Common Core and Black History Month

February 8th, 2013

Over at their “Closer Readings” blog on Thinkfinity, NEH EDSITEment has just posted a list of resources for teachers looking to incorporate literature and primary texts about Black History Month while meeting the demands of the Common Core English Language Arts Standards. As EDSITEment notes, “the Common Core’s English Language Arts Standards will shift the learning emphasis to frequent student engagement with reading complex informational texts and their academic vocabulary. What this means in practice is supplementing the textbook(s) with an array of digital books, articles, and websites.”

Here are some of the suggestions found on the blog:

  • Invite David WalkerHenry “Box” BrownHarriet Jacobs and six other African American entrepreneurs who lived during the era of slavery into your classroom with Crafting Freedom, which provides easy-to-use lesson plans, videos, PDF slide shows, teachers’ tools, and student handouts;
  • Play Flight to Freedom, an immersive video game about Lucy, a 14-year-old slave in Kentucky, and her journey on the Underground Railroad. Assess students’ historical understanding with the Think Fast about the Past! app;
  • Have students carefully observe and analyze Augustus Saint-Gaudens monumental Shaw Memorial as a prelude to discussing the impact that African American soldiers, particularly of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, had on the Civil War;
  • Have students explore segregation from the end of the Civil War to the dawn of the modern civil rights movement with a lesson on the controversial film Birth of a Nation and the protests organized against it by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People;
  • Focus on the NAACP’s lobbying efforts on behalf of anti-lynching legislation in the 1920s and 1930s

Read EDSITEment’s full list of suggestions here. And, if you haven’t already, be sure to examine our ebook celebrating the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. (with selections also appropriate for Black History Month!), which is full of just the kind of complex informational and literary texts the Common Core demands.  

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