Black History Month Recap

Black History Month Recap
Posted on 03/02/2020
This month, the Montclair Public Schools celebrated African American with interesting and vibrant activities across the district. In addition to the curriculum that integrates African American history throughout the year, in February, students displayed and demonstrated their learning to honor and recognize African Americans who have enriched our society with their contributions. They also had the opportunity to enjoy various historical and cultural presentations and assemblies. Full listing of classroom and school-wide activities.

In its interactive assembly on Feb. 14, Soul Steps showcased the African American dance tradition known as “stepping.” The assembly explored how step started among African American fraternities and sororities on college campuses as a means of unity and self-expression. Students learned how the body can be used as an instrument through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps. Daily morning announcements highlighted the accomplishments and contributions of various African-Americans who are not as widely known. Students help write the copy and read about these trailblazers.

black history month project  black history month project  black history month project

Students discovered more about the impact African Americans have had on the history of our nation through research of entertainers, athletes, artists, authors, activists, mathematicians, scientists, inventors, motivational speakers, actors, community members, entrepreneurs, media, politicians, etc. Each grade level was assigned a decade, and developed a hallway display that showcases images and information of prominent figures of that decade who have impacted our history. When the project is completed, classroom teachers went on a “museum walk” of the building with their students, traveling from the 1960s to 2020, learning about the contributions of prominent African Americans. On February 5, Bullock welcomed Rochel Garner Coleman, who captivated the students with his performance "Many Thousand Gone,” a storytelling about the Underground Railroad. Coleman expanded the students’ knowledge of the time period and this important part of African American history.

performer reads book
Coleman at a previous visit to Bullock

Students made freedom quilts and African masks. Third graders enjoyed a field trip to Sugarhill Children's Museum of Art and Storytelling to view Jacob Lawrence's artwork. On Feb. 28, Black History Month was celebrated with a School-Wide Assembly.

black history month assembly  black history month assembly  investors display

second graders read  third graders dance on stage  students peform muscial instruments

African dolls display  african dolls display

The school distributed the book To Change the Game You Have to Step Up to the Plate by Jackie Robinson to all students. The book discusses Robinson’s life, legacy, and global impact. On February 13 homerooms had a book by an African American author read to them by their teacher then students reflected on the message in the book about African American history. At the end of the month, the third graders held a “Wax Museum” featuring notable African Americans.

students read in class  jackie robinson book  students read in class

student as famous african american  student as barack obama  student as boxer

student as ruby bridges  student as thurgood marshall  student as sneaker creator

student as michelle obama  student as oprah  student as aretha franklin

The school purchased a book for all classrooms last year, Little Leaders. Bold Women in Black History, for use in lessons throughout the month and throughout the year. Class representatives participated in Morning Broadcasts to teach the school aspects of what they are learning and doing in their classes. Classes participated in lessons and projects throughout the month, then had them showcased on bulletin boards, doors, and on a display outside the classrooms. During the week of February 24, as a culmination of the month and all students learned, each class went on a gallery walk to view and learn from other class displays. The Bright Stars Theatre Group came to perform “Black History Hall of Fame.” The assembly highlighted people like Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin, Mae Jemison, and the Buffalo Soldiers. Students were delighted to meet the fun and interesting characters included in this fast-paced celebration of Black History.

black history month door display  black history month bulletin board display  black history month bulletin board display

As part of its Black History Month activities, fourth graders held a “Wax Museum” where students portrayed notable African Americans. Parents, students and Montclair administrators including Interim Superintendent Parker, walked the hallway and “met” famous figures such as Josephine Baker and Ray Charles. While dressing the part (some even with props!), each gave a brief history about the person they were representing.

student acts at wax museum  student acts at wax museum  students act out wax museum

student acts at wax museum  student acts at wax museum  student acts at wax museum

In addition to classroom activities, on Friday, February 28, Watchung held a student-led, school-wide assembly.

Buzz Aldrin
Fri., Jan. 31, staff and students were treated to a remarkable performance by Mike Wiley, an actor from North Carolina, who presented “One Noble Journey,” the story of Henry “Box” Brown, which kicked off Black History Month activities at BAMS.

black historymonth performance  black history month peformance  black history month peformer

The school hosted a viewing and discussion of the documentary “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls,” on Feb 5. On Feb. 14, Glenfield hosted its annual African-American Career Day. This event brings professionals from the community gathered to share stories with students of their successes, steps to achievement, obstacles they overcame and more.

african american career day

During the week of February 10-14, Principal Joseph Putrino announced over the intercom, during homeroom, an invention by a noted (or not so noted) African American. Sixth grade students had multiple lessons throughout the month of February to help give them a better understanding of Black History. For example, one the lessons had students investigate five major Civil Rights Movement protests to understand the different methods of protests used to gain civil, political, and economic freedoms for African Americans. Seventh grade students created their own individual memorials or monuments that are either new or a revision of an existing memorial or monument. In ELA, students did two readings - on Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X then compared their self-education and perseverance and how it affected their impact. Lastly, a group of students from Renaissance  showcased their talents at a Board of Education meeting. The performances included a dance by the 8th Grade Dance Company and a musical ensemble by the Rock Band. 

dancers perform

Montclair High School
Dr. Boyce Ennis, Music Director at Montclair High School, hosted an African American History and Talent Hunt Program on Feb. 29. All students were invited to compete in Dance, Drama, Visual Arts, Vocal and Instrumental and Classical Vocal and Instrumental. There will be cash prizes for the winners. Keena White’s “Dear Black Son” came to Montclair High School. White took on the notion of: “What if I could write to my son at the youngest age possible and give him advice to navigate the world he is going to encounter?” The project morphed from its inception to writing at all stages and addressing the harsh realities and glorious victories that a man of African origins could experience in his lifetime living on American soil. The forum included a screening where letter-writing participants speak about the process.
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