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February 2021

February 2021
Dear Twinsburg Schools’ Family,

Each February, our country celebrates Black History Month to honor African American culture.  In the Twinsburg City School District, we are very proud to honor this rich heritage.  Black History Month should not be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history but a vital part of it.

In the words of President Barack Obama:

“Black History Month is about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America.  It’s about taking an unvarnished look at the past so we can create a better future.  It’s a reminder of where we as a country have been so that we know where we need to go.”

Each of our schools has prepared a myriad of activities to celebrate African Americans and to honor the African American culture.  Click on the link below to view each school's activities:

Wilcox Primary School                                                                                                    
This year, during Black History Month, the teachers at Wilcox Primary School have decided to introduce students to the rich African American culture, focus on notable historical and contemporary figures, and discuss respect for self and others.

Preschool Through songs and music from Sesame Street and Jack Hartman, the KPP and IPP classes will learn about the accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Washington Carver. Both of these men were prominent 20th century figures whose work is understandable to students who are 3-5 years old. Songs like “Color of Me”, “Believe in Yourself” and “Thankful for Friends” support confidence, diversity, and acceptance for our youngest learners.

Students in both Kindergarten and First Grade, will spend time during each of the 18 days of school in February studying the biographies of notable African American people. Teachers worked together to choose people for their achievements in science, entertainment, politics, law, education, and business. This wide variety will be sure to interest many different children and present some of their many accomplishments. Children in Kindergarten and first grade will learn about historical figures like Ruby Bridges, Bessie Coleman, and Thurgood Marshall along with “living legends” such as Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Mae Jemmison, and Kamala Harris. The teacher teams created slide presentations that include written biographies, video clips, and follow-up activities. All students learning on campus and virtually, will participate in the same activities each day for a common learning experience that aligns with the social studies and language arts curriculum.

Additionally, the Art, Music, and Physical Education teachers plan to focus part of their lessons on the art, musical, and athletic accomplishments of people and what made their work special while aligning the lessons to the content standards for each discipline (such as color, pattern, and texture in art compared to how a famous artist used these elements of design)

Art:     Alma Woodsey Thomas, Lois Mailou Jones, William H. Johnson (kindergarten)
           Alma Woodsey Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, and Amanda Gorman (first grade)

Music:     Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Michael Jackson, Louis Armstrong (brass instruments and jazz music)

Physical Education:     Jackie Robinson (baseball), Kobe Bryant (basketball) Dominique Dawes (gymnastics), and Simone Biles (gymnastics)

Additionally by February 19th, each Preschool, Kindergarten, and first grade classroom will decorate their door with something they have learned related to Black History Month (a famous person, examples of art, affirmations, an event in history, literature) they have learned about. Classes will be invited to do a gallery walk at some point during the week of February 22-26.

Mrs. Petrash’s class has already decorated their door!

classroom door celebrating Black History Month

One of our intervention specialists, Ms. Lipnos, is trained in sign language. She played the song “We are the World” for the three Kindergarten classes she works with and asked them to listen to the words and describe what the song means to them. Students talked about working together, respecting others, and making a difference. She is going to teach them the chorus in sign language and then record students to create a video performance to share before the end of February.

Mrs. Bell has been working on Screencastify video book talks about new books in our media center collection. For the month of February, Mrs. Bell is going to share these book talks with teachers and students to spark an interest in some of the new titles that highlight cultural diversity. The first episode of “Book Talks with Bell” can be viewed HERE. In this episode Mrs. Bell highlights All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James, and I Promise by LeBron James. We hope to continue to infuse literature that celebrates diversity and empowers all children. Another way students are able to read quality literature is through this Celebrating Black Voices virtual library.

As we approach March, all Wilcox students and their families will be invited to participate in “Wilcox Reads Week”. During this week, every family will receive a copy of the novel King and Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth, courtesy of the Wilcox Primary PTA.

King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth book cover

This early chapter book by Dori Hillestad Butler, is the first in a series of books where a dog named King and his owner, Kayla, work together to solve mysteries. Books will be distributed to On-Campus students by their teachers and the Twinsburg Public Library will distribute books to our Twinsburg Virtual Academy families. Our tradition is that we build a community of readers with all families gathering each evening to read the same chapters at the same time. Challenges and prizes make this experience even more rewarding. Our PTA is also working to schedule virtual field trips with the book’s author.

