By Stephanie Holzwarth
The responsibility of social studies teachers today goes well beyond the study of society that we all experienced as students. Today’s social studies teachers are required to seamlessly weave in lessons on literacy and writing, while also discussing controversial contemporary issues. Doing so objectively can be especially challenging when certain topics might elicit strong and sometimes polarizing opinions within our classrooms.
We know that one of the best and most compelling resources to explore the present is a study of the past. February – and every month of the year – presents an incredible opportunity for students to learn about our present-day circumstances through the lens of black history.
This February, the Allan Houston Foundation is providing EverFi’s 306-African American HistoryTM digital resource to Kentucky schools at no cost. The digital resource, developed in collaboration with Clayborne Carson, is available for free to all Kentucky schools.
306 – African American HistoryTM
This web-based resource is designed for teachers to supplement their curriculum through a highly engaging and interactive student experience. Teachers can pick and choose from 13 different vignettes for students to complete on their own device at their own pace. Upon completion of all vignettes, students have the opportunity to complete a capstone writing activity consisting of a scaffolded outlining segment followed by a short analytical essay composition. You can view the full course outline here.
As soon as students self-register with their teacher’s code at everfi.com/login, the student will be immersed in this short introductory video. From there, the students are led to an interactive timeline where their teacher will instruct them on which of the 13 vignettes – or 10-15 minute learning modules – they will complete that day. Vignette topics include: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Phillis Wheatley, the Underground Railroad, Frederick Douglas, Hiram Revels, the Tuskegee Institute, W.E.B DuBois, the Harlem Renaissance, Brown vs. Board of Education, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington and Mae Jemison.
In each of these vignettes, students will interact with the concepts, primary texts, themes and events of African-American history through scaffolded activities and content. While teachers have the flexibility to only use one or a few vignettes, students who complete all 13 vignettes and the capstone essay (approximately 2.5 hours of learning time) will be able to:
- identify key individuals from African-American history and their significance;
- describe the broad chronological periods of African-American history, including the slavery period, the abolition and Reconstruction period, the Jim Crow period and the Civil Rights period;
- identify key concepts from a primary document and analyze a second topic from the course based on those concepts; and
- develop a clear point of view in a short, analytical capstone essay.
Getting students started on 306-African American History takes no more than 5-10 minutes.
Teachers: Self-register at everfi.com/register and watch this short video or follow the Quick Start Guide on the KDE EverFi Resources Page. For a quick phone training, to refer another teacher at your school or for more information, contact sholzwarth@everficom or your local schools manager.
District Leaders: You can complete this form to request a report of the schools in your district already using EverFi resources and/or to schedule an informational meeting or free professional development.
EverFi is committed to bringing exciting critical skills education to K-12 students at no cost. If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me, EverFi’s Kentucky senior partnerships manager at (615) 379-8365 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Holzwarth is a former Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools middle school teacher. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Hope College and earned her master’s in instructional practice from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. Holzwarth manages EverFi partnerships across the state of Kentucky and leads the team of three schools managers – all former teachers – who provide professional development and support for Kentucky teachers.