Dear Twinsburg Schools’ Family,
Each February, our country celebrates Black History Month to honor African-Americans' achievements and contributions to society. People and organizations across the country hold events to recognize pioneers such as Bessie Coleman, Mary McLeod Bethune and Paul L. Dunbar. In its earliest form, the tradition is 90 years old. Here is some interesting information about the origin of Black History Month…
According to International Business News, historian Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week, which began on February 12, 1926. Mr. Woodson scheduled the commemoration at that time so that it matched up with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, Negro History Week became Black History Month. President Gerald Ford urged the public to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."
Twinsburg City School District students and staff will commemorate Black History Month through a variety of ways:
Wilcox Primary School -
Library: Each week during February students will be introduced to a different group (Civil Rights and Government Leaders, Inventors and Scientists, Entertainers, Athletes) of famous African Americans through biographies/literature. Mrs. Bell will utilize the Smart Board and other technology to engage students in discussion about these heroes. Center activities will focus on the accomplishments of these and other famous Americans.
Art: Students will draw portraits of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1st grade/Wilner)
Students will study the work of African-American artist Romare Bearden (Tait)
Music: Focus will be on the development of 'African-American' music:
• African American spirituals/Ella Fitzgerald
• Ragtime-Scott Joplin ("Maple Leaf Rag")-early 1900's
• Blues-Leadbelly ("Baby Don't You Love Me No More")-1920's
• Jazz-Louis Armstrong ("Struttin' With Some BBQ", “It’s a Wonderful World)-1930-40's
• R&B-Chuck Berry ("Johnny B. Goode")-1950's
• Gospel/Soul-Aretha Franklin ("Lee Cross")-1960-70's
• Pop-Michael Jackson
Physical Education: Students will be working on gross motor, hand/eye coordination, and sports development through activities at different stations in the gym. While they practice with equipment such as balls, bats, batons, basketballs, and footballs students will proceed through stations designated for different athletes. Teachers will explain the significant impact each individual had on their sport.
• Jackie Robinson – baseball
• John Taylor – track and field
• Serena and Vanessa Williams - tennis
• Lisa Leslie – basketball
• Jim Brown – football
Kindergarten: Classes highlight the history and accomplishments of some of the following historical figures through literature and various projects:
• Martin Luther King, Jr.
• Rosa Parks
• Shirley Chisholm
• Elijah McCoy
• Garrett Morgan
• Ruby Bridges
• Guion Bluford
• Ralph Bunche
• Booker T. Washington
• Jackie Robinson
• Harriet Tubman
• George Washington Carver
Kindergarten Projects/Activities include:
• Heart hands craft
• Multi-cultural "Ice Cream Cone" project based on a poem about different skin colors
• Brown and white egg activity
• “I have a dream” journal entry
• Rosa Parks on Bookflix
Some books to be used in kindergarten:
• Martin’s Big Words by: Doreen Rappaport
• Amazing Grace by: Mary Hoffman
• If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by: Faith Ringgold
• White Socks Only by: Evelyn Coleman
• Scholastic News stories and activities related to Martin Luther King, Jr. as part of the class shared reading instruction
• After learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. students will write about a dream they have to make the world a better place.
• Guided Reading groups will focus on non-fiction and biographies of African Americans (we increased our collection of these last year)
• Non-fiction, big book read alouds related to Black History month (see names of individuals above)
• United Streaming video and discussion about Ruby Bridges
• Reader’s theater with guided reading groups using scripts related to the lives of Harriet Tubman, Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.
Samuel Bissell Elementary School –
Black History Bingo
• Daily trivia questions read over the announcements each morning and students try to guess the historic figures and get Bingo.
• Students receive a scavenger hunt with clues based on the posters of historic figures that are displayed in the halls.
• Teachers receive a packet of activities such as Reader's Theater, worksheets, small crafts, etc. that they use in class on a daily basis centered around historic figures and their contributions.
African American Biography Reports/Projects
• Students research facts about a selected historic figure and present a poster and the facts to the class
African American Biography Boxes
• Students research facts and illustrations for a display box that is presented to the class
Timeline of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in computer lab
Biography Book Reports
• Guided research on the internet about selected African Americans
Read-aloud book studies
• The class chooses a book about an African American to read and discuss together
George G. Dodge Intermediate School –
• Information about a Notable African America will be part of the morning announcements. Our focus will be on those who may not be as familiar and local heroes.
