In honor of Black History Month, we're highlighting a few of our favorite apps, activities, and videos that celebrate African American history and achievement.
Misty Copeland on Changing the Face of Ballet - Video
Why we love it: As the first African American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater, Misty Copeland is making history and, in her own words, working to “set an example of what a healthy image is, and what a ballerina can be.” In this video, she explains the importance of representation and identifies dancers like Raven Wilkinson who have inspired her along the way.
Best for: Grades 5-8
Discussion question: Why does Misty think it’s important to set an example for kids who want to become dancers?
Misty Copeland on the Changing Face of Ballet, TIME
The Underground Railroad: Journey to Freedom - App
National Geographic Society
Why we love it: This choose your own adventure game is immersive and rigorous, incorporating primary accounts and literature to show students what it was like to be a slave escaping to freedom on the underground railroad. Tapping into the power of student choice, this resource reinforces reading comprehension skills and guides students through an exploration of the life and achievements of Harriet Tubman, Thomas Garrett, and Frederick Douglass.
Best for: Grades 4-6
Discussion question: As you work through the game, consider how graphics are used to share information. How does the map help your understanding of the journey to freedom?
March: Book 1, John Lewis
Graphic Novel Depicts John Lewis' 'March' Toward Justice - Podcast
Why we love it: Every middle schooler should have the chance to read March, a trilogy of graphic novels that chart the trajectory of the civil rights movement through the life story of US Congressman and activist John Lewis. Even if March hasn’t made its way into your curriculum, don’t miss this Code Switch podcast hosted by Sandhya Dirks. Through interviews with Lewis and his co-authors, Dirks uncovers the origin of the novel’s unique format and reflects on how images are used to support the narrative.
Best for: Grades 5-8
Discussion questions: Are you surprised to see a nonfiction presented in this format? What are the advantages of using a graphic novel to to retell historical events?