Black History Month is observed in February, in the US. Schools usually offer special programming and lessons on issues and events that are significant to African Americans. Students explore biographies and contributions of famous black Americans. They read books written specifically about or by African Americans.
I received emails recently for free Black History Month teaching materials. Shmoop is an education site I’m subscribed to. It offers an array of free printable lesson plans, study guides, activities and worksheets geared toward upper elementary to high school. There are 25-plus pieces of content available free on Black History Month. Teachers and homeschoolers, you can access these by registering. Students and parents, there are study aids for you too.
I couldn’t find one page with all the offerings. So I linked to the American History 1850-2014 page. From there you can navigate to the 1450-1849 page, photo archive and AP history helps. Here’s the link to the free literature lessons page. Look there for reader guides on books of note in black history. Here are some lesson subjects you’ll find:
Jazz Age and Harlem Renaissance
Famous court cases impacting slavery, integration and civil rights
Race issues in US wars: Revolutionary, Civil, WWII
Ku Klux Klan and racial tensions
FDR’s New Deal
Race in music history: jazz, blues, rock & roll
Desegregation in schools, sports
There are teaching guides for poetry and books of Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Phillis Wheatley, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry, Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain and Harper Lee.
Scholastic offers an extensive collection of Black History Month lessons on a spectrum of subjects. There are online activities, free printable worksheets, simulation games, book lists, study guides. Scholastic provides materials for students Pre-K to grade 8. I linked to the complete list and you can refine your search by grade and activity type. Use these to help students of all backgrounds explore these integral parts of U.S. history.
The photos attached were taken on our family visit to Henry Ford Museum in Detroit. We sat on the actual bus Rosa Parks rode. We looked at the “whites only” drinking fountain and the eerie KKK robe. Even though we’re all history buffs, it gave us a new perspective, from the inside out, on black history. Whenever possible, as educators, we need to provide kids with living history experiences like this so they can learn in hands-on, multisensory ways.