• Students will be invited to create an 11” X 14” poster of a notable African American to be displayed on display boards around the building. Students/classes will be encouraged to use the display as a learning tool. Scavenger Hunt sheets will be created for students use. This activity will not be completed until the end of the month and can be used in conjunction with Women’s History month
• Guest speakers will be secured to address each grade level
Bulletin Board Display
• An African American bookstore and the African American Museum have been contacted to provide items for the Dodge display case.
Samples of Individual Classroom Activities:
- Social Studies classes have been studying the Civil War and the Underground Railroad. Students have discussed the song Follow the Drinking Gourd, as it relates to the Underground Railroad. Students are also discussing and researching famous African American inventors as it goes right along with the Social Studies standards.
- Books are on display for Black History Month that the students can read. "Martin's Big Words" was part of the class discussion for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January.
- Students are reading about Jackie Robinson.
- Students will be using poetry in language arts class to discuss Black History Month.
- Wax Museum presentations:
• Carmelo Anthony, Oprah Winfrey, Michael and Janet Jackson, Michelle Obama, Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Jesse Owens, Misty Copeland, Kobe Bryant, George Washington Carver and Martin Luther King, Jr.
- NEWSEla articles / comprehension quiz for Language Arts assignments
- Daily trivia; student's will log who they learned about each day on their personal February calendar. This will also be integrated with daily reading comprehension/ extended responses as well as classwork and homework.
- To tie in with our Invention League, the accomplishments of several African American inventors will be featured.
- Students will read the novel, Chains, a story of a young slave child during the American Revolution.
- Students will be working in small groups to do mini research projects based upon a given topic and creating "Dateline Dodge Special Reports" on their topics.
- Students will also complete an independent biography activity in which they will write two poems about themselves and a famous figure in African American History.
-Students are reading many books related to Black History and Civil Rights in particular, most written by African-American authors.
• Readers Theater about Claudette Colvin & the Montgomery Bus Boycott
• Books about Usain Bolt & Wilma Rudolph
• The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Reader's Theater Play "Selma to Montgomery/Bloody Sunday March"
- View "Selma, Lord Selma" video
- Video Activities- Character Analysis, Compare/Contrast 1960s to Today's Society, write essay using Venn diagrams
- Students will study the ancient culture of Nubia
- Vocal music lessons will integrate music specifically selected for this month’s special focus.
RB Chamberlin Middle School –
* Black History Trivia: Daily announcement at the beginning and end of each day
* Start with Hello Week activities to celebrate and accept our differences.
• Close reading: “Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks”
• Freedom Fighters
• MLK speech, play
• Martin’s Big Words
• African American Poets
• Civil Right timeline- cause and effect
• Josephine Baker: “The Dancing Spy
• Article: “Dr. Mae Jemison”
• African American Scientists student sheet
• “The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences” website
• Social Studies research project that includes: 1. Identify an African American whose contribution has affected the world today; 2. Write a four (4) paragraph essay; 3. Draw an accompanying picture; 4. Present findings to the class.
• Article: “9 Great African-American Mathematicians that Changed the World”
• Harlem Renaissance with an emphasis on Langston Hughes
• Civil Rights movement, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
• Read the book, “Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored”
• Read “The Power of Non-Violence”
• Paper: Cultural African American Icons of the 21st Century
• Feature on Black Scientists: Carver, Johnson, Andrade, Bath, Dean, Jackson, Grant, Hardin, Brawley, Williams, Joyner, Love, Stevens, Koontz, Jones, Daly
• Feature Black Historians: Douglas, King, Tubman, Parks, Chisholm, Jordan, Young Jr., Obama, 54th Massachusetts, Brown vs. B.O.E. and more
• Scale Factor on MLK Memorial and Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Twinsburg High School –
Each Tuesday and Friday, a trivia contest will be held during the lunch blocks. The questions will focus on a wide variety of historical and modern day noteworthy accomplishments of African Americans.
THS Alumni will be featured in pre-recorded video presentations and will speak on a variety of topics. These presentations will take place after school. Guest speakers will highlight the manner in which THS positively impacted their lives. Scheduled presenters include:
• Donald Thomas and Gary Foote (Military)
• Chanel Shorts (Business & Fashion)
• Anthony White (Athletics)
• Ashley Morrissette (Athletics)
• Stephanie Simms, Danielle Turner & Aliece Stewart (Women in Leadership)
• Jalil Bishop (Education & Justice)
Culminating Activity: African American History Showcase
• “Who Are We?”
o Presented by the THS Black History Club under the direction of Ms. Tania Johnson
o Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 6:30 p.m., THS Auditorium
Special thanks to our teachers for submitting all of these fantastic classroom and building-wide activities. And of course, thanks to our parents and community members for your continued partnership with our school district and your ongoing support of our students. I hope to see you soon at one of our many District events.