February 20, 2018

TIS Celebrates Black History Month

In library class, we strive to incorporate diverse voices and perspectives into our lessons and readings all year long.  Through bulletin boards, book displays, and library class activities, we promote literacy across all languages, cultures, and subjects.  To celebrate African American History Month, we have put up a bulletin board and book displays highlighting many fabulous African American authors and illustrators.  We are highlighting these voices and experiences in library classes that connect with students’ units of inquiries.

For example, as fourth graders learn more about government, we read The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage, sparking conversations among fourth graders about their own cultural backgrounds and whether or not people in their families would have been able to get married had they lived in the years prior to this important U.S. Supreme Court case.
With the third grade, we pretended to be the judges for this year’s Coretta Scott King Award for illustration.  As we pored over several books that were published in 2017 and illustrated by African American artists, we asked ourselves how one measures quality.  We discussed the criteria that the judges use for this award, including what is meant by “portrays some aspect of the black experience.” Students casted their votes last week, and while each 3rd grade class chose a different winner, the overall winner when combining all third grade votes was Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins and illustrated by Bryan Collier.  Though the book selected by TIS 3rd graders didn’t match the one selected by the official CSK judges, our astute 3rd graders selected a book by an artist who, unknown to them, had won the award six times already!  As it turns out, this year’s King Illustrator Award winner went to Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, which is on our 4th/5th Reading Challenge list, and a King Honor in both writing and illustration went to Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, which our 3rd graders enjoyed as part of our Mock Coretta Scott King experience.
In second grade, we took a more scientific approach and read All the Colors We Are: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color.  Students delighted in comparing their skin color with that of their classmates, celebrating our similarities and differences, and coming up with our own names for the color of our skin.
Across all grades, TIS students are exploring diverse voices and perspectives, and we will continue to do so all year long!