Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Get Your Students to Discover Dr. King: Inquiry

So. I'm still on maternity leave and it is friggin' awesome.
 I mean...who wouldn't love to stare at this little darling all day?

stop it. if you could eat babies...nomnomnom. is that weird? yeah it's weird. sorry.
I've been spending most of my time over at my other piece of e-estate crafting and cooking but I would be remiss if I didn't do my best to share the things we did for our Black History unit last year. Sadly, I won't be able to teach it this year so I'll have to recycle some photos! 

So. Black History. 

There is something to be said about teaching kiddos about this sort of thing when they've never heard of it before. Part of me feels like I'm putting this heavy burden on them. I mean, I look at my little daughter who doesn't have a clue about anything and think about what it'll be like for her to realize how things were in our country. I wonder how she'll process it all.  I wonder if she'll really get it. Looking at a class full of cute little faces is the same. Hard. I don't believe in not teaching it at all though.  It's important to know that we should celebrate and not be afraid of differences. I just believe that you really have to teach this with care and thoughtfulness. 

I knew that I could easily read a book about Dr. King , make a rainbow craft and call it a day but I thought I'd see what would happen if I laid out some books and photos of Dr. King and let them inquire. 
I did this in Kindergarten last year and I was amazed at what they figured out without me saying one. word. After I let them explore, I charted their statements (shown below). Then, I finally read aloud Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King 
After reading, we verified what they had gathered from their inquiry. If it checked out, we put a check mark next to it. We also added things that we learned after reading. 

The most interesting conversations came from the page in the book that shows Black kids and White kids in a park and there is a sign that says "WHITES ONLY." I asked the kindergartners what they thought about that and it was really interesting to hear their thoughts. They initially said that they should change the sign to say "WHITES AND BLACKS ONLY" but see...I teach in a pretty diverse school. When this was suggested, one of my little Hispanic kiddos spoke up with a resounding, "what about me?" 
They quickly realized that there didn't need to be a sign at all-- and that all people should be allowed to play. Lovely. 

Kids are so smart. 

The cool part? They learned that on their own. I didn't do a whole lot of teaching. 
We then did a poem about Letting Freedom Ring and made "Freedom Bells." It was nice because the materials needed to make the bells are things that nearly every classroom has tucked away in a cabinet. 

I'll be stopping by for the next few weeks to share some other items from this unit. I hope you'll join me! 

Below is a preview of the unit, which includes the Dr. King activity. 

Happy 2013. 


  1. Your baby is precious! Saw you on Wallflowers--happy to be following!

    The Science Penguin

  2. OMG your baby is precious!!!! I am so thankful I teach in a very diverse school.

  3. OMG! Your daughter is gorgeous, and oh so precious!

  4. Congratulations on your little one! There is nothing better than being a mom and wife. Many blessings!