Black History Month - teach something new

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Guitart, Feb 2, 2018.

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  1. Guitart

    Guitart Companion

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    My oldest foster son is biracial. He came home from hs one day needing to do a report on a person for bhm. He was looking up MLK on his iPad. I told him why not learn about some other famous African Americans rather than handing the teacher her 1000th copy of another MLK paper. Teach her something.

    I introduced my son to Jimi Hendrix, Joe Louis, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

    He has surprised to find out that Hendrix the guitar rock icon served as a paratrooper in the Army airborne. He was also surprised that Louis had a special, close friendship with Max Schmelling, his German heavyweight rival during Hitler's rule. He learned that Basquiat is credited for legitimizing urban street art and was close friends with Andy Warhol.

    We enjoyed a Joe Louis and Max Schmelling movie together while he wrote his report on Louis. I was proud that he accepted my advice to dig deeper and think outside of the box.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    What a great idea!
     
  4. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Yeah! Give them a list of familiar names they can't look up. :D Love the idea of discovering someone new!
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Love it!

    MLK was a good guy, of course, but this gets one exploring others.
     
  6. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    I would have suggested Morgan Freeman, who thinks that black history month is a crock. He might have black skin, but he believes that skin color does not define who he is, which is why he has managed to take on roles that were originally written for white men (Red in the Shawshank Redemption) and even God (Bruce Almighty).

    If you need a special month to celebrate the color of your skin, you have more issues than a magazine.
     
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  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Actually, @Belch gave me an idea.
    -Have the students research why Black History Month is necessary and significant.
    -Make a Poster about the significance behind Black History Month.
    -Research Prompt: What is the significance behind Black History Month? Why it is necessary?
    -In addition, students should be given some instruction on the history and evolution of the race.
    Additional Option
    -Explore Music and Art from the Harlem Renaissance Period.
    -Learn about African Americans musicians and make a poster about them. Students could also play instruments those musicians played.
    Connection to ELA
    -Have students research Maya Angelou and read poems written by Maya Angelou.
     
  9. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Feb 4, 2018

    Good idea, teacher234. Add in Langston Hughes and Phillis Wheatley. Poor Phillis always gets passed over, even though she's significant as one of the first American writers period, completely aside from her race or gender.
     
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  10. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    I like your research prompt, although I would personally leave the inherent bias of "necessary" out, and replace it with arguments both pro and con, along with a conclusion/opinion based upon those arguments. However, that's my own teaching style which is based more on the socratic than the didactic method.

    If I were your student, I would love this assignment. There are pluses to the idea of honoring particular groups who have positively contributed to the human condition.

    and because I'm a contrarian, I would make a poster based upon the time Harriet Beecher Stowe met Abraham Lincoln where Abe said to her "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war."

    Can't leave the abolitionists out of such a momentous time in the history of your country, as they are a vital part of the group that helped end government sanctioned formal slavery in the western world.

    Maybe even a blurb about the 110,000 union lives lost attempting to achieve that lofty goal?

    and then ending with your government sanctioned "Black History Month" which I think is a racist pile of manure that nobody needs to teach to anybody. Stop thinking along racial lines, and the sooner you get from black history month to a general appreciation for the advances that people have made, regardless of skin color, the sooner you achieve the goal of MLK's dream of "we cannot walk alone", and "all men are created equal" and "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

    or you can have black history month...
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
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  11. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    Is this your idea of a rebuttal?
     
  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I agree.
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    The irony is that MLK said he wished that all people would be judged on the content of their character and not their skin color. That seems to be the only that racebaiters talk about - Black people and their blackness. It’s always “people of color this” and “people of color that.” Good grief.
     
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  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You are right to call me out on it, and I apologize.
     
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  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Morgan Freeman? Let's quote him accurately and in context (see http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0512/19/sbt.01.html):

    As Freeman says, "You're going to relegate my history to a month?" And a short month, at that. To infer from this interview that Freeman believes that black history itself should continue to be swept under a white rug is the height of absurdity - and hubris.
     
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  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    The other poster did not say that Black history should be “swept under a white rug;” rather, he said that it shouldn’t be delegated to any one month. And White history is not every other month either. Celebrating one person or two persons a month who happen to be White is not White history, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Returning to the topic and intent of the thread's originator, let me point out https://schweizercomics.tumblr.com/post/109986050791/black-history-month-2017-note-hey-guys-with, complete with a link to a poster that's free for the downloading. I knew about Josephine Baker and am grateful to relearn of Eugene Bullard (who, like many pilots, flew for the French early in World War; once the US entered the war, he was recruited to join the Army Air Corps - until it was discovered that he was black, at which point the invitation was rescinded). I also enjoyed learning about the redoubtable Yasuke, the first non-Japanese samurai, and Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, who rose from the rank of private to general in Napoleon's army by the time he was 31 and was also the father of Alexandre Dumas père.
     
  18. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Feb 6, 2018

    BLK History Month
    BY NIKKI GIOVANNI
    If Black History Month is not
    viable then wind does not
    carry the seeds and drop them
    on fertile ground
    rain does not
    dampen the land
    and encourage the seeds
    to root
    sun does not
    warm the earth
    and kiss the seedlings
    and tell them plain:
    You’re As Good As Anybody Else
    You’ve Got A Place Here, Too
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Belch, are you American?
     
