Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School
Black History Month is an annual celebration of the achievements of African Americans. It’s an opportunity to celebrate their important role in every aspect of our culture. At The First Academy, it is important that we celebrate Black History throughout the school year, but during the month of February, we highlight lessons throughout all areas of our curriculum. Read on to see how we are celebrating Black History Month in each of our divisions.
Students in K4 through Kindergarten are learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Louis Armstrong, George Washington Carver, Mae Jemison, and more through creating books and special crafts, watching age-appropriate videos, and writing stories. First through third-grade students will read mini-biographies about famous African Americans and create graphic organizers to show what they have learned, complete a Rosa Parks activity and a Ruby Bridges art and writing project, complete “I Have a Dream” writing projects, and learn about the Harlem Renaissance among other activities. Fourth and fifth graders will work in groups to form Keynote presentations about a famous African American in history and present them to the class and read works such as Henry’s Freedom Box, Two Tickets to Freedom, and How Many Days to America.
6th-grade students will watch the movie Hidden Figures and complete a reflective essay. They will also complete a graded Brainpop about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Students in 7th grade will watch and study themes and ideas in Remember the Titans and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. documentary. Our 8th graders will complete a Science lesson on the Periodic Table of Excellence, featuring a scientist that they have researched and how they have impacted the field of science. This project will consist of a digital poster in the format of a square on the periodic table as well as a Keynote presentation on their scientist. Middle School elective courses such as Ceramics, Drawing & Painting, Performing Arts, Public Speaking, Choir, and Discipleship will all study important topics, themes, and individuals rooted in Black History.
Nearly all of our courses in the Upper School have incorporated important topics related to Black History Month. From creating a short synopsis about a black scientist, biochemist, economist, Inventor, Doctor, Ph.D., astronaut, mathematician, etc. to setting aside a full week to discuss the Civil Rights Movement, our Upper School students are learning a lot this month. In psychology, students will learn about some of the many African American leaders in psychology who broke through barriers. Students also learn about Kohlberg’s levels of moral development and evaluate the moral arguments that were used in the Civil Rights Movement. Students in AP Language and Composition analyzed the Letter from Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the poem Double Dutch by Gregory Pardlo, an award-winning contemporary African-American poet who continues to create poetry about his heritage.
The curriculum listed above is just a small sampling of how we are celebrating Black History Month at The First Academy. If you have questions about any of the items listed above, please contact your divisional principal. Thank you for joining me in this important month of celebration!