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PBSD Black History Month Activities K-12

Center Elementary


  • Kindergarten -  Students will read several books and discuss equality and treating everyone the same. Students read and learned about Rosa Parks and discussed how she did not need to give up her seat for anyone.   Students also read and learned about Ruby Bridges and how unfair she was treated.  Students then wrote letters to Ruby.   Students also learned about famous athletes Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson.  The classes also read “Meet President Barack Obama” and discussed our first African American president.

  • First Grade - Students read and discussed “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., A Hero’s Story”.  Students studied non-fiction text by also reading about Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and Harriet Tubman.  Students completed writing projects about Ruby Bridges.  Students will be following up by watching, discussing, and reflecting on “I am…” videos of Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges.  Classes have also been reviewing biographies of famous African Americans (Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Ruby Bridges, Jesse Owens, etc.) with connected craft activities and a study of  The Underground Railroad with connected activities.  Students have been fascinated with The Underground Railroad and how it worked.

  • Second Grade - Students are reading various Readworks articles on important African Americans throughout history.  Students will be constructing a timeline of these prominent people and events in history. 

  • Third Grade - In Language Arts, students have been reading passages on Harriet Tubman and Ruby Bridges and completing close reads using African American Biographies.  In Social Studies, students are completing “Read, Write and Sing” books about famous African Americans, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Jackie Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall.  Students are also applying graphing skills to create various pictographs, identifying facts, and reading and discussing various literature books about African Americans.  Students are also creating murals portraying famous African Americans. 

  • Fourth Grade - Students are reading biographies for Black History Month, then completing biography posters. As part of Social Studies, students are investigating notable African Americans from each state.  So far we explored the state of Georgia. In Science, students are studying famous African American Scientists and their many contributions.  

  • STEM - Students at each grade will complete a STEM activity based on what they learned after studying a story about a famous African American. 

  • Music - Students have been studying Jazz music with a unit highlighting prominent African American musicians.  

  • Literacy - Students are reading and learning about Gabby Douglas and her winning the All-Around Gold gymnastics medal at the Olympics, becoming the first African- American to do so. 

  • Announcement regarding MLKing Jr. Day


Pivik Elementary


  • Kindergarten - Kindergarten teachers will use books and the Scholastic News to guide the students’ learning during Black History Month.  In addition to their study of Martin Luther King Jr, students also learn about Ruby Bridges and Jackie Robinson through nonfiction stories to learn about being brave.

  • First Grade - All students will participate in a Black History Month project by researching an African American of their choice.  They will share pictures and write sentences explaining their contributions. The teacher's read-aloud books throughout the month that feature famous African Americans. 

  • Second Grade - Second graders enjoy biographies about African Americans and use those selections as resources to complete comprehension challenges.  They learn about the impact that Rosa Parks made.  The students study Harriet Tubman’s brave journey to freedom with a “Heart for Justice” activity, and after reading about Ruby Bridges, the children compare and contrast her school to Pivik Elementary.  To learn about Martin Luther King, Jr., the second graders read the Scholastic News issue and watch the accompanying video about creating a beloved community.  As a follow-up, they analyze some of his quotes and use clues to make inferences about their meaning.  During MTSS time, they read independently and/or listen to a READWORKS passage about Ella Fitzgerald and complete related comprehension questions.

  • Third Grade - Students share both fiction and nonfiction stories that celebrate Black History Month.  Students continue their study of Martin Luther King Jr and complete projects that show their learning and understanding of his message.  Through both online and library resources, students research different African Americans and their impact on the world.

  • Fourth Grade - Students will research and gather information on a variety of African Americans. Students will identify each person’s most notable accomplishments and match them with their image.

  • Art Grades 1-4 - During Art class elementary students will be introduced to African American artists Kimmy Cantrell, Alma Thomas, Charles Henry Alston, Alvin Loving, and Sam Gilliam. They will get to know a little bit more about their backgrounds, observe their artwork and learn what inspired them to create their art. Students will then take inspiration from these artists and create their own masterpieces.


Holiday Park Elementary

Over the course of a school year, the Plum Borough School District continues to educate all students with a culturally responsive approach with our recognition and celebration of the achievements of diverse Americans.  As February is Black History Month, through various multicultural activities, students will explore African Americans who have influenced society.  Below is a summary of some of the learning that will take place within Holiday Park Elementary


  • Grade 5 Math and Science - Weekly discussions about African American mathematicians or scientists.

  • Grade 5 Math - Highlight the contributions and accomplishments of a different African American mathematician each day during the math block.  

  • Students in 5th grade Social Studies will be researching a famous African American and his/her accomplishments. Students will then incorporate this information into creating a unique and creative postage stamp that commemorates this person’s life and achievements. 

  • Students in 5th grade Social Studies will create Google Slide Show presentations that highlight an assigned historically famous or renowned person of color.

  • Grade 5 ELA - Students will read passages and poetry celebrating African Americans. 

  • Students in 5th Grade ELA will learn about many influential African American Heroes who have made a tremendous impact on the lives of others and changed our country forever.  Students will close read, analyze, and respond to short biographies. They will also have meaningful discussions focusing on three picture books. Testing The Ice: A True Story of Jackie RobinsonHenry’s Freedom Box: A True Story of the Underground Railroad, and I Have A Dream deliver moving accounts of courage, resilience in the face of adversity, and standing up for what you believe in to help others. 

  • Grade 5 ELA - Students are required to read one book by an African American author, have main characters that are African American, or about a famous African American. 

