Thursday, January 24, 2013

Black History Highlights!

i know. i know. i'm never here anymore. it makes me sad too. i feel extra irrelevant as a teacher on maternity leave. it is wonderful being at home though- the little lilly bug is nearly 4 months now. i can't even deal. anyway...

i am so bummed that i'm not at school to teach this unit. it was so much fun last year. so much fun that i am going to share some snap shots of the babes doing it last year. 

i love teaching this unit because it's exciting and celebratory! i know black history can feel like "segregation, SLAVERY, BUS BOYCOTTS BLAHHH!!!"  letsbehonest. it's a bit harsh. it's no wonder why primary teachers stop with mlk day! no, not this unit. this unit it fuuuuuun. this unit does this: 

a) celebrates famous artists...poets, musicians, and dancers- all with corresponding books and activities! 

 {dancing with bill "bojangles" robinson}

{marian anderson, opera singer: comparing and contrasting music!}

b) celebrates famous inventors- did you know the inventor of the "super-soaker" was an african american? (me either!) this unit gives your kiddos a chance to be inventors! 

here is what you do...
1. explain what an "invention" is and how to make one. make a fancy teaching chart because y'know...that's what we "do". 

2. pull out all that crap stuff in your cabinets that have been there for 10 years and put it out. watch how excited your kiddos get. it is really funny.

3. have them sketch out their invention.

4. after they sketch and build...they get to apply for a patent! these may be approved or denied. 

5. if approved, then they are awarded with an "official"  patent! 

this day is my favorite day in the unit! 

c) celebrates famous african american scientists! 

i love this day because you also get to pull out all of the cool science materials that your district spent thousands on but you never get to use.  you read cool books and profiles on famous black scientists and you let them go-to-town. 

and d) on the last day you can create a mini-book that includes all of the awesome black americans that you've studied all week. you can even write a mini-biography on them if you're feelin' researchy. 

honestly, i know that in the busy schedules we all have -what with all the testing, report cards, and ongoing assessments, there just isn't time for a lot of "extras." if i'm really being honest, when i taught this unit it got  about 30 minutes a day for a week. it was all about being set up and ready to go when the kiddos came in so they could spend time learning. i stuck the unit read alouds in shared reading and interactive read aloud time in order to maximize the time spent in this unit. it doesn't have to be lengthy to be awesome, in my opinion anyway. 

thanks for reading this lengthy post- hope it helps you this february! 

click the image below to purchase!

oh. and one more thing. march is women's history month. i'm thinking of creating a similar unit only with you know...women. 

i'll give one free black history unit to the first three people who leave a comment (with an email address) telling me if you think you think you might be interested in a unit like that! 



  1. This would tie in perfectly with our biography unit as well!

    Enjoy your maternity leave...I am sure it will fly by and you will wonder where it went!

    tokyoshoes (at) hotmail (dot) com

  2. Hello, I would love this unit. MY class had a blast with MLK day.

    Thank you

    Eileen30582 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  3. I love this idea of combining inventions with Black History.

  4. This unit sounds perfect for our unit on Black History. We do a big school wide unit on this each year as well.

  5. This unit looks wonderful. Congrats again on your beautiful bundle of joy.

  6. My twin is a teacher and I'm going to send her the link to your blog.