The night he won the election I was in complete shock. Yes it was great that we finally had a president that was about doing something for "the people". But it was also personal for me. I was ecstatic and I was proud to see that an African American man, one who would have been denied the right to vote less than 50 years ago, was now going to be the leader of our country. I felt like major progress had been made. Despite the many struggles we still face to become a more unified nation, I felt like that moment was as powerful as the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation (signed by who.....President Abraham Lincoln).
With that in mind, I feel compelled to integrate the celebration of Black History Month with the acknowledgement of the upcoming holiday, Presidents' Day. How can you not tie the two together? It is the perfect marriage of struggle, hope, strength, perseverance, education, and PROGRESS. It doesn't mean that I don't highlight the other presidents and their accomplishments.....but like Black History, American history is taught year round. Since January we have been studying the US Constitution and how it is the law of the land. We have also discussed how equality/liberty/justice for all was not given, it had to be fought for. We've learned about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. We've also talked about why the Civil Rights Movement was necessary 100 years later. My students are currently learning about how life was in the 60's (segregation laws, injust treatment, and harsh living conditions for many African Americans). This is necessary. It is necessary for them to understand how far America has come so that they can fully appreciate things that are said to them about hard work and success. Also, so they have a stronger understanding of the importance of education and purpose.
So, here is an activity that my students are working on this week. It is a follow-up activity to the story Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Children of Hope. It requires them to read about the childhood of President Obama and make connections, ask questions, and write a friendly letter. We've been talking about the roles and responsibilities of presidents and what they have to do to qualify for the position. By reading about the childhood of President Obama, students get to see that he was once a young boy that has gone through some of the things they may be going through now. They will see him as a person and not a super hero, and it will plant the seed that they too could become president if they wanted to. I love this book! My students are enjoying it as well : ) Please download this activity and feel free to share your thoughts below. I look forward to reading your comments!
Enjoy : )