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Thoughtful Learning

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We deliver innovative K-12 teaching strategies to your inbox twice a month. You’ll find a wealth of practical resources on writing, thinking, and learning—brought to you by the creators of the Write Source handbooks. Happy reading!

Celebrating Black History

4 Writing Activities for Celebrating Black History

Inspire your students to explore black history and culture through writing. Present any of these engaging writing prompts in your middle school or high school classroom during Black History Month or beyond. Each activity requires students to inquire about the people, places, events, and issues that have shaped African-American history.

Writing a Historical Dialogue

Mae Jemison

Ask your students to imagine what a conversation would be like between them and a significant African-American contributor to social studies, science, math, or English. What would they ask? What would they want to know?

Present them with the following lists of famous figures and encourage them to choose a person they don't know much about. Then have them research the figure and create a dialogue (written conversation) between themselves and the person. The dialogue should discuss important experiences in the person’s life and work. . . .

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Featured Student Model: "Rosa Parks"

Mae Jemison

Are you planning to do any biographical writing for Black History Month? Share this historical profile of Rosa Parks with your students as an exemplary model. Rather than simply listing the facts of Rosa Parks’ life, this student writer uses anecdotes, observations, and analysis to present the story of Rosa Parks in an active, lively manner.

Rosa Parks

At their Web site, students from Lincoln Bassett Community School answer the question “Who is Rosa Parks?”

  • I think Rosa Parks was a woman who stood up for what she believed in. —Brittney Hammett
  • She was a woman who had the guts to stand up for what she believed. —Jessie Alexander

Several other students also answered the question, responding with phrases like “my hero” and “queen mother of the revolution.”

Rosa Parks is often considered as just these things, remembered as the tired seamstress who refused to give up a bus seat to a white man in 1955. Parks, however, was—and still is—much more than that.

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Celebrating Presidents' Day in the Primary Grades

Mount Rushmore

This Presidents' Day, awaken your students' interest in the past! Help young learners delve into U.S. history by using these exciting activities in your primary classroom.

Presidential Quotes

Start out the month of February with 10 presidential quotes. Put these quotes on display in your classroom and share one a day. You'll be surprised how many have relevancy in your young learners’ lives. On Presidents' Day, have students choose their favorite quote and write what it means to them.

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New for 2016:
Writers Express Student Handbook!

Write on Track

The 2016 version of Writers Express is now available! This engaging student handbook overflows with support for 4th and 5th grade writers. It includes writing guidelines, models, checklists, and much more. The 2016 edition aligns with the new standards, teaching close-reading and on-demand writing strategies. Learn more!

And don't forget to check out the FREE digital teacher's guide.

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"Mae Jemison" by NASA - http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/ABSTRACTS/GPN-2004-00020.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mae_Jemison.jpg#/media/File:Mae_Jemison.jpg - See more at: https://k12.thoughtfullearning.com/blogpost/4-writing-activities-celebrating-black-history#sthash.klg14Zp3.dpuf

"Rosaparks" by Unknown - USIA / National Archives and Records Administration Records of the U.S. Information Agency Record Group 306. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rosaparks.jpg#/media/File:Rosaparks.jpg