Celebrating Black History
- Engage students in a conversation about perseverance
- Read stories honoring Black people who overcame personal and societal challenges to achieve their goals and inspire positive change
Research shows that reading narratives (nonfiction and fiction) supports students in developing empathy, perspective taking, and social competence by providing them with the opportunity to simulate characters’ worlds, emotions, and behaviors. Educators should encourage students to practice perspective taking and emotion recognition to understand and connect with the experiences described in the texts, and consider actions they can take to foster more kindness and inclusivity in their communities.
To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- Engage students in a conversation about perseverance. You might explain: “What is something that you feel proud of accomplishing? It can be anything, like learning a new skill, standing up for a friend, or getting a good grade on schoolwork. During this experience, what were some challenging moments? How did you overcome them? This strength, when we work hard to achieve our goals, even when there are obstacles in our way, is called perseverance.”
- As students share their stories, encourage their peers to practice kindness and respect by listening carefully to each other and celebrating others’ hard work and accomplishments. After your conversation, invite students to read stories honoring Black people and their courage and perseverance throughout U.S. history. Below, there are suggested reading lists and discussion questions for different age levels.
Students Ages 5-8 Years Old
- Who is the main character in this book? What is something special about them? How do the other characters celebrate the main character’s unique qualities?
- What is something that you like about yourself?
- Can you think of someone who recognized and appreciated this unique quality about you? What did they do? How did their actions make you feel?
- What are some ways that you can celebrate others, and make them feel valued and accepted for who they are?
- Have you ever been in a situation where you saw someone being treated unfairly or unkindly? What did you do?
- How can you make our school community a kinder, fairer place for everyone? What actions will you take?
Students Ages 8-11 Years Old
- Who is this story about, and what are some of their accomplishments?
- What obstacles did they encounter, and how did they overcome them? How do you think they felt during these experiences?
- What might be some of their unique strengths, values, and goals?
- Do you think they showed perseverance? Why or why not?
- How did their actions help create positive change?
- Think about a community that is important to you, like your school or neighborhood. Is everyone treated fairly in this community? How do you want people to treat each other? How do you want people to feel?
- What are some ways that you can help make your community a kinder, fairer place for everyone? Is there anything that you would do differently to treat others with more kindness and respect?
If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...
Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call.
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.
If students in either class don’t have individual devices...
Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.