Celebrating Black American Culture


Songs and Singing Games

Ms. McCune brought a series of songs and singing games that are rooted in African-American culture to the lower graders. Each class learned a different song/singing game. She introduced the Third Grade to Zoodio, which is a classic of the Elementary school music curriculum. In the Second Grade, the children learned Soup, Soup, a song preserved by Bessie Jones in Step it Down. Here are some glimpses!


Mrs. Borstel’s Fourth Grade class constructed a paper “quilt.” She talked about the importance of quilting in African American culture and shared the fact that some people believe that quilts carried important messages on the Underground Railroad. The paper quilt project also tied into the fraction block the students have been working on in math.

Gr 4 students working on a paper quilt
Paper quilt made by Gr 4 students

Civil Rights

Mr. Chiki has been doing the kind of work on Black History in Eighth Grade that these fourteen year olds are ready for! Here’s his summary:

Gr 8 students analyze a series of images from the civil rights and black power movements

We began the civil rights part of our history block with a discussion of life in the South during segregation and an account of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

The students analyzed a series of images from the civil rights and black power movements and discussed what impressions they got from the images and what impressions the images may be trying to convey. The students then read about the stories behind the images.

They have started reading Freedom’s Children.

The life of Martin Luther King Jr. was presented during one main lesson.

The students examined historical documents having to do with the Little Rock Nine and tried to answer the question of why Minnijean Brown was expelled, based on evidence from the documents.

We compared two short bios of Malcolm X from different sources and talked about how he is portrayed differently in each. We then read an excerpt from his autobiography.

The students examined the Black Panthers’ founding document, the Ten Point Plan and discussed whether each of the points of their plan was reasonable, while considering the time in which the document was written.

They are working on portraits of MLK Jr., Malcolm X and Angela Davis

When we come back, we will finish up by discussing how the image of Angela Davis, as it appeared on FBI wanted posters and other media affected the public’s impressions of her.

— Mr Chiki

Gr 8 portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.

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