Emphasizing Important Lessons During Black History Month

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Since character education is part of everyday life in Kelly Price’s fifth grade class at Bayville Intermediate School, celebrating Black History Month fit right into the curriculum. 

Mrs. Price said learning about tolerance, civil rights and doing the right thing is an important part of fifth grade. “Teaching social issues within the curriculum and connecting those issues to those that fifth graders actually face on a daily basis helps bring the curriculum to life,” she said.

Mrs. Price did just that, bringing the curriculum to life by celebrating impactful African Americans through skits. Students helped to write the skits, which they performed on Feb. 28 for each other and a few special visitors.

The scripts, which focused on Berry Gordy, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson, each started with a conflict and then asked, what would that famous person do in that situation? One skit depicted students telling a new classmate where she had to sit on the bus and then they asked, “What would Rosa Parks do?” The scene froze while one fifth grader gave a brief biography of Rosa Parks and explained her importance in history. The scene then continued with the actors welcoming the new student to sit with them, emulating the values that Rosa Parks displayed. Other skits included conflicts revolving around group texting, choosing teams for a softball game and criticizing others’ taste in music, topics the students relate to.

Bryan Sarandrea, coordinator of social studies and business, K-12, said the activity was an excellent way to incorporate the lessons of Black History Month. “Mrs. Price has done a great job promoting tolerance and civic values throughout this unit,” he said. “This activity allows students to understand the central ideas of the civil rights movement in a creative and authentic way. I was so impressed with how the skits the students created showed the relevance of the topics to their own lives.”