Samuel Bissell Elementary School
At Samuel Bissell Elementary School on the campus of Twinsburg High School, our teachers have made exciting plans for the 18 school days of Black History Month. Students will learn about African American culture, experiences, and contributions with a focus on acceptance, self-acceptance, the importance of being kind to one another, and lending a helping hand:

Monday, February 1, 2021
Informational videos on why we celebrate Black History Month along with a class discussion after watching both videos.
PBS Learning Media/Black History Month
Celebrate Black History Month
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Book on self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-acceptance. Attached are activities that go along with the book.
Grace Byers reads I Am Enough
Written by: Grace Byers, Illustration by: Keturah A. Bobo


Wednesday, February 3, 2021                                                                                                                    
Double Dutch                                                                                                                                                               
Two short videos about the history of double dutch and the impact on African American culture and the world.
     Students will write or draw about a game or something fun they invented with their friends

Double Dutch: A Black Tradition?

Fantastic Four World Champion Girls:
This Is Double Dutch

Thursday, February 4, 2021
ABC’s of Black History Month
5 minute 20 seconds video about a variety of famous individuals and events in black history.

Friday, February 5, 2021
Story of Martin Luther King Jr. from a child’s point of view. Students will write or share their dreams for the world.
The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Kid President

Tuesday, February 9, 2021
What is your Promise? Have students create goals/promises they have for themselves in the form of a poem, a list, or a drawing.
I Promise by Lebron James

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Marsai Martin reads ABC’s For Girls Like Me - Where do you wish you saw more people who look like you?
Written by: Melanie Goolsby, Illustration by: Princess Kay

Thursday, February 11, 2021
Karamo Brown reads I Am Perfectly Designed
Written by: Karamo Brown, Illustration by: Anoosha Syed

Lesson Plan
Friday, February 12, 2021
Class discussion - What do you think it is like to be the President of The United States?
Mrs. Kim Reads Inauguration Day

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
President Barack Obama
Students write or share what they want to be when they grow up.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Step Afrika

7 minute video from CBS Morning show- the history of stepping and how Step Afrika formed with examples of performances.

   Stepping through history to inspire the next generation:

   Briana Ashley Stuart--dancer, choreographer, step instructor explains the history of stepping

Thursday, February 18, 2021

If you could be a Superhero, who would you be and why?
Superheros are Everywhere by Vice-President Kamala Harris
Friday, February 19, 2021
African Dance Lesson
African Dance Lesson using a “clock” to tell the feet positions. From the Kennedy Center Digital Education

Monday, February 22, 2021
Jacqueline Woodson reads The Day You Begin
Written by: Jacqueline Woodson, Illustration by: Rafael Lopez
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Class discussion - Have you ever tried to break a secret code? What did it say? How long did it take you to solve? Have you ever tried to create a secret code? How long did it take you to create it? Who solved it?

Underground Railroad
6 minute 45 seconds video on the history of the Underground Railroad

Wednesday, February 24, 2021                                                                                                                        
Class Discussion - Have you ever stood up for something that is right or that you believe in? What was it and what was the outcome?
Civil Rights Act of 1964: Montgomery Bus Boycott for Kids
Video that explains the history of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the important roles that Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King had in the Civil Rights movement

Thursday, February 25, 2021
Class Discussion - We are all special! What makes you special? Allow students the opportunity to share what makes them special and why?

Jill Scott reads Pretty Brown Face and Brown Boy Joy
Written by: Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustration by: Brian Pinkney
Written by: Thomishia Booker, Illustration by: Thomishia Booker
Friday, February 26, 2021
View the two videos below and allow students to share what they have learned during Black History Month
Green Book
Video from the Smithsonian Channel
Black History Month #3 - Jazz: The Saxophonists

Additional Activities
*Ms. Shula will incorporate Black History month books and a slideshow into Library classes.
*Mrs. Mold will incorporate Black History month virtual field trips or virtual reality experiences into Computer classes.