  • 5th and 6th Grade ELA - Students will close read biographies of African Americans who have impacted our history and our lives today.  They will analyze the text, identify the main idea and key points, as well as other literary elements. This includes reading and discussing important figures such as Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson.  

  • Sixth Grade Science and Social Studies - Students will read short biographies of famous African American inventors and influential people.  They will choose one individual to write a short report on. They will write a description of the invention and the impact it has on our lives today.  

  • Intermediate Life Skills 5-8 = Research African Americans who have contributed to our country.  They will identify why their person was important, three major things that happened in his/her life, and why they are celebrated. The students will present their person to the classroom in February.  The research will be posted in the classroom throughout the month of February. 

  • Music- 5th-grade students will learn about, sing, and compose spirituals. They will learn about influential jazz musicians. 6th-grade students will listen to the U2 song MLK and write a poem about Martin Luther King Jr. in the style of the lyric to the song. They will compose music on GarageBand to complement their poem. They will perform them in class.

  • STEM -  The students will learn and discuss the various African American leaders within science, specifically in regards to NASA contributions as students at HP are working on Project Ianos. In recent news, African-American astronauts have played key roles in the assembly of the International Space Station (ISS), performing numerous spacewalks and robotic operations, and conducting research as expedition crew members.  Several have distinguished themselves as senior leaders at NASA, including as the agency’s administrator.

  • MTSS - The students will read, examine, and analyze Dr. MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  They will read and discuss themes within the novel The Cay. 

  • Art 5 and 6- Pieces from famous African American artists will be displayed in the hallway. Students will review African American art from the National Gallery of Art and identify elements of design that are displayed.



Oblock Junior High


  • 7th grade World History - Using articles from Scholastic, Newsela, and Actively Learn, students will engage in reflection and discussion of contributions made by African Americans throughout the nation impacting Modern World History. Most notably, students will discuss the role of Dorie Miller during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Miller’s example and contributions, as well as countless others, led to Truman’s Executive Order 9981. The integration of the United States military impacted future conflicts and global peace-keeping initiatives. 

  • 8th grade Early American - Students are provided a random list of inspirational African-Americans in which each student was randomly assigned someone to research. Throughout the month, one student per day will present their biographical information to the class.

  • Algebra 1 - Each Monday, a new African American Mathematician will be on display including Benjamin Banneker, Elbert Frank Cox, and Euphemia Lofton Hayes, Mae Carol Jemmison, and Katherine Johnson.  After Keystones, students will be watching Hidden Figures, the story of African American Women at NASA.

  • 8th Grade Art  -  We will be watching a clip from 60 mins about African American artist Mark Bradford  - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1xAd0MOUtk

  • Math 7 & 7C -Once or twice a week, as part of the math warm-up exercise, a famous African American will be introduced.  

  • 8th Life Science - Students will be introduced to the story of Henrietta Lacks.  Her cells were taken without her knowledge or consent and have been shared with biotechnical companies worldwide. Neither she nor her family has been compensated for treatments developed using her cells. Her story illustrates historical racial inequalities in medical research and the health care systems.

  • Library- I have created a display of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction books by African American authors. In addition, I have displayed African American biographies. 

  •  7th Grade Chorus - The students are singing “Blackbird” by the Beatles.  McCartney wrote this song about the civil rights struggle after reading about riots in the United States.  We will discuss the historical significance and meaning of the lyrics.

  • 7th Grade Computer Science - students will be introduced to various African-American pioneers in computer science. Some include the first NASA “human computers”. Additionally, students will discuss a modern pioneer, Joy Buolamwiniracial, who is working to address biases in algorithms.



Plum Senior High School


  • Partners Art Classes both with PHS and Center Life Skills students

  • LGBTQ activity period club.

  • Students are interested in starting a Black Student Union.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ltnVZ7Lkbw&feature=youtu.be

  • Economics & Law    Use of Supreme Court cases spotlighting social injustice, ABA highlights 14 African American lawyers and their specific impact in American legal history and Reconstruction Era amendments to the U.S. Constitution - Students will discuss, debate, analyze, research and/or reflect regarding segregation decisions in Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education as well as various other landmark decisions regarding civil rights along with ABA individual biography highlights and Amendments 13, 14, 15.

  • Modern American History - Students will use current articles showcased in Upfront Magazine. Students will also discuss Black contributions within WWII as well as the push to desegregate the military through Executive Order 9981. 

  • AP Psychology & Psychology - Students will analyze different forms of cognitive biases and apply them to the treatment of people in the form of prejudice and racism 

  • Civics - Students will watch videos about and do research on our first Black American president, Barack Obama, and first black American Vice President, Kamala Harris. Discussions will also include Supreme Court decisions concerning Civil Rights.

  • Honors Civics - Students will participate in discussions concerning Civil Rights, civil liberties and the history of Black History Month

  • AP Comparative Government and Politics - Students will compare civil rights and liberties between the U.S. and other nations. Students will discuss the lasting effects of Brown v. Board of Education

  • World Cultures - Determine the impact of Gandhi's campaign of nonviolent civil obedience and resistance on the world. Make connections to the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. 

  • Honors Modern American History - Students will discuss segregation in the armed forces during WWII and the impact/contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen. Students will discuss the importance of Executive Order 9981 to today’s military. 

  • Sociology - Using documents, students will conduct a demographic study of race and ethnicity in mass media noting attitudes toward minorities.                               


District

  • PBSD Social Media Tweets about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and other African Americans that have made our country what it is today.



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