Every year I set aside time in the beginning of the month of February to research and learn about famous African Americans from yesterday and today. I break the students up into partners. Each pair learns about one famous African American from Thurgood Marshall to George Washington Carver. The pairs do a mini-research project on their designated person. I give them the resources to find information including picture books and leveled biographical information. Scholastic offers many amazing picture books such as: When Marian Sang, Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman, and so many more.
The students read and respond to three prompts:
- Describe the childhood of this person
- What obstacles did this person overcome?
- Why is the person important to our history?
The pairs each complete the questions and then present to the class. This way every students learns about 10 or 11 famous African Americans. I then take the information and place it on our outside bulletin board so that others may learn as well. I usually put the name of the person on a heart and the information about the person below the heart. The title of the board is "At the Heart of Black History Month". I find this incorporates February's Valentine's hearts with Black History Month.