This year’s Black History Month theme at George G. Dodge Intermediate School is:  “The Black Family:  Representation, Identity, and Diversity: Past, Present, and Future”.  The staff has planned a special activity for each day of the month:

Monday, February 1, 2021
Introduction to Black History Month 
Dodge will start this week by focusing on the larger “Family”.   Students will work on Valentine’s cards for Veterans and First Responders 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will work on Valentine’s cards for Veterans and First Responders 
Author Share 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will work on Valentine’s cards for Veterans and First Responders 
Author Share- We will focus on an African American author each week. 
This week’s author is Sharon Draper 

Thursday, February 4, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will work on Valentine’s cards for Veterans and First Responders 

Friday, February 5, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will submit their Valentine’s Day cards 
Biography of Amanda Gorman Staff will show the six minute video in Social Studies or Language Arts
This is the link to the poem:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz4YuEvJ3y4
Monday, February 8, 2021 
This is the link to the poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz4YuEvJ3y4
THS Minority Student Union/Dodge BHM Committee, Section 1 of the poem
THS MSU will lead Dodge students through section 1 of the Poem The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman. Guiding questions will be provided by Kim Henderson (BHM Committee Member)

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will work on their Poem activity @ home 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will work on their Poem activity @ home
Author Share-This week’s author is Kwame Alexander 

Thursday, February 11, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will work on their Poem activity @ home 

Friday, February 12, 2021 
Black History Month Slide
THS Minority Student Union: Dodge students will share their Poem activities

Monday, February 15, 2021 
This is the link to the poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz4YuEvJ3y4
THS Minority Student Union/Dodge BHM Committee, Section 2 of the poem 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will work on their Poem activity @ home 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will work on their Poem activity @ home 
Author Share-This week’s author is Jacqueline Woodson 

Thursday ,February 18, 2021 
Black History Month Slide 
Students will work on their Poem activity @ home

Friday, February 19, 2021
Black History Month Slide 
THS Minority Student Union: Dodge students will share their Poem activities
Monday, February 22 , 2021 
This is the link to the poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz4YuEvJ3y4
THS Minority Student Union/Dodge BHM Committee, Section 3 of the poem 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 
Black History Month Slide
Students will work on their Poem activity @ home 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Black History Month Slide
Students will work on their Poem activity @ home 
Author Share-This week’s author is Christopher Paul Curtis 

Thursday, February 25, 2021
Black History Month Slide
Students will work on their Poem activity @ home 

Friday, February 26, 2021
Black History Month Slide
THS Minority Student Union: Dodge students will share their Poem activities
RB Chamberlin Middle School is planning many exciting activities for Black History Month:

