February is Black History Month — the celebration of African American history, contributions, and achievements that’s recognized annually across the United States and Canada.
For teachers, it’s a great opportunity to teach with intention, honoring the tradition and showing students its importance, along with the importance of black history and culture.
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Keep scrolling for 10 activity ideas to help you teach black history all month long (and keep students engaged).
Black History Month topic ideas
Typically, teachers tend to stick with the same few topics during Black History Month: civil rights, historical black leaders or celebrities, and important milestones.
While these are still very important topics to explore, there are also lots of other concepts you can introduce your students to this year, such as:
- Black mental health
- The history of hip hop
- Current black political issues
- Stereotypes and microaggressions
- The history and impact of black culture
- African Americans and the Vote (this year’s Black History Month theme!)
Guidelines for teaching during Black History Month
When teaching black history, remember to:
- Follow the do’s and dont’s
- Always promote diversity in your classroom
- Tell students black history is American history
- Leverage black voices as much as you can (utilize media, invite guest speakers etc.)
10 Black History Month activities for your classroom
Use these activities throughout the month (and the rest of the year!) to keep black history at the forefront of your lessons and encourage your students to keep learning more!
1. Quote or fact of the day
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
Every morning, greet your students with a new quote or fact that’s relevant to black history.
Say them aloud, add them to your bulletin board, print them out, or write them on your chalkboard (or all of the above, if you’re feeling ambitious). After this, you can open a discussion with your class about the relevance of each quote or fact.
Your students will love looking forward to what each day brings!
- Black history facts
- 15 Inspiring quotes
- 5 Black history quote posters
- Black history quotes – mini posters
2. Person of the day/week
Take time to talk about black influencers and their accomplishments. Highlight a different person every day or week and center your lessons around them!
Explore categories like:
- Historical figures
- Heroes and iconic leaders
- Scientists and mathematicians
Tip: Try to look beyond typical historical figures and popular celebrities. There are plenty of black contributors students may not have even heard of yet — use this chance to introduce them!
3. Black history trivia & games
Bring some fun (and maybe a little competition) into your lessons this month!
Find trivia and games that focus on black history, or repurpose other classroom games to incorporate Black History Month questions and answers.
4. Printable activities
Teach students about black history while they work on fun activities at their own pace.
Use them for independent work or during station rotation, to keep kids occupied and engaged!
5. Field trips to local events
Teaching in the classroom is great, but there’s so much students can learn from their own experiences!
Since there are usually tons of events happening during Black History Month, choose a youth-appropriate one to take your class on a field trip to.
Check out your local tourism website for events near you!
6. Timeline activity
Provide more context on important events in black history with a bit of chronology!
Have students put together their own timelines, whether individually or in groups, that focus on specific historical events or people. They’ll have fun fitting all the pieces together and learn lots along the way!
7. Study (and create) art
Art in the black community carries so much historical and cultural significance that can inspire some great, illuminative lessons.
Expose your students to relevant visual art, music, film, poetry and more. Then assign a creative activity to follow up. For instance, get students to:
- Write a story
- Make a video or podcast
- Create visual art or crafts
8. Use relevant media
There’s so much good media out there to help you teach black history — use it to your advantage!
Read books or watch videos with your class, then discuss the themes and lessons of each piece of media. After this, you can assign work based on them.
Try these books:
9. Host thought activities
Strengthen collaboration skills with various thought activities during February. These will get students thinking and help them learn new ideas and perspectives from each other.
Start by posing a relevant question to your class, like:
- Why do we celebrate?
- What does Black History Month mean to you?
- How can we fight intolerance in our everyday lives?
Encourage plenty of participation, then write down and discuss everyone’s answers together!
10. Assign a class project
Give your class a larger assignment they can work on for the entire month, like a collaborative media project or group presentation.
These bigger projects let students build on what they’re learning and work together towards something they can be proud of!
Get inspired by these extra resources to help you even more!
- Black History milestones
- Teaching tools for Black History Month
- Black History in America teaching guide
- Black History Month resources and lessons
- 10 Picture book biographies to celebrate Black History Month
- 20 Important lessons to teach kids about Black History Month
How do you celebrate Black History Month at your school?
Let us know in the comments below!
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