Black Boys in Crisis

Celebrating Black History Month with Engaging Activities for Kids

As February approaches, educators and parents have the perfect opportunity to explore and celebrate Black History Month with their children. Emphasizing the achievements and contributions of African Americans, Teach Starter provides a treasure trove of activities and free resources designed to educate and inspire young minds. This article highlights some of the impactful ways teachers and families can engage kids during Black History Month.

One of the most effective methods to introduce kids to significant historical figures is through interactive activities. Teach Starter offers free printable resources that spotlight icons like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Harriet Tubman. By bringing these heroes into the classroom or home through coloring sheets, puzzles, and informational texts, children can learn about their influential lives in a manner that’s accessible and enjoyable.

Storytelling sessions hold a special place in child education, as they can impart lessons vividly and memorably. Incorporating stories of notable African American scientists, artists, athletes, and leaders can pique children’s interest in history and its relevance today. Teachers can use Teach Starter’s biographical texts accompanied by questions to aid comprehension and critical thinking about these figures’ legacies.

Crafting projects are another fantastic way to foster education about Black History Month. By creating art inspired by African American culture, including traditional patterns and designs, children can develop an appreciation for a tapestry of cultural expressions. These hands-on activities not only serve as creative outlets but also open discussions about diversity’s value.

Moreover, Teach Starter provides interactive timelines that highlight key events in Black history. Such chronological visual aids help students understand the context of the Civil Rights Movement and broader historical narratives. They allow kids to see the interconnectedness of events that have shaped the present society.

Discussion prompts might be one of the most crucial tools offered for Black History Month instruction. Suggested questions encourage students to reflect on issues such as equality, justice, race, and civil rights in contemporary contexts. These conversations are invaluable as they can shape how young individuals perceive the world around them.

In alignment with modern educational needs, some resources from Teach Starter are digital-friendly for remote learning environments or tech-integrated classrooms. This approach ensures that no matter where one teaches or learns from during February’s commemorations, every child has access to enriching content about Black History Month.

Teach Starter’s initiative doesn’t just provide singular working materials; it fosters an all-encompassing educational experience that bridges past achievements with current societal reflections through interactive learning strategies suitable for children.

Incorporating these activities into kids’ curricula or family learning time offers a multi-dimensional understanding of Black History Month — emphasizing not only historical milestones but also underlining the importance of ongoing conversations about race, identity, equality, and empowerment within younger generations.

As Black History Month commences, teachers and parents alike are encouraged to turn to Teach Starter’s comprehensive gallery of free resources to ensure this vital part of history is communicated effectively — not just as a month-long observance but as an integral component of lifelong learning.

Celebrate Black History Month with these 15 Insightful Activities

Black History Month is celebrated every February to honor the achievements, struggles, and contributions of people of African descent in American history. There are numerous ways to celebrate this important time of year, and engaging in educational and inspiring activities is an excellent way to gain a deeper understanding of the African American experience. Here are 15 insightful activities to help you celebrate Black History Month.

1. Visit museums and cultural centers: Engage in educational tours, exhibitions, and attractions focused on Black history at prominent cultural institutions such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture or a local African American museum.

2. Read books by renowned African American authors: Immerse yourself in literature by acclaimed Black authors like Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, or Maya Angelou to gain insights into the African American experience.

3. Stream documentaries and films: Watch documentaries and films exploring various aspects of Black history, such as “I Am Not Your Negro,” “13th,” or “Hidden Figures.”

4. Attend lectures and panel discussions: Check out events occurring during Black History Month featuring expert speakers discussing topics related to Black history, culture, and activism.

5. Organize a book club: Gather friends or family members and create a book club during Black History Month, with a focus on reading texts from historically significant African American figures.

6. Research your own ancestral history: Delve into your family tree to better understand your own connection to Black history and how it has shaped your personal experience.

7. Support black-owned businesses: Make an effort to buy from local Black-owned businesses throughout the month to promote economic growth within the community.

8. Create art inspired by African American culture: Use various mediums such as painting, drawing, or even photography to create works that showcase elements of Black history and culture.

9. Participate in community service projects: Volunteer at organizations that focus on providing assistance to African American communities, such as the NAACP or the Urban League.

10. Attend a cultural arts performance: Seek out African American dance troupes, theater companies, or musical performances that explore themes related to Black history.

11. Start a dialogue: Encourage conversation among friends and family about the importance of acknowledging and understanding Black history. Be open to listening and learning from others’ experiences.

12. Host a movie night: Organize a gathering with friends or family to watch and discuss films or documentaries highlighting significant moments or individuals in Black history.

