February is Black History Month or African American History Month. It is a time when lesson plans are often filled with great African Americans like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks and many more. Teaching the events of the past in a way that is truthful and appropriate for primary students can be a challenge. No matter when you are teaching Black history, these resources are primary approved!
Don’t Water Down the Events
In the US, and around the world, the history related to racial inequality and discrimination is not pretty. It’s an ugly part of our world that is not fun to talk about or teach. But that doesn’t mean that we should water down the events or the history. We owe it to our students to teach history so that together we can make the world a better place.
That being said, there are parts of this history that are not age appropriate for our primary students. As primary teachers we have a duty to accurately present the events without unnecessarily exposing our students to the violence, language and inappropriate name-calling that was a very real part of these events.
Instead, we can use more general terms to paint a picture that accurately portrays these days. We can also focus on the courage, bravery and changes that resulted.
A Cross-Curricular Approach
Connecting social studies with language arts is an excellent way to help our students get a well-rounded understanding of these important historical events and people. I have used this cross-curricular approach when creating lessons and activities for teaching Black History.
In my classroom, we focus on a different African American hero for one week. With 5 days of lesson plans and activities for each hero, your students will have opportunities to dig deep into understanding the people and events that helped to change American history.
Starting with a picture book and incorporating non-fiction readers students will learn about the events related with Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Students will learn related vocabulary and work on important reading comprehension skills.
A variety of reading comprehension activities in both printable and digital format will provide students with lots of fun and engaging activities to help them deepen their understanding of these important people and events. Students will work on skills like recalling information, reading for details, sequencing, comparing & contrasting, character traits and vocabulary.
One of the favorite activities in my classroom is the writing craft for each of the heroes. Students love creating the people and then writing about what they have learned. Writing about prior learning is a great way for students to assimilate what they have learned.
Each week long unit also includes other themed resources. These activities help students work on important skills while connecting their learning to the social studies. Some of these skills include math, poetry and art.
Teaching Black History
All of these resources for teaching your primary students about African American history can be purchased in the Emily Education store. You can find everything you need to teach about Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and Martin Luther King, Jr.
This Black History bundle provides 5 days of lesson plans and activities for each of these people, plus a bonus week of activities for Henry “Box” Brown.
You can also find each of these as individual resources:
Save these Black History Resources
These Black History resources are a great resource for your primary classroom. Save this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you need them.