TeachersFirst's Resources for Black History
These reviewed resources from TeachersFirst include teaching ideas, research material, and interactive sites for studying Black History in all grades. Black History does not need to be limited to one month of the year. As students learn about any historical time period or famous figures, check these resources for a perspective from the lives of African Americans at the same time or with the same interests. Perhaps even ask students to juxtapose two different experiences (African American, Hispanic, affluent, poor, etc.) in research projects about inventors, artists, writers, or American life.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomHave your students use the information about the people of the sit-in movement to write a biography. Add drama to your classroom and have students pretend to be one of the protesters. Have them write a monologue and present it to the class. Have students create public service announcement posters using Piclits (reviewed here). Use the announcements that can be found in the image gallery for examples.
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse the site as a resource during Black History Month for students who are researching the Negro Baseball Leagues, or players who were part of the leagues. Tie together current events (during baseball season) with this historical site. Have cooperative learning groups create venn diagrams using an online tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare the Negro Baseball Leagues to the baseball teams of today. What was the same, what is different? The site might also be useful in discussions of the Civil Rights movement or as a part of a look at segregation in the early 20th century. Check back frequently, as the site is clearly expanding and will have more information in the future.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomDuring Black History month or when learning about western expansion or colonial days, students may enjoy making quilts from fabric or paper and learning about the different patterns used in quilt making. Introduce this activity and have students label the different fractional amounts in the quilt squares. Practice adding fractions by writing the equations generated by making different quilt squares. Hang completed quilts in the classroom or hallway for an interesting display of work with fractions and proportion.
Grades1 to 4
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered on this site - a great resource for a Social Studies class.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you are teaching a course that covers the African slave trade, this site will be invaluable. Take some time to browse the interactive maps and timelines, look through the lesson plans, and find images that can be used to supplement reading and discussion. Discover the glossary of terms that could be used for vocabulary work, the tables of information useful for teaching data analysis, and the African name database for genealogy research. Challenge cooperative learning groups to research a specific section of this site and create multimedia presentations. Try Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to upload a copyright-safe photo, and then narrate as if it were a news report. Another idea: have students create an online presentation using Smilebox, reviewed here, or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge.
Grades4 to 8
Every year, people across the country pause on April 15 to celebrate the historic event that marks the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball in 1947. Use this educational program to bring the significance of Jackie Robinson's legacy to your classrooms. Although Breaking Barriers centers around an essay contest, you may choose to simply use the ideas to offer and assist your students in learning opportunities to teach them values that will enable them to face their own barriers and express themselves in written form. There are lessons, printables, book lists, and more that align with language arts, math, and social studies national standards.
tag(s): civil rights (123)
In the ClassroomShare the video of Jackie Robinson's daughter, Sharon Robinson, on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Listen to her personal story of her famous baseball player Dad's courage, determination, integrity, and persistence to break the color barrier on and off the playing field. Use an online tool like bubble.us reviewed here to engage students in whole class brainstorming of some of the real life barriers that students face today, and then lead into a journal writing activity for students to think about how to use Jackie Robinson's values to face and overcome barriers in their own lives. Whether you are celebrating the anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day, Black History month, a unit on courage and heroes, or introducing these concepts anytime during the year, the downloadable and whiteboard ready materials will increase the richness of your class discussions and broaden students' understanding of how to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomSpark your students' interest for how one brave individual changed history by not giving up her bus seat to a white passenger. Whether you are doing a unit on people who make a difference, civil rights, tolerance, or studying women and events in history, this self-contained website provides resources and materials that you can display on your classroom whiteboard and involve students in using the interactive links to enhance learning and spring board discussions on what still needs to be done in regards to acceptance and embracing racial, ethnic, and cultural differences. Use an online tool like The Interactive Three Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare and contrast discrimination in our country then with similar challenges we face today, and what still needs to be accomplished for a better tomorrow. Broaden the concepts to include that even when we are brave and have courage, change doesn't come about immediately; it takes time and continued perseverance. Culminate the unit with a writing prompt for students to reflect on and explain: Have you ever faced something that you thought you couldn't stand up to?