13. Learn about important civil rights leaders, activists, and historical events: Educate yourself on key figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and the broader context of their work in the struggle for equality.

14. Cook traditional African American cuisine: Prepare dishes from the rich culinary heritage of African Americans, such as Southern soul food, Caribbean flavors, or dishes influenced by the African diaspora.

15. Participate in activism: Seek out opportunities to join organizations and movements that advocate for racial justice and equality.

By engaging in these 15 insightful activities throughout Black History Month, you can enhance your understanding of the African American experience while also commemorating their essential contributions to American history.

20 Enlightening Facts About Martin Luther King Jr.

1.Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia.

2.His birth name was Michael King Jr., but his father later changed both of their names to Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant reformer.

3.He was exceptionally intelligent and skipped two grades in high school. He attended Morehouse College at the age of 15 before earning his doctorate from Boston University.

4.Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech took place during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963.

5.Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested over 30 times during his lifetime, usually for acts of civil disobedience.

6.He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35 in 1964, making him one of the youngest recipients.

7.Dr. King was instrumental in the passage of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

8.He was an advocate for economic justice and sought to fight poverty through supporting labor movements, arguing that racial equality could not be achieved without addressing economic disparities.

9.Dr. King opposed the Vietnam War and considered it a diversion from the nation’s focus on civil rights and social justice issues.

10.Assassinated on April 4, 1968, he died at only 39 years old, leaving behind a lasting legacy of championing human rights and equality.

11.The FBI monitored Dr. King extensively due to his activism and potential influence on American society.

12.His philosophy on nonviolence was influenced by thinkers such as Mahatma Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau.

13.Martin Luther King Jr.’s initial focus on civil rights included ending segregation in schools and public transportation systems through peaceful protests like bus boycotts.

14.Dr. King co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957 to coordinate civil rights activism in the South.

15.Despite rumors regarding marital infidelities, Dr. King remained married to Coretta Scott King until his death, and they had four children together.

16.He is the only non-president to have a national holiday in his honor: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, observed annually on the third Monday of January.

17.Over 1,000 streets in America are named after Martin Luther King Jr., exemplifying his enduring impact on American society.

18.His final speech, called “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” was delivered on April 3, 1968; he was assassinated less than 24 hours later.

19.Dr. King’s assassination led to widespread riots throughout the United States and prompted further civil rights legislation.

20.In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a federal holiday, honoring Dr. King’s relentless pursuit of racial and social equality.

5 Classroom Books for Learning About African-American History


African-American history is an essential aspect of American history and should be embraced as a vital part of any educational curriculum. To help teachers and educators incorporate this rich history into their classrooms, we have compiled a list of five insightful books that cover a range of topics related to African-American history. These books are appropriate for different age groups and will offer an engaging learning experience for students as they delve into the lives, stories, and accomplishments of African-Americans in the U.S.

1. “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson

“Brown Girl Dreaming” is a beautifully written memoir in verse that tells the story of award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood in South Carolina and New York during the Civil Rights Movement. This captivating book provides a lens into the experiences of growing up as an African American child during this pivotal time in history. It’s an excellent choice for middle-grade readers who are learning about the Civil Rights Movement and exploring themes such as identity, family, and resilience.

2. “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963” by Christopher Paul Curtis

This engaging historical fiction novel follows the Watsons, an African American family from Flint, Michigan, as they embark on a road trip to Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The story effectively portrays the racial climate of America during this era while maintaining a humorous tone through the eyes of 10-year-old Kenny Watson. This book is suitable for upper elementary and middle-grade students studying the Civil Rights Movement or seeking to learn more about the experiences of African Americans in the 1960s.

3. “March Trilogy” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

This powerful graphic novel trilogy takes readers on a journey through civil rights icon John Lewis’s firsthand account of his tireless fight for justice and equal rights. The three volumes encompass Lewis’s early life, his activism with the Freedom Riders and the March on Washington, and his efforts to secure voting rights in Selma. The “March Trilogy” is an excellent resource for middle school and high school students studying the Civil Rights Movement or those interested in the career of John Lewis.

4. “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly

“Hidden Figures” tells the true story of four African American women who worked as “human computers” at NASA during the Space Race. These trailblazing women overcame racial and gender barriers as they contributed to key breakthroughs in space exploration, while their stories remained largely untold until recently. This inspiring book is a must-read for high school students learning about African-American history and women’s contributions to science.

5. “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

This compelling adaptation of Ibram X. Kendi’s “Stamped from the Beginning” explores the pervasive nature of racism in America throughout history. Author Jason Reynolds tackles this complex subject with clarity and relatability by addressing young readers directly. “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” is an essential resource for high school students seeking to understand the roots of racism, identify current manifestations of prejudice, and engage in antiracist thought.


