Ongoing, with particular emphasis in January-March
See Section 1: Culture, Heritage and History Titles
Martin Luther King, Jr. and His Birthday
African-American heritage is usually introduced as an isolated part of the curriculum during February with the simple highlighting of blacks in American history. I contend that this study can be expanded and tastefully presented during the course of the school year, Kwanzaa as the springboard, followed by the introduction of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his holiday celebration in January. Titles included in Section 1 can be strategically used to create a dynamic language arts Social Studies Unit. To accompany shared readings and journal writing exercises, include hands-on Music, Art and Math Activities. (Note: embracing this type of Social Studies format can be used for the study of any group of people.)
Kokusi Tatari (Coconut Cakes) Via America
Many Black people throughout the world enjoy coconut candy. Whether in Africa, the Caribbean, or the southern and northern portions of the United States, coconut cakes are scrumptiously sweet and delightful! And they're easy to make, and depending upon the portion of the world you are in, take on a different flair. The version presented herein is adapted from Ghana West Africa.
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of water
2 cups of grated coconut
for a true Ghanian flair, include 1 piece (about 2" long) of grated ginger
for a Caribbean flair, add 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts
for a taste of the south, add a 1/4 cup of chopped pecans
Mix sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Stir over moderate heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Cook without stirring until the sugar mixture lightly browns and slightly thickens. Add grated coconut and stir until mixture is thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and allow it to cool until the mixture can be handled.Using an ungreased cookie sheet or aluminum tray, scoop a heaping teaspoon, and shape it into a ball. Continue the process, placing the rounded cakes one inch apart on the sheet. Press lightly to flatten. Let set until completely cooled. This recipe yields 30—save some for me!
"From Whence We Came" Family Album
Children will use interviewing, writing, drawing and/or photography skills to complete this project. (I have effectively used this activity to get parents involved with their children's school work, and they really come through for their youngsters). For a week-long homework assignment, have your students gather information from their family members to establish where their mothers, fathers, and grandparents were born. Children should highlight each family member represented. Note that this will by no means be an in-depth study of the family tree, but it will give students a sense of family (both extended and nuclear) and family origins. Gathered information will be compiled in class into individual works depicting the families of each student, and will be shared in class.
Celebrate A People!
I hope my curriculum unit proves useful and, most importantly, inspires you to investigate and utilize children's picture books that are reflective of our multi-culturally diverse environment!