Connecting current events to the past

Teaching Strategy

“What we most need to impart to our students is the sense that history matters and some idea of how it matters, what it attempts, and what it explains.” – Annette Atkins

Featured Panelists

Mary Ledbetter, Elementary Principal

Natalie Franzi, Elementary Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction

Patrick Harris, 2nd Grade Teacher


Erin Green, 5th Grade Teacher

Celebrating Black Artists 

Newsela Article: Copeland makes history as first black female principal dancer with ABT

Classroom Activity: Connection to Harlem Renaissance

Misty Copeland’s groundbreaking success is especially interesting in the context of other artists in black history. First make sure your students understand the article. You can supplement this with the video below:

Next, have students trace the history of black art back to the Harlem Renaissance. For more information, look at: A Guide to Harlem Renaissance Materials (LOC) 

You can have your students split up into groups to look at several of these important artists that influenced this cultural shift. Artists include: Langston Hughes, William H. Johnson, Duke Ellington, and Maya Angelou.

Lastly, students can complete a Gallery Walk to observe the other celebrated artists.

Additional Resources

Celebrate black history with your students by using current events to get them to look back into the past. This collection of resources highlights key themes in black history that we think your students will love to explore this month.

To see all the Newsela articles associated with the collection of resources, you can visit this Text Set.

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