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Being Open-minded This Black History Month

Updated: Feb 16

As we begin February, it was very important to recognize what this month celebrates: Black History. To integrate this essential month into our focus theme, Exploration, we started our first February lesson introducing the different elements of Black History such as the arts, important figures, fun facts, and the significance of this annual observance and why it is celebrated. The students began working with a Nearpod that would introduce broad aspects of Black History Month.

In reflecting over our learning, we held discussions to describe why this month was established and why it is important to recognize Black History Month. To share what we learned, the students created short clips of the information they found to be most interesting or cool. Check out their videos below!

Diving into our first focus concept of February, we learned about the trait open-mindedness. We opened our lesson by listening to different types of music around the world, music from the past and current music today. We held discussions over the similarities and differences between the different types of music we listened to, and discussed which country's music we found interesting or really liked.

We conducted these conversations with different foods around the world and the students explained which country's food they would be open-minded to eating.

Our K-3 students also watched a read-aloud of I Will Never Ever Eat Tomatoes detailing the story of a picky eater whose sister encouraged her to become open-minded by describing food in magical and fun ways. The students and I discussed the ways in which we would describe foods, that many children may not "enjoy", in a way that would make it appealing to encourage others to try it.

We ended our lesson talking about the opposite attribute of open-mindedness: close-mindedness. Using our context clues and the conversations we held regarding open-mindedness, the students were able to conceptualize and define close-mindedness, elaborating that it is more beneficial be open-minded as it makes others feel welcomed and accepted regardless of all our differences. The students categorized different scenarios as either open-minded or close-minded, wrapping up our lesson for the week.

To tie everything in with Black History Month, our central question was: How can we exhibit open-mindedness during Black History Month? One of my favorite responses was "When we learn about hard things that happened in the past, it's important to have an open mind so we can learn." This response really encapsulates how important it is to be open-minded because as we continue to learn new topics, even the difficult ones, we must be willing to look at other perspectives and understand them regardless of our own. Only then can real learning be cultivated.

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