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Black History Month Activities

I love finding great multicultural literature to integrate into my reading instruction.  When I’m teaching making predictions, I use Ruby’s Wish as a mentor text.  Teaching Theme or Point of View?  White Socks Only is one of my all time favorites!😍

One of my favorite reading skills to integrate with science and social studies is nonfiction text structures and features.  Here in Indiana, February can be a LONG month.  My kids and I need AND enjoy a nice change of pace by focusing on nonfiction during cold winter months.  

Here are a few of my favorite mentor texts!  

Back of the Bus is about A boy and his mother are riding the bus in Montgomery, Alabama like any other day—way in the back of the bus. The boy passes time by watching his marble roll up and down the aisle with the motion of the bus…Until a big commotion breaks out from way up front.

Let the Children March  is set in 1963 Birmingham, Alabama. Thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world.  
28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World  Each day features a different influential figure in African-American history, from Crispus Attucks, the first man shot in the Boston Massacre, sparking the Revolutionary War, to Madame C. J. Walker, who after years of adversity became the wealthiest black woman in the country, as well as one of the wealthiest black Americans, to Barack Obama, the country's first African-American president. 

While learning to identify and understand nonfiction text structures, my kids love using paired texts!  They are like little sponges absorbing all the things and I can't get enough of it!  These paired texts are from 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World and Black History Month Activities.  This book is definitely where I get the most bang for my buck.  Lets face it, building your library of great mentor texts is expensive!  This book allows for several opportunities to use paired texts with your class.  I would definitely put it at the top of your list! 
From a young age, I was extremely fascinated by The Little Rock 9.  I think it is because my uncle was actually bused from a "white school" to a "black school" when Indianapolis began integrating their public schools.  Then, I could not imagine the bravery that it would have taken for the Little Rock 9 to do what they did.  Now, I think about the teachers and staff of the school and how that impacted the students.  

 Let the Children March can be paired with more than one passage, but my favorite is the Nonviolent Protest passage.  I would recommend reading the passage first, as I have found that providing the background information first helps the students have a deeper understanding of the book.  

She Persisted is about women in American history, who have spoken out for what's right, even when they have to fight to be heard. This book includes Harriet Tubman, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges and many more inspiring women.

Hidden Figures  Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…really good.  They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History educates and inspires as it relates true stories of forty trailblazing black women in American history.

If you want to learn more about Black History Month Activities and passages, click here.

Nonfiction Text Structures

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    Scholastic Social Media Challenge

    As teachers, we all know how important it is for our students to have books in their hands.  We all would LOVE to buy them every book they want to take home and keep because we know the feeling of having a book of your very own.  Unfortunately, that is unrealistic…we have bills, too!

    We all know and love Scholastic and all of their amazing deals on books, especially their $1 deals!  ( If you do not know about Scholastic, you should! )  I did a Scholastic social media challenge and asked my friends and family to sponsor one child this school year to get one $1 book a month. Guess what?  It was a HUGE success!  Thanks to all of my loving a supportive friends and family, each child in my classroom will get one book of their very own every month.  I’m just giddy with joy!
    I plan to follow this up with thank you notes to the person who sponsored them.  It is a wonderful life lesson on giving and being thankful.  

    If you are interested in the Scholastic Social Media Challenge, here is the post I used…just click copy and paste it into your own social media platform!

    Friends & Family,
    📚 📖 📚
    I don’t know about you, but I remember bringing home Scholastic book orders and being so excited to pick out a book or even several books! As a teacher, I still love looking through them. Also, seeing my students excited about reading and picking out books is pretty awesome. However, every year I have students who just can’t afford to purchase these books to take home and call their own.
    So ... I saw an idea from a friend! 
    💡 💡 💡
    Would you be willing to sponsor a child in my room so they can get a new book of their own every month? Scholastic offers a different book each month for $1. I’d love to order every student in my class a new book for the next 10 months. If you are interested, you can write a check to Scholastic Book Clubs and mail/give it to me.
    I would LOVE to have the opportunity to do this for my students!!
    Thank you so much for your support! I know each of my students will be so excited and truly appreciate your kindness!  ❤️

    FULL DISCLOSURE:  I did NOT come up with this idea!  I just saw it and wanted to share my experience!

    I can't WAIT to get that beautiful box!

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    Daily Quick Writes

     Hi Friends!  

    Confession time…writing is my LEAST favorite subject to teach.  I know, I know…teachers shouldn’t have favorites!    In all seriousness, teaching writing to first graders was not my favorite subject to teach. I was in a place where I thought, “If it’s boring to me, isn’t it boring for them?”  I desperately needed to spice things up.

    That year I made it my professional goal to improve my writing instruction.  I spent time reading, researching best practices and developing a system that would work in my classroom.  As a result the Daily Quick Writes were born.

    The idea behind the quick write is to focus more on the quality of writing, instead of the quantity.  A quick write prompt should only take 5-10 minutes…we all have time for that!  The prompts are versatile and cover a wide range of topics.  They were designed to encourage your students to express themselves as they learn the art of writing!

    I typically used a writing prompt a day as a writing workshop warm-up, however it can be used any time that works for your classroom.

    The original Daily Quick Writes were designed for kindergarten and 1st grade students. When I moved to 3rdgrade I developed Daily Quick Writes for BIG KIDS.  

    The prompts are similar, providing an amazing opportunity for differentiation!

    Over the past few years I have had many requested for a blank version of the Daily Quick Writes paper. I have good news friends, I FINALLY did and it is a FREE download!

    Daily Quick Writes

    Subscribe to get the your download & check your email! 

    Daily Quick Writes for BIG KIDS!

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