Incorporating these books into your classroom will provide students with diverse perspectives on African-American history and a greater appreciation for the perseverance, courage, and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s past. By engaging with these narratives, students will become more informed citizens better equipped to contribute to a more just society.

30 Great Scholarships for Black Students


In today’s competitive world, higher education is crucial for personal and professional advancement. However, the cost of college can be a significant burden for black students and their families. To overcome financial barriers, many organizations offer generous scholarships for black students to help them reach their goals. Here are 30 great scholarships exclusively designed to provide financial assistance to passionate and deserving black students.

1. Ron Brown Scholar Program

2. United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Scholarships

3. National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) Scholarships

4. Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship

5. Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarships

6. Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Scholarship

7. Tom Joyner Foundation Scholarships

8. NAACP Scholarships

9. Arthur Lockhart Resource Institute Scholarships

10. Earl G. Graves Legacy Foundation Scholarship

11. National Black Nurses Association Scholarships

12. Black Women in Sisterhood for Action (BISA) Scholarships

13. National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Scholarships

14. Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) Scholarship

15 Spike Lee’s Malcolm X Scholarship for Exceptional Courage

16 Mary Church Terrell Educational Fund Scholarship

17 The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation Academic Achievement Award

18 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Millennium Scholars Program

19 Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) Scholarships

20 National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) Scholarship Program

21 Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Award

22 National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs Inc.(NANBPWC) National Scholarship

23 Charles Rangel International Affairs Fellowship

24 Jesse Jackson Fellows-Toyota Scholarship Fund

25 Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship Program

26 Coca-Cola Scholars Program for African-American Students

27 Reginald F. Lewis Scholarship Fund

28 Major Samuel Woodfill Chapter’s Outstanding ROTC Cadet Scholarship

29 African American Network of the Carolinas Scholarships

30 Actuarial Diversity Scholarship


These scholarships can help offset the rising costs of college and ensure that black students have better access to quality education. While these are just a few examples, many more scholarships and financial aid opportunities are available for black students, both nationwide and within specific communities or fields of study. It is crucial for diligent students to research all available options and apply for financial assistance programs to shape a brighter future.

How Should Schools Acknowledge Black History Month?


As Black History Month approaches, educational institutions should consider how they can effectively acknowledge and celebrate this important time. By actively engaging students in the learning process and emphasizing the significance of Black history, schools can create an inclusive environment that fosters deeper understanding and appreciation for various cultures and backgrounds.

1. Curriculum Integration

Educators should make a concerted effort to infuse Black history into the curriculum throughout the entire year, but especially during Black History Month. This can be done through lesson plans, readings, projects, and assignments that highlight the accomplishments of Black individuals in various fields such as literature, science, sports, and politics. By incorporating these stories into the classroom, students can gain a broader perspective on historical events and their impact on contemporary society.

2. Guest Speakers & Performances

Schools can invite guest speakers or host performances that showcase diverse aspects of Black culture. This could include local community leaders, authors, artists, activists, or performers willing to share their experiences and talents with students. Hearing firsthand accounts can provide students with valuable insight into the struggles and successes of those who have overcome obstacles in their lives due to racial prejudice.

3. Historical Field Trips

A great way to engage students during Black History Month is by organizing field trips to locations of historical significance. Visits to museums or local cultural institutions dedicated to preserving African American history can spark curiosity and encourage further exploration into the past. This hands-on experience can help bring lessons learned in class to life.

4. Classroom Discussions & Debates

Facilitating open discussions around race and its impact on society not only promotes critical thinking but also fosters empathy among students. Focusing on different facets such as achievement gaps, systemic racism, or historical injustices will encourage learners to actively participate in meaningful conversations.

5. Film Screenings & Book Clubs

Choose thought-provoking films or novels that deal with issues related to race and social justice as part of a Black History Month program. Book clubs or film screenings followed by meaningful discussions can inspire students to critically examine their own beliefs and challenge stereotypes that perpetuate inequality within society.

6. Collaborative Projects & Competitions

Students can work together on projects that celebrate Black history by creating artwork, writing essays, or participating in various competitions focused on researching influential figures from the past. Schools can also display these projects or host an exhibition at the end of the month to showcase students’ accomplishments.


Schools have a responsibility to educate their students on the importance of all aspects of history, including Black history. By providing opportunities for exploration and discussion during Black History Month, educators can ensure that students gain an appreciation for the contributions made by African Americans throughout history while fostering inclusivity and mutual respect within the school community.

