Monday, January 16, 2012

Finally. A Black History Unit for PRIMARY!

Ah.... February is coming.  I know that's true because there are tons of cute Valentine's Day Units popping up on my blogger dashboard. We'll do tons and tons with hearts and Valentines and candy graphs and I couldn't be more excited for all that lovin' in the air. Yeeeeeah. =)

But February is a time set aside for another thing: Black History.

I'm cookin' up a rockin' black history unit but....

I will have a moment of honesty here and tell you that this unit was brought about from a sad place for me. You see, I was talking to a colleague from a district where there is little diversity. In so many words, she told me that she didn't see the point in teaching any Black History because most of her students weren't Black.

I was hurt, and it bothered me on many levels.

I feel like ideas like that are what keep some people in our world from being  culturally aware and tolerant of others that are unlike themselves. It may be something you rarely think of when you live in a world where the majority of your encounters don't lead you to think in that way. This is why I think it is important to take some time to to teach it.

SO...I got to thinking and ya know what? Every year I have struggled to find a good Black History unit that is geared towards primary I decided to write one!

I have created a celebratory and uplifting unit on the accomplishments of many famous African Americans- past and present. This unit celebrate artists, dancers, poets, inventors, scientists, and many other game-changers in our nation. 

I've noticed that a lot of Black History units are often geared toward older grades are sadly usually clouded with entertainers and athletes. I propose that my race is much more than that alone. This is a wonderful and easy way to expose your students to some interesting and fantastic people from our history!

I am going to be posting pieces of the unit over the next week and I'll have the completed unit posted on TpT by the weekend. It is my hope that you find some time in February to get some lessons and activities in that celebrate Black History and encourage your students to be more culturally aware!


  1. Oh my gosh...when writing our social studies scope and sequence we included Black History..but now that it's getting closer to the date when we have to teach this..we're finding it very hard to find adequate resources for our little ones...I'm so glad you are creating this unit..I can't wait to see it! Thanks a bunch!


  2. Thank you so much~can't wait to check it out. You are so right, so many things are geared for the higher grades. I'll continue to stalk your blog!

  3. I completely agree...diversity should be celebrated and the accomplishments of the many individuals who allow us to "have it" should be taught to all regardless of where and who you teach.

    I can not wait to see this...and many others celebrating Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, woman, etc.

  4. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Like you I've had to piece together my own lessons each year for Black History Month that would be relevant and meaningful for my first graders. This will be such a wonderful thing! I can't wait until it's posted on TpT.
    Ms. A

  5. What an awesome idea!! We SO need a Black History pack presented on a primary level!!
    =) Jennifer
    First Grade Blue SKies

  6. Good for you for including this very important topic in your classroom! I think our students should learn about different cultures and practice tolerance all year long but February is a great month to highlight this too.
    In our curriculum (from Manitoba, Canada) cultural tolerance is a required outcome, as well as Aboriginal/Francophone/etc history. Is it mandatory in your curriculum or optional?

  7. Yaaay! I'm so excited about the unit you are creating. It is critical that students learn about different cultures. This hits home for me because I am a black teacher in a prodominently white school. Many of my students often ask questions pertaining to my culture. I can't wait to see your unit and share it with my students.


  8. I too am excited! Its not one of our learning expectations in our district, but its so important! I did a little mini lesson on MLK today and my students were never more engaged! They are thirsty for the knowledge and it is my goal to fit more in during February! Thanks for your hard work!

  9. I am so excited for this unit!

    And I hear you on your story about your colleague not commemorating Black History Month. I had a similar experience - the teacher in the grade above me told me that she didn't see the point in discussing Martin Luther King in third grade because "they've learned enough already by that point." Third grade?????????? I don't need to go on, you understand.

    I am so snatching this up as soon as you post it! Thanks for doing this.

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  10. Thank you for going to the effort to create such an important packet for all children. How can we teach tolerance without talking about MLK and other important African Americans? I teach in a completely Hispanic community and every year we take the time to teach this. It starts with kindergarten and treating all people with kindness and respect. It is alarming to me that a teacher would even have that conversation with you. We need to lead by example.
    Fran Kramer@

  11. Thank you so much! I was surfing the internet last night and everything is geared toward older students! Can't wait to purchase this unit!

  12. I am so excited to hear you are creating a black history unit for primary. I can' t wait to see it.

  13. This looks amazing! You are absolutely right that it's very hard to find things geared towards primary grades. Thank you for doing all of the hard work for me ;)


  14. I am so excited to see what you've come up with! We're going all out in my school this February, and my 2nd graders are already all a-twitter about it! Thank you!!!!!

  15. Can't wait for u to post this unit! Thank you for working on such an important lesson(s) for ALL kids. No matter where you teach, no matter if all of your class is white, black, it is SO important we teach OUR future. Teach them kindness, respect, and history!!!

  16. I can't wait to see it!!!
    funny story though last week while reminding my students of the lessons of MLK earlier that week and reviewing why we were honoring him and didnt have school yesterday.. One of my firsties pipes up and very quietly mentions that her family doesn't really CELEBRATE MLK day, I said well of course we all celebrate what he did for us and how people are treated etc .. and she respons but we don't do anything for it ... this goes on a while until i realize she is meaning holiday literally!!!! and was saying they don't decorate or give gifts!!! hahaha it took everything inside of me not to giggle and then took about 5mins to explain what i meant by holiday and celebrate in thei context ; ) just thought i'd share :)

  17. I'm so glad you're taking this on! I made up a little powerpoint last year with some famous african americans and some Q&As at the end of each person. But you're exactly right, it is so hard to find a good unit on this important topic! Can't wait to see what you've come up with!


  18. Yay! I am soooo excited about this unit. I teach in a rural KS town that is diverse with the Hispanic culture. I enjoy teaching about various cultures, but it can be so difficult to find good material geared towards primary. Thanks for taking on this challenge!

  19. I love, love, LOVE that you are making this unit!!!! I'm excited to see your previews and get the whole unit on TpT!

  20. Hi! I've been reading your blog since last spring and love it! I am excited for this unit as well, please continue to blog about the activities you're doing.

  21. Love the freedom bells! I've been working on MLK activities all week with my students too. I'm hoping to get around to posting about it later this weekend.
    Funky First Grade Fun

  22. I'm on a commenting spree on your blog...I'm sorry :) I admire what you do and thought this post was SO well said. We live in a nation where the truthful history of those who have been misserved and under-celebrated is CRUCIAL. I love that your Black History Unit is so celebratory and empowering, without having the feeling of a "Heroes and Holidays" stereotypical lesson. I'm thinking of buying this unit and using it throughout the year..not just for Black History Month. Thank you!!