OPE first-graders celebrate Black History Month


The first-graders in Neeti Gregg’s class at Ocean Palms Elementary celebrated Black History Month last month with a variety of lessons, activities and research. Under the direction of Gregg and student intern Kelsey Duerr, students learned about famous black Americans, including Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks, former slave and leader for the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman and Ruby Bridges, the first black student who enrolled in an all-white school. Students were engaged with discussions, books, videos and even teacher-driven debates about civil rights.

The grand finale for the unit was for each child to complete independent research on a significant figure from Black History. Each child was shown how to safely search the internet to locate and review information and find key information through biography books. Students were asked to work at home to decorate a bag that would represent their selected individual and fill the bag with four to five items that could serve as artifacts that describe attributes that they have learned about their person.

All students presented their projects to the class and with the items in their bags taught their classmates the highlights of what they learned. For example, if one was doing a bag report on Rosa Parks, who was known for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus so a white person could have her seat, then a toy bus in the bag might spark that conversation during the oral report.

“I love teaching this unit,” said Gregg. “This final project is a great way for students to have fun as they learn.” When Belle Peterson was asked what she liked about this project she said, “I liked learning about my person on the internet. It was so much fun and I felt like I was the teacher when I got to share my report.”