As an educator, it is important to be mindful of our history as a nation as well as current events taking place. Black History Month is a significant reminder that we all need to continue learning about history beyond our textbooks in order to not repeat the faults of our past. If you are looking for new ways to implement Black History Month into your curriculum, we’ve lined up some fantastic resources, supplemental materials, and lesson plans. Each site linked below has educational resources for elementary, middle, and high school educators.
NEA’s website has a wide array of resources to pull from and tie in with your current curriculum. For elementary grade levels, choose from lesson plans on the Harlem Renaissance, jazz, or African American Heritage. For 6th through 8th grades there are lesson plans like The Illusion of Race, which explains how race is a societal, not genetic construct. High school teachers can choose from the African American Migration Experience, a unit on African American English, or a lesson on the variations in skin tone to encourage deeper conversations amongst students that need to be had. The NEA also provides links to Scholastic which has some wonderful activities available including slide shows and a virtual escape on the Underground Railroad which can be very beneficial especially during distance learning lessons.
KQED, courtesy of PBS Learning Media, has five lesson plans available for Black History Month. These are geared more for late elementary to secondary school and include learning material such as learning more about the March on Washington to lesson plans on Using Oral History to understand the shared memory of segregation. Due to the forced capture and enslavement of their ancestors, many African Americans don’t know their genealogy. PBS’ Finding Your Roots video series is ideal for highschoolers who are at a crucial stage of developing their own self-identity and it is an incredible resource to share with students.
Radio Public Resources
Radio Public lists 6 podcasts that highlight African American history around the world and here in the United States. In each episode, the Historically Black podcast highlights historical objects from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Another way to facilitate a virtual learning experience all from the comfort of a student’s computer.
The Kennedy Center Resources
The Kennedy Center offers many educational resources on the history of jazz and the blues. Lesson plans, media resources, and recorded performances are available. Learn about the types of music that developed along the Gulf Coast Highway. Students can even listen to examples of each type of blues or jazz and learn the difference between the two Louisiana based blues, Zydeco and brass bands!
Facing History Resources
In light of recent events, it’s more important than ever that we create critical thinkers out of the next generation. According to Pew Research, more than 40 million individuals of African American descent reside in the United States, which is approximately 13% of the nation’s population. In some of the southern states, the percentage of African American population hovers between 30 to 40%, yet curriculums often remain centered on white achievements which have downplayed other important parts of history. On February 10th, join Facing History for a webinar entitled Engaging in Anti Racism Work: During Black History Month and Beyond. On Facing History’s site, you will also find other antiracist lesson plan ideas, both historically based and centered on current events.
CTL has continued to learn, listen and educate others as the Black Lives Matters movement is very important to us and part of an ongoing initiative. We are excited to share more about our company's efforts in helping underserved communities and bridging the digital divide. CTL would also like to take this opportunity to give thanks to hardworking educators everywhere since teachers have an essential playing part in molding the future for generations to come. It is vital that we celebrate Black success and Black empowerment all year round and always give credit where it’s due. Black history shouldn’t be relegated to one month of the year, and we hope these resources can inspire educators to implement more into their year-round curriculum.