What do you do to celebrate or teach about black History Month? Last year one of the ideas in the Digital Storytelling Resources discussion shared a project that ESL students did. Do you do have a favorite activity that you do at this time?
The middle school that I taught at used this time to have a multi-cultural celebration - one that is still ongoing and one of my favorite events to attend. In the classroom this was the time I always did my Scientist Share project - where students would choose from a culturally diverse list of men and women in Science and share who they were and what were their contributions. It was always interesting to see what the students thought about the contributions made by these individuals and how life would be different if they hadn't done what they did.
So do you have an activity or lesson that you like to do with your students? Share your ideas.
When I worked at my previous school we had a schoolwide celebration for Black History Month. My class would perform a scarf dance to "Black and White" by Three Dog Night. Each year it was slightly different because I would have the students choreograph it. I do not have any video of any of those performances - wish I did, but it's a great song to use to celebrate unity.
An awesome activity that brings out the inner poet in all of us is what I have termed "The Griot". A griot is simpy a storyteller. In the Afrikan village, the griot would be who we know to be the keeper of the news, a musician, artist or the person who keeps the oral tradition whether it be culture, family history, impending trouble or otherwise. Designate one class period for students to free write (stream of consciousness, poetry, diary entry...etc.) to traditional African music, preferably an instrumental. Then have students share the results of their music meditation. When students perform after a given time period, have the other students show their love by snapping their fingers. You will be amazed at who will share and evenmoreso, what they will share. This works for students of all ages.
After that, you can have the mature students "write down the bones" by giving them a topic to write about. Again, having an instrumental limits unnecessary conversations and jokes for the immature student.
This site has a lot of good lessons as well as a lot of musical and writing activities. I used to do a cultural fair similar to the one described in the article. I also integrated my cultural fair with un-FairyTales and Fairytales from different cultures. Students wrote their own versions of fairytales, created puppet characters and gathered a variety of resources based on the country they were researching. They also had to research food etc to present during the cultural fair.