Teacher Talk: MCS First Grade Students Research and Present About Pioneering African Americans in History

March 16, 2016

We began in January talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his peaceful fight for equal rights. In February, we explain to the students why MLK’s message is so important and where the civil rights movement began. We begin with the Underground Railroad. We begin here to show where the struggles began (with slavery) and that the Underground Railroad isn’t an actual railroad, but a series of safe house that run from the south to the north. The people who lead the slaves to freedom are the conductors. We begin with Harriet Tubman, the first conductor.

We talk about many “first” African Americans and why their contributions were so important. Their bravery paved the way for those coming behind them. Jackie Robinson paved the way for other young African Americans to think that they too could play major league baseball.

Students were introduced to musicians, singers, dancers, scientists, writers, and inventors. They were able to choose one to learn more about, or pick someone that interested them. They were given a rubric, and then created a way to share the information they gathered with their peers and parents. Student chose to make a poster, write a report or poem, create a diorama, or dress up like the famous African American and give the report in the first person. Students presented on Friday, March 11 and Monday, March 13.

Throughout the month, students most identified with the abolitionists. They couldn’t believe that people would treat other people in such a manner. They said they would have been like Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and Harriet Tubman if they lived back then.

Leslie Sem & Amanda Barone
First Grade Teachers

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