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Black History

Black History Month Resources

PBS 2 Hours Ago


February 3rd, 2014
Black History Month Resources

This year Black History Month kicks off with Black Male Achievement Week (February 3 – 9) and PBS NewsHour Extra has the resources you need to successfully reach your students. Get the conversation started with the POV documentary “American Promise” which airs February 3 on PBS. Then use Extra’s compiled a list of 18 lesson plans and resources to help engage students while providing them the context to authentically honor Black History Month.

1. “American Promise” | Documentary and Lesson Plan

“American Promise” spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Dalton, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. It airs on February 3rd on PBS and can be seen online: Feb. 4, 2014 – March 5, 2014. For the accompanying lesson plan please click here.

2. 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington Basic Resources |Resources

This resource page includes a quick guide to the March on Washington, an interactive timeline of the Civil Rights Movement and a glossary of terms. Use these to get started on your classroom curriculum.

3. A History of Discrimination and Its Consequences | Lesson Plan

GRADES: Middle and High School

In this lesson, students analyze what “The American Dream” means, and what role racial discrimination may play in failing to attain that dream.

4. A Time for Change | Lesson Plan

GRADES: Middle and High School

Use this lesson plan and interactive timeline to see the sequence of events leading up to the iconic March on Washington, who was involved in the march and what the march hoped to achieve.

5. “I Have a Dream” Speech as a Visionary Text | Lesson Plan

GRADES: Middle school

Help your students connect to the rich imagery of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by learning the history of the speech and then illustrating some of its most famous lines in this creative lesson plan.

6. “I Have a Dream” as a Work of Literature | Lesson Plan

GRADES: 9 – 12

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most memorable speech from his life as an activist, “I Have a Dream,” was delivered August 28, 1963 before more than 200,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”

7. Racial Equality – How far have we come and how far do we still need to go? | Lesson Plan

GRADES: Middle and High School

Martin Luther King dreamed of an America where people could “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Use this lesson plan to start a discussion in your classroom about where we are on the path to realizing this dream.

8. A Mathematical Representation of the March | Lesson Plan

GRADES: All grades, and including students with intellectual disabilities

You don’t have to be a civics or English teacher to talk about the March on Washington in your classroom. Use this engaging lesson plan to bring math into the equation, so to speak, with a classroom activity that helps students create a representative population of the march’s attendees.

9. Discrimination – Fair or Unfair | Lesson Plan

GRADES: All grades, and including students with intellectual disabilities. It is designed specifically for students who have difficulty with verbal and written expression.

Make issues of fairness, justice and discrimination personal to your students with this lesson plan, which includes an activity with Dr. Seuss!

10. Leadership at the March through Music and Speeches | Lesson Plan

GRADES: Middle and High School

While Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech became the most famous to come out of the March on Washington, he was by no means to only person to address the massive crowd assembled on the National Mall. Use this lesson plan to look at the other civil rights leaders and orators who spoke that day, and how effectively they conveyed their messages.

11. The March on Washington and Its Impact | Lesson Plan

GRADES: Middle and High School

In this lesson plan, students compare King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to other famous texts in American history, including the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. This is a great addition to any speech, English or history class.

12. The Trials of Muhammad Ali | Discussion Guide

Use this discussion guide as a resource to teach about Muhammad Ali. The film can be purchased on iTunes, but should be screened by teachers before use in the classroom because of its mature content.

13. Analyzing Stop and Frisk Through Personal Narratives and Infographics | Lesson Plan

This Common Core-aligned lesson helps students explore the impact of New York City’s “stop, question and frisk” program through videos, graphics and a news article. Since the production of this lesson plan, the program has been ruled unconstitutional by Judge Shira Scheindlin who believes that the New York’s stop and frisk policy violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure and was a form of racial profiling.

14. Remembering Nelson Mandela | Lesson Plan

In this lesson plan, students will use text from Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom” to connect with Mandela’s life and words.

15. Debating Race, Justice and Policy in the Case of Trayvon Martin | Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to help students learn about the legal issues surrounding the George Zimmerman trial through text and a simulation.

16. Constitution Day: The 1965 Alabama Literacy Test | Lesson Plan

The lesson gives students the opportunity to research obstructions which were placed before African Americans attempting to vote before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

17. Great Books Foundation Sample Unit | Resource

Use this free sample unit from the Great Books Foundation to read Langston Hughes’ famous poem “Let America Be America Again”. Also included are interpretative and evaluative questions to accompany the work.

18. Human Rights and the Olympics Unit | Lesson plans 1 & 2

Use lesson plans 1 & 2 to learn about African Americans who championed the role of human and civil rights during the Olympic Games. African Americans have helped shape the landscape of social justice at the Olympics in a number of ways including the triumph of Jesse Owens, the controversial protest by African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos and unified anti-apartheid activism through the games.



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