Taking a walk through Black history
Posted on 02/26/2021

Schools throughout the district celebrated Black History Month through movies, music, visual arts, dramatic interpretations, writing, reading and research.

In preparation for Black History Month, Spring Lake Elementary School chose the theme, “I did it first.” The Culture and Climate Committee created a list of Black Americans who were the first to accomplish something historic. 

From the traditional icons, like Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson and Toni Morrison to more contemporary, like Vice President Kamala Harris and actor Jeremy Pope, a Timber Creek High School graduate, there were a wide range of prominent harbingers for students to explore. 

Not only did students create written or artistic work samples to showcase their comprehension of the subject, they also utilized technology to add interactive components to their displays. For example, kindergarten learned about Alma Thomas, an “Expressionist” artist and teacher. Then they created their own Thomas inspired works of art to display. Those alone were stunning, but that was not all. Scanning a QR code, students could see a video of another student making the art. 

Here’s an example of the kindergarten display board. One of the QR codes linked to this Alma Thomas inspired student artist.

Banner of Alma Thomas with art sample  student artwork like Alma Thomas' taped to a wall

Another class learned about Jacob Lawrence, a painter known for his “dynamic cubism,” and then created their Lawrence inspired masterpieces. A QR code linked to this video of a student painting.

Banner of Jacob Lawrence with artwork sample  
student interpretations of Lawrence artwork taped to a wall

As students systematically toured the school hallways, they not only saw student work samples. But they could hear Nat King Cole’s music, an interview with Julie Dash, audio of Jackie Robinson’s life, and so much more.

"The use of technology was key. Our school has grown so much with technology this year, because we had to, so we decided to use what we learned to infuse some interest into the tour. The technology really did enhance the tour and what students were able to learn from the display," Patty Harrelson, Spring Lake ES principal, said.

Like Spring Lake ES, Corner Lakes MS also included contemporary figures in their lessons. Art teacher Justin Gustafson introduced the students to collage artist Judy Bowman.  Here are samples of student interpretations: Eric Kitt, Sunday Church; Thomas White, Dress Party with Confetti; Kylie Taylor, Earrings; and Gabriella Cruz, Untitled. 

collage art of three girls on a church bench  collage art of girl with confetti dress  collage art of girl with large earrings  collage art of girl with curly hair

In addition to classroom lessons, schools also had a variety of dress up days. Check out these photos from Edgewater HS' spirit week.