  20. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Basquiat! Thanks for a great reminder of a Haitian-American artist most teenagers (people?) have never heard of.
     
  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I think he works as a teacher in Japan, if I remember correctly.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Right, but my question is whether he is American.
     
  23. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Whoops, haha! I thought you asked if he is an American teacher. Lol.
     
  24. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    Yes, that's what I am. I don't think personalia is important, which is why I don't want to go into more detail. Yes, I do teach in Japan, which I'm already regretting admitting to.

    I offer my opinions and arguments, and that should be enough.

    Let's just say that I know Americans enough to know that they're more than happy to delve into irrelevancies once logic is no longer a friend to their argument.
     
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  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    You're not obligated to divulge any information, obviously. My question isn't irrelevant, though. Race issues in America are unique, and our backgrounds impact our perceptions of those issues.
     
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  26. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I’m curious, what do you mean by unique race issues?
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Race, racial identity, race relations, social definitions and implications of race, and the politics of race in America are different from those things elsewhere. Race is tied to America's history and its present in a way that doesn't seem to exist elsewhere.

    For me personally, I value the opinions of Americans on race as an American issue more than the opinions of non-Americans whose experiences are not American. To me, a non-American describing race issues in another country is irrelevant to discussions about race in America, because race as a thing in other countries is so different from race in America. By this I do not mean that other countries do not experience their own issues or challenges or problems related to race, or that non-Americans are not entitled to their own opinions about race. I just mean that people in those other countries do not, cannot, experience race in the same way as it exists in America.
     
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  28. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    You’ve made some very valid points. However, just because someone does not work with American students or is not an American, it doesn’t necessarily negate what they said or mean that they can’t give relevant thought-based opinions and perspectives on race issues in American schools. For example, educational policy makers here in the United States oftentimes look at successful systems used in other countries for inspiration. The same can be said for many other aspects for public schools.
     
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  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    To me it's an issue of disclosure and credibility. In order to assess a source's credibility, the source should be vetted.
     
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  30. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    The thing is, the US has an arguably unique level of diversity not often seen elsewhere in the world. Race issues come with the territory. More homogenous countries don't really deal with it at the same extent.
     
  31. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    This is fair. Someone who doesn’t work in American schools may not have to deal with the exact same issues and so their contributions to the discussion may not always be applicable, but @Belch does offer sensible advice, at least in my opinion.
     
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  32. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Belch also likes to stir the pot. I'm guilty of that myself sometimes too though.
     
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  33. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    My school has an announcement every morning for BHM with a famous black person and a description of their contribution. In Civics, they're doing a project about a famous black person and I think the students are choosing unique people which is nice!
     
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  34. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    You're looking to attack the source's credibility, which is an obvious ad hominem fallacy.

    I am not offering any first hand accounts as premises to my argument, so you are only given logic to deal with.

    Take it or leave it.

    I live in Japan, but I have no idea what goes on in Japan, let alone my own neighborhood. I know the name of the river that runs through my village, but does that give me any credibility when it comes to talking about what goes on in my neighborhood? No! Honestly, I really have no clue what goes on in my neighborhood.

    However, you think that your residence in the USA gives you some credibility when it comes to what goes on in the rest of your country? Does being a teacher give you some credibility when it comes to what goes on in my classroom?

    I don't think so.
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I’m not looking to attack anyone or anything. You seem a little defensive.

    [​IMG]
     
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  36. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    You just said that you are looking to "assess a source's credibility".

    Think of me as one of your students, if that helps any. How would you respond to a student who responded as I did? No credibility. Just a student who doesn't know dog poo from shinola.

    Would you ask your student "do you know anything about the American black experience?" Ahh... okay, you're Bob from a white family in a white suburb! You know nothing about being black in America!

    Next!!!!
     
  37. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    Those students who stir the pot are, by far, my favorite students. Getting them to push back is the goal because that means they are thinking, rather than just taking notes.
     
  38. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Huh: so you, a teacher, insist that your dicta be judged by standards no stringent than those that apply to the pronouncements of, say, a sixteen-year-old? Fascinating.
     
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  39. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I am with Belch on this one. Some posters on here — not all — tend to respond to posts that conflict with their style of thinking or worldview by being overtly dismissive and not even providing a legitimate rebuttal. (BTW, I’m NOT targeting any one poster.) For example, “I’m not even going to go there,” or “Whatever” or some other sophomoric response. I, myself, offer valid rebuttals to other posters even when they say something that is completely outlandish, nonsensical, or that I completely disagree with.

    Also, we need more objectivity and less subjectivitity, IMO, though being subjective is necessary at times. To clarify, we need more evidence and logical reasoning and less “because my feelings.” Reality is independent of people’s feelings.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m confused why teachers, who are disseminaters of facts and truth, would use other tools to present their case. If a teacher would not accept that kind of response from one of their students, then the teacher should not respond in that way, either. It sets a bad precedent, wouldn’t you say?
     
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  40. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    From a poem a student wrote for my class, today incidentally:

    "and the person goes home
    and cries
    their tears falling softly on their pillow...
    and waits
    waits for their story to be told
    and waits to see someone like them."
     
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  41. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    That's stunning!
     
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