Chandler Celebrates Black History Month 2021

Every year at Chandler, we celebrate Black History Month when as a community, we commemorate the history of people of African descent in America and pay tribute to the many achievements of Black men and women. The most important part of the community to get involved are our students and this year, we had all grade levels participate in various activities. 
The need for greater diversity, equity and inclusion requires kids to be exposed to diversity at a young age. Not just relegated to February, it is a time to uplift all voices that have impacted our country. We celebrate Black History the entire year because Black history is American history, and when kids understand the entire picture of history, they can understand the fuller picture of today. 
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." - James Baldwin
So how did our School celebrate February? Read below to see what our grades did this month: 
Kindergarten - taught students about the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. and how the civil rights movement of the 1960s gave African Americans opportunities.  
First Grade - Students are working on a biography book report on an influential figure in Black History. Students have learned about scientists, artists, musicians, educators and activists who have left lasting impressions on our world. All classes recited quotes from famous Black leaders. Look out for a video compilation that we will share later!   
Second Grade - AfriCobra, an art form developed by civil rights activists, was highlighted in second grade. Each student made their own art piece to reflect their personal goals and values. Teachers shared daily videos and read-alouds on historical figures from the civil rights era. They also started their passion poems centered around Kobe Bryant's poem Dear Basketball, which linked with our poems block in writers workshop.
Third Grade wrote biographies and presented them on book creator and google slides. They shared with parents in Zoom breakout rooms. We read a play on Ruby Bridges and read a biography on Martin Luther King, Jr. and related much of our learning to the continued struggle for equal justice.
Fourth Grade - Every morning in February, 4th Grade started the day learning about a prominent Black figure. They talked about their accomplishments, watched videos about the impact these amazing individuals had on society and heard stories that made a difference on how they viewed the world. They also read inspiring quotes. 
Fifth Grade used this interactive presentation to let kids explore topics of interest on their own. It has read-alouds, interviews, biographies, videos of notable people throughout Black history. Teachers have also been reading Chains to all three fifth-grade classes. It's about a 13-year-old girl living in the colonies as the Revolutionary War begins. It tells of her trials and experiences as an enslaved child in New York and details how she persevered to escape her "chains". 
Middle School - Ms. Rooks hosted a series of Black History lunch stories for Middle School students that explored the Haitian Revolution, Harriet Tubman and James Baldwin.

6th-graders in Mrs. Laird's class talked about Stacey Abrams and her collective fight to create a Georgia where all people can thrive and where all eligible voters can have their voices heard.
During the Awareness Wednesday assembly, Donna Dretzka discussed the genesis of Black History Month. She focused on the need to read histories presented by African American writers as well as the stories of African American experiences represented by Black writers. 
8th Graders in Mrs. Dretzka's class were introduced to Amanda Gorman, learning about her background and development as a poet. They watched her perform the poem that she wrote for the Inauguration on January 20. They discussed the parts that affected them the most and the influences and inspirations in the lines and images.
Soon, 8th Graders will read Warriors Don't Cry, a memoir about the integration of Central High School in Arkansas in 1957. They will then do many readings of African American poetry, essays, and historical videos of the Civil Rights Movement that show how the integration of schools was obstructed in the South during that time. 
Afterschool offered a variety of classes to celebrate Black History to lower school students. These classes educated and engaged children in Black history and culture through interactive activities, entertaining videos, and content that profile Black visionaries and leaders.