For Black History Month, we asked all Lower School teachers to create a project for their students that would help them learn about Black History Month and famous African Americans.
While discussing the importance of this project, Lower School Head Heather Moss said, "Until we reach a time where we don't have to have a designated month to Black History, and until teaching about famous African Americans is just woven into everything and all aspects of our curriculum across the country, we, as a school, have to do it and be intentional about it now. Until we reach that time, we will be deliberate about teaching our students about black history and we will honor famous African Americans who are leaders in their fields."
As part of Abby and Deborah's biography/nonfiction unit, each 2nd grade student chose a famous African American to research, write a report on, and then create a presentation to share what they learned. Our 2nd Grade teachers creatively incorporated different aspects of their curriculum and classroom time and reached out for help from their "big buddies" (a group of 5th/6th graders that come help them from time to time on various projects.)
To introduce the 2nd graders to slideshows, their Big Buddies showed them their own slideshows that they had made for their Language Arts' Black History Month presentations. They then taught the 2nd graders how to add text and insert pictures into their own slideshows.
Michael Le, Director of Technology, also helped teach students how to navigate the internet and gather research. Since this was the 2nd graders' first experience doing classroom research on the iPads, Michael found easily accessible websites and videos for kids to start practicing research skills on that had good and age-appropriate content.
After researching, students worked on writing 2-5 sentence paragraphs highlighting their person's early life and achievements. They typed up their final copies in Google Docs and created timelines of important life events.
To wrap up the project, students dressed up as their chosen person in history, brought in two artifacts that best represented them, and shared their slideshows during in-class presentations to parents, teachers, and fellow students.
This 2nd grade project was one example of several units of study in our Lower School, as part of Black History Month, which gave students the opportunity to integrate technology with other disciplines to demonstrate their learning.