learning about Rose Parks. In this lesson, I share with them a book about Rosa Parks from EPIC.
#4-Black History Month Activities: Brain Break + Black History Trivia
Brain breaks are a daily activity in my classroom and I am quite literally obsessed with this youtube channel. They provide a plethora of engaging brain breaks for students. There’s even a brain break activity that integrates Black History trivia. Check it out below.
#5-Black History Month Activities: Quizizz or Kahoot
Have you used Quizizz or Kahoot with your students yet? I personally LOVE using Quizizz with my 2nd graders and they are obsessed. They’ve never been so engaged in their entire life ha. You can find many pre-made Black history trivia games on both of these platforms.
#6-Black History Month Activities: Research Project
All students love doing research projects. The freedom to hop onto a laptop or tablet and head over to PebbleGo or any similar kid friendly research platform gives kids that autonomy to create their own learning. Tammy, from The Owl Teacher, provides her students with puzzle pieces of this Black Hero Puzzle. After they have researched their Black American Hero, they can illustrate the individual in the center, add his or her accomplishments, & add some fun facts! Such a fun project!
#7-Black History Month Activities: Sentence Building Activities
In my classroom, my students love completing these sentence building activities! I normally have my students work in partners or small groups to unscramble the sentence but you could easily have this as an independent literacy center in your classroom. I love it too because it’s low prep and engaging for the kids! #ThatsAWinForEveryone
How to Use this Activity
Each unit consists of 6 sentences about an African American leader. My students start with one set (one sentence) where all of the word cards have been mixed up. Then, they work together to build the sentence about that African American leader. This activity integrates so many skills…they’re learning about these amazing leaders in Black History, while practicing sentence structure…HELLO READING, WRITING AND SOCIAL STUDIES ALL IN ONE! (*Insert Hallelujah hands here!) Here’s a free set on Martin Luther King, Jr. if you want to check out the format!
IMPORTANT TIP: I tell my students to find the word card with a period so they automatically know that card goes last and I also tell them to find the word card that begins with a capital letter, so they know to put that card first!
Once they’ve built the sentence, it’s time to WRITE the sentence. There are three different recording sheet options (Interactive Notebook, Paragraph Writing Paper, and Booklet), so choose whatever works best for you. The booklet has three comprehension questions on the back-as a way to easily integrate comprehension skills. However, the nice thing about the paragraph writing paper is that this teaches students HOW to write a paragraph. Each unit comes with 6 sentences about the African American leader…an opening sentence, an ending sentence, and of course, the 4 middle sentences.
Which Black Leaders Do You Teach?
The bundle includes 9 Famous Black American Leaders to celebrate during Black History Month…Ruby Bridges, Booker T. Washington, Rose Parks, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Jackie Robinson, George Washington Carver, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
I hope this blog post gave you some ideas and resources to help celebrate Black History Month with your students!