I love teaching in February and love celebrating Black History Month with various Black History Month activities. Although it shouldn’t be the only month that we teach our students about the achievements and contributions of African Americans to our society, I’m thankful that President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, so that we as a society can continue to honor the culture, history, and accomplishments of African Americans.
President Ford wanted the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Why is February Black History Month?
If you aren’t new around here, you know that I love fun facts and sharing fun facts with my students. So here’s one for ya! Do you know why Black History Month is celebrated in February? February was chosen because the second week of February was birthday to both President Abraham Lincoln, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. You can find more interesting facts about Black history to share with your students here!
Black History Month Activities: Favorite Books
Here are some of my favorite books to read in honor of Black History Month but these are also great to read any time of the year! Storyline Online also has tons of great books to celebrate Black History Month! One of my favorites is As Fast As Words Could Fly. My third graders last year LOVED this story!
You can also watch and listen to White Socks Only here!
Black History Month Activities: Mystery Fact Math Puzzles
A simple way to begin exposing your students and allowing them to become more curious about Black history and African American influencers is to introduce a new Black History Month fact daily. I use these daily math warm-up worksheets for morning work or sometimes at the beginning of my math block. Once my students have solved the math problems, they cut out the strips, put them in order from least to greatest, then the mystery fact is revealed. These math puzzles are really fun and my kids love learning new facts each day. They’re available for both 2nd grade and 3rd grade.
Youtube Videos: Black History Month Activities
This is great, kid-friendly video that I share with my students on the first school day of February. We watch the video during morning meeting and then have a class discussion. I ask them about their thoughts on the video and basically have them lead the discussion. We talk about how Black people endured so many hardships in their life (and still do today) and even with all the struggles and obstacles in their way, many African Americans became inventors, scientists, actors, writers, pilots, because they never stopped fighting for their rights.
My Rosa Parks Video Lesson
Below is an asynchronous lesson I recorded for my students when we were learning about Rose Parks. In this lesson, I share with them a book about Rosa Parks from EPIC.
Black History Month ELA Activities
In my classroom, my students love completing these sentence building activities! I normally have my students work in partners or small groups to unscramble the sentence but you could easily have this as an independent literacy center in your classroom. I love it too because it’s low prep and engaging for the kids! #ThatsAWinForEveryone
How to Use this Activity
Each unit consists of 6 sentences about an African American leader. My students start with one set (one sentence) where all of the word cards have been mixed up. Then, they work together to build the sentence about that African American leader. This activity integrates so many skills…they’re learning about these amazing leaders in Black History, while practicing sentence structure…HELLO READING, WRITING AND SOCIAL STUDIES ALL IN ONE! (*Insert Hallelujah hands here!) Here’s a free set on Martin Luther King, Jr. if you want to check out the format!
IMPORTANT TIP: I tell my students to find the word card with a period so they automatically know that card goes last and I also tell them to find the word card that begins with a capital letter, so they know to put that card first!
Once they’ve built the sentence, it’s time to WRITE the sentence. There are three different recording sheet options (Interactive Notebook, Paragraph Writing Paper, and Booklet), so choose whatever works best for you! The booklet has three comprehension questions on the back, so that’s nice! However, the nice thing about the paragraph writing paper is that this teaches students HOW to write a paragraph. Each unit comes with 6 sentences about the African American leader…an opening sentence, an ending sentence, and of course, the 4 middle sentences.
Which Black Leaders Do You Teach?
The money saving bundle includes 9 Famous African American Leaders to celebrate during Black History Month…Ruby Bridges, Booker T. Washington, Rose Parks, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Jackie Robinson, George Washington Carver, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
You can grab these units individually or you can grab the bundle and get 4 units FO’ FREE!