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Mrs. Haney’s Classroom Edit display name

  • Elmwood Elementary School
  • Lansing, MI
  • More than three‑quarters of students from low‑income households

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We will spend Black History Month taking a journey through some of the best pictures books written or illustrated by African Americans in 2017. I am asking for 6 copies of every book so each student can hold these beautiful treasures in their hand while we try to determine which of these eight texts is the best of them all! We will be holding our own mock Coretta Scott King Awards! Named for Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., this award recognizes outstanding African American authors and illustrators, and is awarded for books about the African-American experience that are written for a youth audience. We will set these books up on a bracket (think NCAA basketball tournament!). Two books will face off until we are left with our grand champion. Before voting on each pair, students will engage in rich discussion about the message, craft, artwork and any connection they may have to each text. To conclude this project, students will present their favorite title to their homeroom and create a video book recommendation. My students need to see themselves in the books they read. Of the 12 fourth graders I teach, 7 of these students identify as African American. People of color only accounted for 22% of children's book characters in 2016. In fact, just 71 of the 278 books about African-Americans were actually written and/or illustrated by African Americans. These are startling facts. I have made it my mission to diversify my classroom library and expose my students to books representing all humans. This project will bring eight incredible texts into the hands of students who need to find those books that they just can't put down and those characters that remind them of themselves or their best friend.

About my class

We will spend Black History Month taking a journey through some of the best pictures books written or illustrated by African Americans in 2017. I am asking for 6 copies of every book so each student can hold these beautiful treasures in their hand while we try to determine which of these eight texts is the best of them all! We will be holding our own mock Coretta Scott King Awards! Named for Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., this award recognizes outstanding African American authors and illustrators, and is awarded for books about the African-American experience that are written for a youth audience. We will set these books up on a bracket (think NCAA basketball tournament!). Two books will face off until we are left with our grand champion. Before voting on each pair, students will engage in rich discussion about the message, craft, artwork and any connection they may have to each text. To conclude this project, students will present their favorite title to their homeroom and create a video book recommendation. My students need to see themselves in the books they read. Of the 12 fourth graders I teach, 7 of these students identify as African American. People of color only accounted for 22% of children's book characters in 2016. In fact, just 71 of the 278 books about African-Americans were actually written and/or illustrated by African Americans. These are startling facts. I have made it my mission to diversify my classroom library and expose my students to books representing all humans. This project will bring eight incredible texts into the hands of students who need to find those books that they just can't put down and those characters that remind them of themselves or their best friend.

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