Black History Month was celebrated across all grade levels at Waverly Park Elementary School this February. Each day, the school community enjoyed morning announcements consisting of a selection of Jazz music or a poem to highlight notable African American musicians and poets.
Throughout the month, first and second grade students read and listened to various biographies using the educational website, Pebble Go, to explore many different famous African Americans in history. Third grade classes focused on studying unsung heroes. They participated in independent reading and created reports on their researched individual which culminated in a Living Wax Museum.
Waverly Park fourth graders utilized digital texts and multimedia to learn about Black Americans who have made a difference in the world. On Schoology, a learning management system, students manipulated an interactive PowerPoint to access the texts and video clips. They participated in discussions to respond to the character traits, resilience, grit and challenges that these important people encountered. A few of their favorites were Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama.
Fifth graders also researched famous Black Americans. They used Google Docs on Schoology and read short nonfiction biographies. The students focused on the strengths shown by each Black American, which inspired them to continue to be the best that they can be. Aside from reading and listening to short texts which honored these outstanding citizens, the students watched videos on the Jim Crow laws. They also had deep discussions comparing the year 2021 to years of the past. As a final project, the fifth graders created the front page of a newspaper honoring one famous Black American.
In addition, Black History Month was celebrated in physical education classes with teacher Brian Donaldson. Students focused on Black History legends and lessons aligned with the fitness unit. Classes read about famous Black athletes who either broke the color barrier or who have broken records. They rotated from station to station where they read a fact about a Black athlete in history. Afterwards, they performed a fitness task related to the athlete or exercise associated with the sport. For example, jumping high with arms up for a rebound for Bill Russel or speed skating for Shani Davis.
These various creative lessons expanded student knowledge about many significant individuals and Black History as a whole.