English teacher incorporating black history into lesson plan
McKeesport Area English teacher Bonnie Butler believes the lessons of Black History Month can shape students' understanding of the world in which they live.
In each of her course levels, Butler is incorporating African-American history lessons so that students may grasp the significance of the Civil Rights Movement.
"It builds background knowledge," Butler said. "And it informs students on what moved America toward civil rights for all people."
Students read and analyzed the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., likely the most prominent figure of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
Sophomore Sade Fletcher said her classmates are familiar with King's work and his role, but they were excited to learn about people they didn't recognize.
Students researched individuals such as Emmet Till, a 14-year-old boy murdered in 1955, whose public funeral drew attention from across the nation to Mississippi's lack of equality and civil rights for blacks; Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice to serve as an associate of the U.S. Supreme Court; and Oliver L. Brown, a parent for whom the Brown vs. the Board of Education landmark Supreme Court ruling against school segregation is named.
"I knew who they were," Sade said. "But I didn't know everything they did."
Sophomore William Gadson said the lessons impacted his awareness and his mindset as a young African American in today's society.
"I can look at these people and the roles they played, and I see what happened to let me be where I am today," William said.
William said he enjoyed the Microsoft PowerPoint presentations by his classmates because they were informative and eye-opening.
"After a while, you become interested in learning more and more things that you didn't know," he said. "You learn a little bit from your own project, and you hear what (classmates) are learning. We are finding out what happened in America."
Butler said its important to incorporate Black History Month lessons annually.
"As we move further away from the people and the time that shaped the Civil Rights Movement, we are losing the understanding of their injustice," Butler said.
"Today's students don't know much about many of the people who helped to move our country forward."
By researching individuals and the actions they took, Butler said, students are able to empathize with historical figures. They also are communicating with each other about their thoughts on history.
"If they don't have that experience now," Butler asked, "when will they get it?"
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Penguins not mortgaging future
- Consumer spending dinged by declining gas prices
- No tag for Worilds; Steelers cut Moore
- Tribune-Review poll: Cable news rises as network news falls
- Inmate care in Allegheny County Jail generates worries
- Penguins GM Rutherford not counting on Dupuis’ return
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- Rangers up ante in Metropolitan Division with trade acquisitions
- Next Google Maps adventure: Amazon jungle zipline
- Construction picks up, but workers hard to find
- Lumber Liquidators shares plunge 25%