Black History Month in the Classroom

Portrait of Harriet Tubman in 1911.<br />  by Library of Congress, via Library of Congress  [Public Domain]

Portrait of Harriet Tubman in 1911.
by Library of Congress, via Library of Congress [Public Domain]

How do you integrate Black History Month into your classroom? Do you and your students follow Harriet Tubman along the Underground Railroad? Or celebrate the innovations and contributions of African American scientists? Perhaps you incorporate art and music into your lessons with the Harlem Renaissance, or introduce your students to the leaders and events of the Civil Rights Movement.

With SIRS Discoverer, you can do all this and more. Not only is the database a fantastic place to find articles and images that you can share with your students, but it’s a wonderful resource for young and curious researchers.

Let’s start by researching the Underground Railroad, a pivotal resistance movement during slavery. Try a Subject Heading search for Underground Railroad. You’ll find editor-selected and age-appropriate articles, maps, graphics, photos, and even external Web sites to help you create your lesson plan.

Looking for a biography on an African American scientist to share with your class? A Subject Heading search for African American scientists will return 13 biographies, including profiles of medical pioneer Vivien Thomas and physicist Louis Roberts. Photos are available, also. Or click on the Biographies link under Database Features on the home page and type in the name of a specific person–for example, agricultural innovator George Washington Carver. Four articles and eight photos are provided.

George Washington Carver, full-length portrait, seated on steps, facing front, with staff.
Source: Library of Congress [Public Domain]

Have you thought about incorporating African American art, music, and literature into your curriculum with a lesson on the Harlem Renaissance? SIRS Discoverer can help. A Keyword search for “Harlem Renaissance” provides more than 60 articles, so you can pick and choose your focus. Langston Hughes was an important voice of the Harlem Renaissance–your students could learn about his life and read two poems he wrote for children. Or you could bring some music and color into the classroom with a discussion about jazz legend Duke Ellington or montage artist Romare Bearden.

Do you want your students to do their own research? Maybe challenge the class: “Who were the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement and what did they do?” A Keyword search for “Freedom Riders” provides more than 20 editor-selected, age-appropriate articles and eight graphics and photos. Students feel empowered when they discover information and answers on their own. With SIRS Discoverer, it’s easy!

If you’ve never used SIRS Discoverer to help create a lesson plan, Black History Month may be the time to start. Simplify your research and empower your students. Be sure to check out this month’s Spotlight of the Month—we highlight the lives and works of African Americans, past and present. Join us in commemorating Black History Month.

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