Five ways to honor Black History Month in your classroom

Black History Month is an annual celebration of history, culture and the civil rights movement of the African diaspora. The United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the Netherlands are the countries that officially honour Black History Month in their classrooms. However, as multi-culturalism, civil rights of minorities, oppression and racism are essential topics anywhere on the globe, Black History Month be used by teachers worldwide to point out these important topics.

Here are five ways to honour the Black History Month in your classroom.

Idea #1: Listen to and explore music created by black history idols 

Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Soul, Hip-Hop - these are all the musical trademarks of African culture. Instead of following the historical timeline, start your musical exploration with what is the most familiar to your students, and that is probably going to be Hip-Hop. There is a numerous list of rap songs dealing with black history and rights, from old-school to current hits of stars like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar.

If you're working with younger students, it's probably too early to expose them to the world of hip-hop, but you can still use it to introduce the children to the fun practice of breakdance.

Idea #2: Get to know Martin Luther King

Marthin Luther King was perhaps the most important figure of the original civil rights movement. His famous inspiring speech "I Have a Dream" is a perfect subject to be studied in class, since it is so poetic and vivid. Talk to your students about their own dreams for this world, and how they would like to change it.

Idea #3: Get to know Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a woman who one day quit obeying the rule that black people had to sit at the back of the bus. With this simple act, she ignited a revolution. Her example is the perfect opportunity to discuss the separation policies. Create a thought experiment: how would the students with, for example, blonde hair feel if they were made to sit at the back of the classroom? You can also watch a very quality TV film called "The Rosa Parks Story".

Idea #4: Watch Black History Month inspired movies 

There are many movies which are suitable to watch during Black History Month. Different films are appropriate for different age groups, and because of the often violent nature of the struggle for rights and freedom, most of them are intended for the ages of 13 and up. There are exceptions such as the Scholastic Storybook DVD "March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World", (4+), "A Ballerina's Tale" (9+), and "Remember the Titans" (10+).

Idea #5: Make Traditional Biscuits

To add some sweetness to often-bitter topics of the Black History Month, bake a traditional sweet treat such as sweet potato biscuits. While munching away, have a light talk about the civil rights struggles within the local communities of your area.


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