Grades5 to 8
In the ClassroomAs you plan to teach the novel, include this well-organized webquest as part of the ongoing and post reading learning activities. Use it in its entirety or choose parts to meet your time frame and purpose. Attention is given to all aspects of literacy: reading, critical thinking, writing, infusion of technology, and presentation. Both individual tasks and group work is involved. Students are active participants, and everything they need to increase their appreciation for this literary work is available to them, including vocabulary, clear instructions, and links for further information and details. You may want to find some additional research links for students to use to replace the links no longer active. You may want to share the project with social studies teachers for a joint effort and shared time. Introduce it on your classroom whiteboard or projector, and then make sure that you have scheduled time in the computer lab or with a class set of laptops. Students can jazz up their multi-media presentations by creating an online book using Bookemon reviewed here, or a podcast by using Podomatic (reviewed here). Be sure to make them directly available from your class webpage to share with colleagues and parents.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHelp your students understand why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and raise their awareness of discrimination and the struggle for civil rights by involving them in active viewing of A Class Divided projected on your classroom interactive whiteboard or projector. You can view the film in its entirety, or in separate chapters followed by the Discussion Questions. You may want to give students a specific task to do during the film. For example, you might ask them to listen for a particular issue or the answers to a set of questions, or take notes in preparation for one of the post-viewing activities. Replay the video or pause for discussion whenever you choose for focused, in depth exploration. Depending on your students' background knowledge and grade level, you may want to review or introduce some of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution that provide the legal grounding for equality and protection of individual rights. Explain that there are examples in American history when individuals' rights were denied and that many civil rights activists were arrested for either challenging, demonstrating, or breaking rules that they thought were unfair. Pose some of the questions for written assignments and discussion. This is a perfect lesson for Black History Month! Divide the class into groups to brainstorm situations that exist today within our own communities, and how they would feel and deal with it if they were the subjects. Students can easily create mind maps using free tools from Teachersfirst, such as TUZZit, reviewed here, or ProcessOn, reviewed here. Have students choose words from songs to explore themes of freedom and equality, using Stories Behind the Songs reviewed here. High school students could extend this to a reading and study of the final chapter of "One America in the 21st Century," the 1998 report of President Bill Clinton's Initiative on Race, which lists 10 things that every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Ask students to add anything they think is missing and make a commitment to continue the crusade to end discrimination.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomAsk your students to visit the site and create a brochure based on the impact of a particular event they learned about. Brochures can be made using Microsoft Publisher or Apple's Pages. They could also use a tool like Adobe Spark, reviewed here, to create an interactive poster about one of the famous African Americans on the site. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson. Using it on a projector or interactive whiteboard will really make the videos come alive.
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomUse this site to reinforce and support vocabulary as you study MLK Jr. Share the word puzzles on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own word activities from the same vocabulary list, such as matching or ranking challenges for their peers to try on the interactive whiteboard.
GradesK to 12
The teacher's link offers classroom activities (many interactive) that tie in with the lesson plans. There is also a link to receive FREE kits and handbooks! The "Parents" link offers activities and ideas for ages 2-17! There are online activities, recommended books, "talking points" for parents, and more. The "For Teens" link includes a wealth of resources: video clips, lessons, 10 steps to take action, downloadable posters, essays, and true stories. The Kid's link offers "read," "Explore," and "Play" options for elementary (and younger middle school) students. A "sign up" box appears when you first enter the site, click on the X to remove the box.
In the ClassroomOf course, the obvious uses for this site include preparing for Black History Month or Women's History Month, consult this site for more than that! Don't just visit the Teacher's link, but check out the kids and teens links for videos and interactive that you can share on your projector or interactive whiteboard. If you are unsure of how to approach a touchy subject with your students--either a subject from the news like the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rules, or something that is happening in your school or community, this site can provide resources for you and your students. Subscribe to Tolerance.org's emailed newsletter, or order one of the curriculum kits; the newest one is Viva la Causa about Cesar Chavez and the struggle for justice for farmworkers in the 1960s. This is a great addition to your school's anti-bully program! Take advantage of the free lesson plans, class activities, interactive, and book recommendations. This is definitely one to list on your class website!
This houses a WEALTH of resources! Thank you, Teaching TOLERANCE.Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomNavigating this site is rather simple. Simply click on one of the tabs across the top of the website: Home, Focus Areas, Projects, Connect, Forums, How-To, and ePal Tours. Parts of this site require log-in. Registration does require an email address. The site does offer SchoolMail, the leader for FREE "kid-safe" email.
A lot of safety features are already put into place at this site. The SchoolMail (email service offered at this site) offers monitored mail, instant translations, spell-check, anti-spam filters, and virus protection. To learn more about the safety features at this site, check out the ePals Tour link.
This site offers an amazing assortment of class activities and possibilities. Collaborate with schools in Africa (or 200 other countries) for a geography project. Have your students find ePals to correspond with and practice writing skills in English or in a language you are studying. Use the ready to go lessons and interactives at the "Focus Areas" and "Projects" links. Get additional ideas for projects, by visiting the "Projects" link or propose one of your own based on ideas from TeachersFirst suggestions you read in other reviews, lesson plans, and articles. After viewing one of the informative videos, challenge your students to study one of the topics available at this site and create their own videos. Use a tool such as TeachersTube, to share the video clips, reviewed here.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the lesson plans that are relevant to your class as you study different cultures, history, racial tensions in the U.S. , or even character education. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With older students, have cooperative learning groups explore different lessons. Have the groups create a multi-media presentation sharing their discoveries. Have the groups create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon . You could also use this site as the core of a contemporary topics debate series.
Grades5 to 10
In the ClassroomUse this site for research projects about amazing African-Americans. Most of the activity suggestions are more traditional projects and writing assignments. If you want to add some technology touches, why not have students create a fictitious blog from one of the heroes highlighted at this site, or a cross-time dialog via email or text message between a slave from the 1800s and Barack Obama, or create a PowerPoint resume about the man (or woman) they researched.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is great for research papers and choosing topics related to Black History. Check your local library (before the lesson) to see if any of the listed books are available.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomCheck out these free study guides, perfect for your MLK Jr. celebration or even Black History Month. Have students respond to the "thinking questions" by creating a journal entry or blog written by King. Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomShare the interactive videos clips and timelines on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Take advantage of the ready-to-go teacher's guide (don't miss the "hints," that offer additional tips for using this site in your classroom). Use this site for research about the civil rights movement or the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomShare these quotes with your students around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The quotes can also be used throughout the month posted for reflection or read aloud. Have students rewrite the quotes in their own words.
Grades3 to 8
Be aware: this site does have numerous advertisements. At the time of this review all advertisements were appropriate. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.