Louis Armstrong and the All-Stars Edmonton Gardens playing music. Image from Provincial Archives of Alberta.

Each February, we are invited to observe Black History Month. A theme is designated for each Black History Month to guide our focus and attention. This year’s theme is “African Americans and the Arts.” 

As adult educators, we have a unique opportunity to designate time to engage in critical conversations with our learners about the achievements of African Americans and their role in U.S. history. The SABES ELA PD Center has consolidated resources to support you in integrating this year’s theme into your instruction. All the materials are free for you to use and share with other educators. 

Harlem Renaissance

Integrating social studies in ELA instruction can be a great way to engage adult learners. During Black History Month, highlighting the Harlem Renaissance allows you to explore the creativity of African Americans. The National Gallery of Art and Library of Congress have developed educational materials and resource guides to support the development of lessons and units on the Harlem Renaissance. 

‘The Black Woman Artist Who Crafted a Life She Was Told She Couldn’t Have’

This free and ready-to-use lesson by the New York Times delves into Augusta Savage’s life. During the Harlem Renaissance, Augusta Savage became an acclaimed sculptor despite facing racism and oppression. This lesson contains reading materials, a short video, and activities for learners to engage with to deepen their knowledge of the Harlem Renaissance. 

Black History Month Resources

The National Museum of African American History & Culture has curated a collection of digital educational materials for teachers and learners to utilize. This link will direct you to the page with educational resources, but make sure you click on the “Resources for the Classroom or Home” tab to discover the expansiveness of the collection. 

28 Days of Black History

Teachers can sign up to receive daily emails throughout February. These emails highlight the influence of Black people on U.S. history through cultural artifacts and provide opportunities to act. Also included are discussion guides that can be used to stimulate reflection and meaningful conversation with students that are aligned with the speaking and listening College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE). Teachers can encourage students to sign up for the emails to practice digital literacy skills, which may result in students having meaningful conversations with friends and family.

Last year, the SABES ELA PD Center also wrote a blog highlighting valuable educational resources that can support you in exploring Black History Month with your adult learners. You can read more here

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SABES English Language Arts Curriculum & Instruction PD Center