Are Boys of Color Being Set Up to Fail By Schools?

The educational system in the United States has long been criticized for not providing equal opportunities to boys of color. It is no secret that Black and Latino boys are more likely to underperform, drop out of school, and be suspended or expelled than their peers. This raises the question: are these boys being set up to fail by schools?

The answer is not straightforward, but a mix of factors can contribute to this issue. For example, the disproportionate discipline of boys of color has been linked to implicit biases held by teachers and administrators. These biases often result in harsher punishment for minor infractions, leading to a school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately affects Black and brown boys.

However, implicit biases are not the only contributing factor. Schools that serve majority Black and Latino populations are often underfunded and understaffed, leading to overcrowded classrooms and inexperienced teachers. These conditions make it difficult for boys of color to receive quality education and personalized attention, leading to lower academic outcomes and decreased motivation to stay in school.

Moreover, standardized testing is often used as the primary measure of academic success, leaving no room for alternative measures of success that may resonate more with boys of color. For example, research has shown that Black and Latino boys are more likely to be interested in hands-on learning experiences and career and technical education. However, these programs are often overlooked in favor of traditional academic tracks.

Many educators and advocates have called for systemic changes to address the issues facing boys of color in schools. These changes include increasing diversity in teaching staff, providing cultural competency training to educators, increasing funding for schools that serve Black and Latino students, and expanding alternative educational programs.

In conclusion, boys of color are not being set up to fail by schools intentionally. However, the inherent biases and structural issues within the educational system contribute to this outcome. It is crucial to address these issues to ensure that all students, regardless of race or ethnicity, have access to quality education and the opportunity to succeed. 

7 Ways That Black Students are Discriminated Against in U.S K-12 Schools

African Africans have a long history of being mistreated in the United States, starting with slavery. It should come as no surprise that their children face the same treatment in U.S. K-12 public and private schools. How? Keep reading. In this piece, I will briefly list 7 ways that black students are discriminated against in U.S. schools.

  1. Black students are less likely to be identified as gifted. Because current gifted assessments were created for the prototypical white student, they discriminate against black children by giving them inequitable representation in the program. This increases the achievement gap, as gifted programs allow students an opportunity to increase their aptitude and intelligence, which gives them a greater chance of being successful later on in life.
  2. Black students are more likely to receive a substandard education. Blacks students are more likely than any other student group to attend schools that are made up of unqualified teachers, administrators and have limited resources. As a consequence, black students are more likely to experience academic failure and drop out of school.
  3. Black students are less likely to have access to technology and Wi-Fi. Even with the proliferation of technology, many black families below the poverty line cannot afford to purchase it. This puts their child at a disadvantage because even if they are issued tech devices by their schools, the absence of Wi-Fi at home prevents them from completing homework and other assignments. Thankfully forward-thinking school districts are counteracting this by parking buses with Wi-Fi in areas where they know student lack access to the internet.
  4. Bias against black students starts in early childhood. Although Black preschoolers represent only 18% of the early childhood population, they comprise 42% of pupils who have been suspended and about half of the preschoolers who were suspended multiple times.
  5. Black girls are disciplined more severely. Black female students are a whopping 5.5 times more likely to be suspended from school, and an unbelievable 6.1 times more likely to be expelled, than their white gender counterparts. They are also 2.5 times more likely to be expelled and denied access to educational services for the duration of their expulsion.
  6. Black students are more likely to be suspended from school. Black students in K-12 schools are overrepresented when it comes to school discipline rates, specifically, expulsions and suspensions. This is particularly troubling, as black students make up only about 15.5% of all public-school students, but they represent about 39% of pupils who are suspended from U.S. schools.
  7. Black students are overrepresented in the school to prison pipeline. When schools don’t provide students with the support and resources that they need to succeed academically, they become disenchanted with the public school system and more often than not, drop out of school. No surprise that most of these students are black. Without a high school diploma and with the omnipresence of racism, many of these students have a hard time finding gainful employment. If they do, they quickly find out that the money that they make is not enough to sustain them. Disenchanted, many of them will turn to the criminal lifestyle, hoping to make enough money to support themselves. More often then not, they end up going to prison, get out, and end up going back.

Sad commentary. How can we as educators end the rampant discrimination that black students in U.S. schools face?

The Edvocate Podcast, Episode 6: 8 Ways That Digital Age Teachers Avoid Burning Out

Being a teacher is a tough job. So much so, many new teachers end up leaving the field within their first three years. To ensure that the next generation of students have qualified teachers, we must nip this phenomenon in the bud. In this episode, we will discuss 8 ways that digital age teachers avoid burning out.