February is a short month with lots of fun activities to focus on! I love spending the month of February teaching my students all about important historical figures in celebration of Black History Month. If you’re looking for some fresh ideas to add to your lessons, you’re in luck! Today I’m sharing all of my favorite books, activities, and ideas for Black History Month!
Black History Month Books
Every new unit or lesson in my classroom starts with books. I know I’m not alone in saying that books are an essential component of my teaching, particularly since I work with primary students. Children love colorful picture books, especially when they are read aloud! I use this to my advantage by strategically choosing books that align with our studies.
In my classroom, we spend the month focusing primarily on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. These are a few of my favorite books to read:
- Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
- National Geographic Readers: Rosa Parks by Kitson Jazynka
- National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr. by Kitson Jazynka
- Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
- Martin Luther King Jr. by Carrie Hollister
Any of these books would be a great way to introduce your students to these important figures in history. I love reading these books aloud and then making them available to the kiddos in our classroom library.
The Egg Experiment
If you work with early elementary students, you might have a hard time finding resources for Black History Month or teaching about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I know this was definitely true for me! Every unit I could find on any of these topics seemed a bit too advanced for my kindergarten and 1st-grade students to grasp. I ended up creating my own set of resources for these topics and one of my favorite activities I is “the egg experiment”.
This activity is a great one for leading into your discussions and lessons on Dr. Martin Luther King. To complete this one, you’ll need one white egg and one brown egg. We have a class discussion about what the kiddos predict each egg will look like inside. They write down their predictions on a recording sheet or draw a picture.
Then, we crack the eggs open and the kiddos observe what they see. This is a great, concrete way to introduce the theme of the MLK Jr. activities to students. Once they see that both eggs are exactly the same on the inside you can begin to introduce some of the concepts in the unit.
To kick off our Black History Month activities, I love to cover essential vocabulary terms in my classroom. These are BIG topics for kindergarten and 1st-grade students, but I have found that the children are able to grasp these vocabulary terms when they are discussed in depth as a group.
To do this, we go over each word and definition slowly. This is a great activity for whole and small group settings. I usually place the words and definitions in a pocket chart and go through them one by one, matching the definition to the word. We chat about the words and I provide additional examples to help the kids understand them. Doing this activity first is essential for our next activity!
Mini Readers for Black History Month
I love using mini-readers in my classroom. I find that they are such a great way to help students get a general overview of a new topic. Doing the vocabulary overview first makes them much easier for students to understand, so don’t skip that step!
In my classroom, I usually introduce mini-readers during small groups and read through each page with students. As we read, I stop and have the kids circle each vocabulary word we learned as it appears in the text. We might also briefly pause and see if they remember what it means. After we read the book together, I have a discussion with my students about what the book covered.
This a great time to pull out the comprehension sheet that goes along with the mini-reader. You can either complete it as a group, asking 1 question to each child, or have them complete it individually. Whichever way works best for your kiddos is perfect! If I have children complete it independently, I always check in afterward to see how my students did with their understanding of the book.
Once the students have a solid foundation of knowledge on MLK, Jr. and Rosa Parks we use a variety of activities, graphic organizers and writing prompts to reflect on what we’ve learned.
Some of the activities in our lessons include:
- was/had/wanted charts
- characteristic charts
- fact charts
- mini reports (facts, portrait, life events, main idea)
- creative writing prompts
- Venn diagrams (comparing themselves to the person)
- peaceful/non-peaceful sorting page
We use these activities as a whole class as well as during small group time. I prefer to use these settings so that I can easily check in with students on their understanding of each topic and help them as needed.
Black History Month Digital Activities
In my classroom, I love using digital activities! For learning all about MLK Jr. and Rosa Parks, we use Google Slides activities that mimic the paper ones.
I love supplementing with digital activities to help further cement the ideas we are focusing on. I made all of the activities we used in small groups into Google Slides so that we can use a mix of both during our lessons.
One of my favorite ways to use these digital activities is as a whole group, right at the end of the day. I’ll project a page on the screen and we’ll use it as a way to review what we’ve learned.
Another great option is to assign them during centers if you have access to technology devices in the classroom. I love having the digital formats to make sure my kiddos truly understand the key information we covered in these lessons!
Black History Month Craftivities
My favorite thing about these units is definitely the final craftivity in each! I love a good craft and they always make a fun, low-fuss bulletin board display. The simple crafts include a writing prompt and a page topper that the children can color. I have the kiddos glue these down on a large piece of construction paper as well. The writing prompts we use are:
- All About Rosa Parks
- I Can Dream Like Dr. King!
I love allowing students to be creative about what they choose to include in their writing prompts. This is a great way to close your Black History Month activities in a fun way! After the month is over, don’t forget to file these away for your end-of-the-year memory books as well! Parents will love looking back on these writing prompts for years to come!
Grab A fREEBIE TO gET sTARTED
Excited to plan some fun Black History Month activities in your classroom? Make sure to grab my FREE Martin Luther King, Jr. Activities to get started! Included you’ll find a fun writing activity as well as a cute crown craft that your students will love!
Looking for more fun and engaging activities for your classroom? Check out:
Save These Black History Month Ideas
Pin this post on Pinterest!