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Planning Through the Lens of the Black Historical Consciousness Principles: Africa and the African Diaspora

In teaching African American studies—specifically, content centered around the concept of Africa and the African diaspora, Dr. LaGarrett King of the Carter Center for K–12 Black history education at the University of Missouri, asserts that Black history did not begin with enslavement and that in order to understand Africa and its people, its descendants, we have to acknowledge and be open to exploring the similarities and differences of Black histories and cultures from a global perspective.

Planning Through the Lens of the Black Historical Consciousness Principles: Black Agency, Resistance, and Perseverance

In his article “Black History Is Not American History,” which focuses on teaching Black history from a Black historical consciousness approach, Dr. LaGarrett King defines his second theme, Black agency, resistance ,and perseverance, as “Black histories that explain that although Black people have been victimized, they were not helpless victims.” This theme highlights ways that Black people have actively resisted oppression, both independently and collectively.

Planning Through the Lens of the Black Historical Consciousness Principles: Power and Oppression

The study of Black history (and ethnic studies more broadly) is rooted in a critical consciousness. Cultivating a “critical consciousness” in teachers and students is important in the development and delivering of ethnic-studies-based course material and lessons. Critical consciousness can be defined as “the ability to recognize and analyze systems of inequality and the commitment to take action against these systems.”

According to Paulo Freire (author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed), developing such consciousness is “what allows people to act—or in this instance, teach—for the humanization of society.” The Black historical consciousness principles help both students and teachers develop a critical consciousness applied to Black history, past and present.

The Roaring 1920s: Was Every Woman a Flapper?

February 2, 2022 By Cynthia Resor

Flappers from the 1920s are described as young women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, and danced, smoked, drank illegal alcohol, and partied throughout the Roaring Twenties. These brief descriptions in history curriculum materials paint a one-sided picture of how changes in fashion and behavior are outward signs of a much longer and more interesting story of social change.

Iconography and Culture: Using Monuments and Memorials to Teach Elementary Social Studies

December 29, 2021 By Kay Gandy

In most communities, memorials, plaques, historical markers, and monuments are erected to record significant events or honor heroes and heroines.

How to Teach the Mayan Culture Using Essential Questions

December 23, 2021 By Kay Gandy

The Maya were one of the most dominant societies in Mesoamerica, settling throughout Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and the Yucatán. They excelled at astronomy, calendar systems, hieroglyphic writing, and mathematics. They were also skilled farmers, weavers, and potters.

The golden age of the Maya empire began around A.D. 250 and grew to some forty cities. The Maya made paper from tree bark, wrote books, created a ball game, developed the concept of zero, predicted eclipses of the sun and moon, and invented rubberized rain clothing. The study of this civilization would enhance any social studies class. 

Learning from the Salem Witch Trials: Polarization, Fear, and Reconciliation

November 2, 2021 By Kevin O'Reilly

Feeling overwhelmed by the polarization and bitterness in our society today? The Salem Witch Hysteria of 1692 offers historical perspective on the divisions in America in 2021, but it also suggests ideas for reconciliation.

10 Hispanic Americans to Celebrate and Teach this Month

October 6, 2021 By Monet Hendricks

September 15th marks National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is a time to celebrate the culture and recognize specific achievements throughout history.

Twenty Years Later: Teaching September 11th

September 9, 2021 By Monet Hendricks

The twentieth anniversary of September 11, 2001, is this year, and although it is a sensitive topic to teach, coming together as a class to commemorate the event can lead to profound learning and impactful lessons in unity and empathy. Because September 11 is lived history, meaning that many educators today lived through the events and may have even lost family or friends to the tragedy, it requires immense consideration and responsibility to teach the topic to today’s youth.

Teaching Cajun and Creole Culture through Folktales

June 3, 2021 By Kay Gandy

There is a direct relationship between culture and folktales. The tales reflect the everyday life of a people. Creole and Cajun tales have been passed down orally for many generations, but some have been collected and published. Both Cajun and Creole people in Louisiana have stories which can be used in the classroom to develop an awareness and understanding of their respective cultures.