This February, it is more important than ever to remember how African Americans have shaped our society and continue to make invaluable contributions. Black History Month provides the perfect platform to honor the historical figures and the accomplishments of black Americans who came before us while recognizing that there is still much work left to do in promoting equity and justice today.
Through learning about those seminal moments which changed U.S. history forever, we can build on their legacies by supporting students as they deepen their understanding of cultural impacts over time. So let’s take this month-long opportunity to look back with respect and move forward hand in hand toward greater achievement.
If you’re an educator or teacher, you will want to check out this list of the best ways to celebrate black history month in your classroom.
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Activities celebrating African American culture
1. Create a Canva friendly presentation
This is an excellent opportunity to create some eye-catching, user-friendly slides that can serve as great resources for your students throughout the year and for years to come. You can research black history month facts and figures, showcase notable black American leaders, and highlight the contributions black Americans have made across all fields, from science and technology to art and literature.
2. Black History Month Scavenger Hunt
When it comes to activity ideas during Black History Month, this is a fun, engaging way to enlighten your students in an intentional way to put a bright spotlight on the achievements of black Americans.
Have students work in small groups or individually on a black history scavenger hunt, where they’ll search for black figures, moments, places, and events related to black culture. Whoever wins can even get a small prize!
3. Black History Month Lessons
If you’re in the middle of generating ideas for lesson plans, you can use black history month as an occasion to add some new content and themes into the mix. This could involve reading black authors, discussing lesser-known black leaders and innovators, or exploring black contributions to various fields.
Check out this article on Black History podcasts:
4. Create a Black History Month Themed Bookmark
If you’re in the middle of generating ideas for lesson plans and want to do something step your game up from last year, you can use black history month as an occasion to add some new content and themes into the mix. This could involve reading black authors, discussing lesser-known black leaders and innovators, or exploring black contributions to various fields.
And if you’ve created a curriculum on them reading a book by a black author, this could go hand in hand with your activities for the month.
5. Decorate your Classroom Doors
Guaranteed, you’ll have a great time doing this with your students because you’ll always have a couple who naturally want to put their own spin on the activity. In addition, so many of them will have ideas on what black icons, colors, and textures to use to decorate the door, so be sure to hear their thoughts and allow them to work together on a bigger project!
The cultural significance of Black History Month is deeply rooted in our nation’s history and has a profound impact on all of us. So choosing a civil rights leader, black inventor, or black historical figure to highlight and represent is a great way to celebrate this momentous occasion.
6. Create a Children’s Book Display
So many young people and students still enjoy reading. So, for black history month, why not introduce children’s books display for your students to check out in the classroom to grasp a greater understanding of the black experience and contributions of black people?
Doing so will allow them to have structured time engaging in independent reading where they can read books of their choice instead of a required reading list.
7. Take a Virtual Field Trip
February is the shortest month of the year, but on the flip side, it’s a great opportunity to utilize low-cost and free resources. One of the best ways to ring in the month of February is by taking a virtual field trip. You can do this with the whole class, a small group, or even individually.
Find a local historian, professor, artist, musician, or dancer to speak to your students in their respective fields. There is so much history locally where you live, so be sure to take a virtual field trip and explore the black community talents in your area.
8. Choose a Bulletin Board Theme
Going with the Civil Right Movement theme will grant you limitless options. There are so many black icons and historical figures to choose from you’ll be able to match the theme with your student’s interests or, perhaps, the black heroes you’re focusing on during the month.
A word to the wise: social media apps like Pinterest are your best bet for figuring out which decoration idea you want. If you need more clarification, ask your students to chime in to help you pick a theme!
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9. Put on a small dance and music showcase
Highlighting black artists in the United States who have paved the way for the movers and shakers today is imperative to honor the spectrum of black artistry. From black composers of music to black dancers and playwrights, February is the perfect time to put on a small showcase of black artists to celebrate and appreciate their contributions to black history.
As a nod to the Harlem renaissance, you can collaborate with the music teacher on campus to learn music from Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and other black musicians who have added to the rich tapestry of jazz music in the United States.
10. Choose one quote per day to discuss with your students
In celebration of black history month and all things black excellence, you can begin each day by selecting one quote from black icons, civil rights leaders, black authors, or black historical figures. This can be done by drawing it out of a jar by one of your students, or you can get the school administrator involved and have them read a quote a day in the morning before class.
Whatever method you choose, be sure to use this time to discuss the quote and the person in full detail, as it allows your students to hone in on what precisely could be learned from black history in our present day.
11. Black History Trivia
As part of your educational Black History month activities, this month-long observance (and beyond) deserves some light-hearted fun. So invite other teachers or administrators to get involved, and have black history month trivia all 28 days of February.
At the beginning of the school day, have someone read a trivia question over the intercom. Then, once your student knows the answer, call the front office or whoever is in charge of your student-submitted black history trivia response.
12. Black History Month Spirit Week
Let’s take a walk through history by celebrating the accomplishments of Black luminaries who changed our world! Have your students wear red, green, and yellow for Garrett Morgan (traffic light inventor).
As we honor Gwendolyn Brooks, another great way to celebrate one of the most notable black authors is to dress up as bookworms and don writing accessories to recognize her achievement in becoming the first African American Pulitzer Prize winner. Let your hair look its best to honor self-made millionaire day for Madame C.J Walker; acknowledging all she did while living out her dream of success!
13. Rotate Black-Owned Food Trucks on Friday
The purpose of black history month is to acknowledge current business owners operating in your communities while also recognizing black individuals and their significant contributions to our country.
And with that in mind, to help support black-owned businesses, coordinating a truck to come out to your local school on Fridays to expose the kids to the yummy food made by black chefs, cooks, and food truck owners would be the perfect way to celebrate black history month.
Plan ahead because food truck owners can book out months in advance, so be sure to reach out as soon as possible.