It’s Black History month. Often, in high school. that means hearing random facts about an influential black American in history. Maybe you are looking to go a little deeper with your students this month. If you are looking for some READY-To-GO resources for Black History Month that both expand your students’ level of understanding and meaningfully address the standards you need to cover, then you have come to the right place!
I have 3 Black History month activities for your high school classroom I’d like to share today. These activities range from quick 15-ish minutes to a full week of content and discussion.
Maybe you may only have a little bit of time to add in a meaningful Black History activity. If this is the case, I highly suggest making the most of poetry warmups for this month! There are so many that you could pull for even just one or two a week.
One of my absolute favorites though is this beautiful Langston Hughes poem as a warmup one day. It’s part of that I have, but you can download this single student handout for free below! This handout has students analyze Hughes’s short poem “Still Here”.
This poem is perfect for a warmup as it is short, but incredibly powerful with it’s hopeful tone. This is sure to be a great conversation starter with your students and can also easily fit into any curriculum!
I been scarred and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me, Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'- But I don't care! I'm still here!
This is a very short poem (so perfect for a warm-up!) but incredibly impactful one. It can be even more incredible to listen to Langston Hughes himself read it here.
Be sure to Langston Hughes’s poem “Still Here” Warmup Here. Another fantastic poem that is included in the full bundle is The Rose That Grew From Concrete– Tupac Shakur. This is another fantastic poem that is sure to engage many of your students this month!
Turn up the fun, engagement, and rigor with a Disney movie!
I LOVE introducing my students to critical analysis with fairytales and Disney movies. It’s a wonderful method of making engaging and rigorous thinking approachable by all levels of students.
One movie that really revs up the discussions on some deep social issues with my students is The Princess and the Frog. Here’s a I wrote about it if you want a full breakdown of how I approach this in my classroom.
The cultural lens looks more closely at some of the elements that make up one’s culture. Such as:
You can have students examine several aspects or narrow the focus if you wish. I personally like to have them start out more broadly and then narrow down their focus for seminar discussion.
I’ll be honest, last year I was a little disturbed during one of the Socratic Seminars when a student stopped, turned to me, and said, “Segregation wasn’t around in the 1920’s, right?”… Ya’ll, that was a 10th grader.
But, again, using a Disney movie is the perfect vehicle for some deeper discussions that clearly need to be had!
I feel so strongly about this that I pulled together a few of the handouts from my much larger
Be sure to grab This free download is just a small portion of the The Princess and the Frog week.
My last suggestion is The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass.
It is honestly one of the most moving pieces of writing I have ever read. I knew I wanted students to really slow down and to take in every word. So, I created a It forces students to really slow down and take in the life experiences that he shares. This is an intense chapter that honestly has made me cry a few times, so be prepared to discuss emotions that may come up for your students.
This annotation packet also adds in the academic rigor that we all need in class by having them pull together a complete rhetorical analysis writing piece over chapter one. I work with a lot of ELL students, so there are also lots of sentence frame goodness included if your students benefit from this scaffold!
Do one of these Black History month activities sound like a good fit for your high school classroom? I really hope that this has inspired you and maybe even taken something off your plate!
Until next time…