8th Grade Language Arts:
  • Harlem Renaissance with an emphasis on Langston Hughes
  • Civil Rights movement, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
  • “I Have a Dream”
  • Excerpts from various speeches by Malcolm X
  • “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
  • Poetry of Maya Angelou
  • Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • “Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored”
  • “The Power of Non-Violence”
  • Paper: Cultural African American Icons of the 21st century paper
  • Poetry of Tupac Shakur
8th Grade Science:
  • Feature on Black Scientists: Carver, Johnson, Andrade, Bath, Dean, Jackson, Grant, Hardin, Brawley, Williams, Joyner, Love, Stevens, Koontz, Jones, Daly, 
  • The Illusion of Race: Understanding the social construct vs. scientific fact (http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/the-illusion-of-race/)
8th Grade Social Studies:
  • Feature Black Historians: Douglas, King, Tubman, Parks, Chisholm, Jordan, Young Jr., Obama, 54th Massachusetts, Brown vs. B.O.E. and more
8th-Grade Math:
  • MAC/RAC: Daily Mathematician
  • Mr. Edwards:  weekly video on famous mathematicians: Dorthy Vaughn, Mae Jameson, Benjamin Bannaker.
  • Ms. Coseno: Hidden Figures: Math Activity: The activity gives a description of the three brilliant African-American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Students will evaluate expressions preparing for the next spacecraft mission! Students must evaluate each expression and work as "human computers" to calculate important data for the mission.
7th Grade Language Arts:
  • 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
  • Mrs. Lonczak: Students view, read, and analyze the “I Have a Dream” speech and present examples of figurative language in the speech.  Students research a topic of their choice relating to civil rights (1800s to present) and present their findings.  Students read and perform poetry by African-American poets.
7th Grade Science:
  • Article: Dr. Mae Jemison
  • African American Scientists student sheet
  • The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences website
  • Poster
7th Grade Social Studies:
  • Daily Google Slides of African Americans who made a historical impact.
  1. Identify an African American whose contribution has affected the world today.
  2. Quote
  3. Picture
  4. Presentation
7th Grade Math:
  • Article: 9 Great African-American Mathematicians that Changed the World
  • MAC/RAC: Daily Mathematician 
  • Mr. Edwards: weekly video on famous mathematicians: Dorothy Vaughn, Mae Jameson, Benjamin Bannaker.
8th Grade, Art I:
  • Introduction to Low-Country Rice Culture including its purpose, mission and importance in African American History/Culture.
  • Video/lecture on the Charleston artist, Jonathan Green & various picture books illustrated by Mr. Green
  • Hands-on project studying the anatomy of our hands, color of our skin and the beautiful fluid nature of the rice plant.
8th Grade General Music:
  • Social Justice/civil rights songs during the 1950s-2000s. 
  • Reflecting on specific songs, and how people’s voice could be heard through music.
Algebra 1 and Honors Geometry:
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of black women mathematicians who shouldered the burden in the decades before the digital age. 
  • Students will investigate the mathematics of friction and airflow that lead to differential equations.
7th Grade Art:
Unit on art and identity. Mixed media project. 
  • Students learn about the way artists’ identity impacts their artworks. 
  • Video and guided discussion on Frida Kahlo, Glenn Ligon and Wifredo Lam to look at the ways artists express their own personal identity, vs challenging society’s perception of one’s identity based on race, and lastly how one’s culture impacts art.
  • Students describe their own identity and create a visual representation of different aspects of their identity.
Ceramics unit on African American artists who celebrate Black History and the influence of African Art on their work. (Ex: Lois Mailou Jones…)
  • Clay masks
Lastly, a display by the office representing black artists throughout history who have shaped the art world by forging the way, challenging assumptions, celebrating identity, and bringing us into the 21st century.

7th Grade Financial Literacy:
  • Daily Bio and discussion of African American Entrepreneurs.
Introduction to Engineering:
8th grade students will learn about various African American engineers and inventors through a series of videos and presentations on our off campus day activities. Each week a different engineer or inventor will be featured.
This list will include: Dr. Shirley Jackson, Lewis Latimer, Otis Boykin, Lonnie Johnson, and Garrett Morgan.
7th and 8th Grade Orchestra:
RBC Orchestra students will rehearse and perform “Tuxedo Junction” by African American composer Erskine Hawkins.  Students will learn how African American musicians created American Jazz.
Physical Education:
Mr. Springer will facilitate class discussions famous athletes from the past. (Weekly Sharing)
Black History Trivia: Daily announcement at the beginning and end of each day.
Black History videos will be placed in Connection classrooms daily that will work in conjunction with the Black History Trivia during Morning Meetings.
Twinsburg High School has multiple and varied activities planned to celebrate and recognize the many achievements of those individuals who have impacted our lives and culture as a nation:
  1.       Daily announcements related to events from history;
  2.       School-wide banners and posters;
  3.       Class Color Kick-Off (seniors wear black for excellence, juniors wear red
          for unity, sophomores wear green for wealth and prosperity and
          freshmen wear yellow of success).  These are also the colors associated
          with Black History Month;
  4.       George G. Dodge Intermediate School/Minority Student Union
          collaboration through morning meetings (2x per week for 4 weeks) -
          reflecting and responding to Amanda Gorman's The Hill We Climb from
          the Presidential Inauguration;
  5.       Teacher access to and use of Black History lessons provided by Dr. Andrea
          Walker; and
  6.       Virtual viewing of past Black History Month "shows" with a virtual
          discussion after - much like a book club.

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Although the shortest month of the year, February is set to be filled with many interesting and engaging learning opportunities for our students as we pause to reflect upon the experiences of our fellow Americans in our efforts to build a better tomorrow.

Yours in education,
Kathi Powers

Kathryn Powers
Administrative Assistant:
Marianne Franko
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