This is one of my favorite Black History Month activities for kindergarten, although we actually begin in January for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In lower elementary, it can be difficult to find resources that don’t “cutesify” Black history. I have found that this Black History Month project is just right for our littlest learners.
Full disclosure, this was NOT my original idea! When I first began teaching, my co-teachers did this Black History Month activity. Over the years, I have tweaked it to work best for my class.
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What Is a Hero?
We begin by discussing the question, “What is a hero?” I’m sure you can imagine some of the answers we get in Kindergarten!
“They have a cape and fly!”
“Heroes fight bad guys and save the day!”
I let students get all of their misconceptions out. Then, I tell students, “You did a great job describing SUPERheroes to me! But did you know that regular people just like you and me can be heroes too? We are going to learn about some of them.”
We begin this Black History Month project with this anchor chart completely blank:
The anchor chart didn’t get filled out until the very end of our project.
Black History Month Books for Kindergarten
In our class, we focused on one person each day. You can spread that out, focus on more people, less people – whatever works best for your class!
We usually learn about Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Bridges, and Rosa Parks, but there are some amazing books and resources out there about people who don’t usually get the focus.
I always like to start with a book about the person. The “I Am” books were some of my absolute favorites, but here is a list of Black History books you could use:
- The Story of Ruby Bridges
- I Am Martin Luther Kind Jr.
- Martin’s Big Words
- I Am Jackie Robinson
- Mae Among the Stars
- Mae Jemison
- I Am Harriet Tubman
- George Washington Carver
- Salt In His Shoes
- I Am Rosa Parks
- The Youngest Marcher
We read the book together and then I have students turn and talk to discuss the question, “Why was this person a hero?”
Black History Month Writing for Kindergarten
After we read the book and discuss, students complete a writing page about why that person was a hero.
Does this writing get as deep as maybe we’d hope? Nope! It’s kindergarten and hopefully this discussion will continue for years to come. The most important part to me is the discussion before this.
Here are some examples:
Martin Luther King Jr. – “He was a hero because he used words to change things.”
Jack Robinson – “He was a hero because he changed the game.”
Ruby Bridges – “She was a hero because she helped change the world.”
How Can I Be a Hero? Kindergarten Black History Month Activities
After we learn about all of our heroes, I pose the question, “How can we be heroes too?” After all, these Black heroes were regular people just like us. They were scared, they weren’t perfect, but they helped change the world. How can we help make the world a better place?
We discuss as a class and write down their answers on the board.
Now remember, this is Kindergarten. Their answers are on a KINDERGARTEN level, which is totally okay! I would love to see this project get repeated in upper grades to see how their answers change.
Here are some examples of how they would change the world:
“I can be a hero too by helping people.”
“I can be a hero too by helping people who fall down.”
Some other answers were: using words to tell people when they are being mean, doing the right thing even when i’m scared, helping people who are hurt, and doing the right thing.
When we were completely finished, we made these into books to hang up in the hallway:
Are you wanting to do this project with your class? I made these books editable for you so you can type in each person’s name at the top.