8 Research Lessons for African-American History Month

By on January 20, 2016

LiteracyTA is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. and African-American History Month with state-aligned research lessons that honor 8 amazing Americans who have impacted American history. This is our second year doing this project. Our list of African-American's has grown from 5 to 8 and we now offer a one page assignment that you can use to organize this project. Join us in the celebration of athletes, activists, and patriots!

Each lesson focuses on analyzing prompts, taking notes on video and print sources, summarizing main ideas, and introducing sources. LiteracyTA members can teach these lessons as they are written or they can copy a lesson and add it to their lesson plans. Doing this will allow members to change content, grade level, state standards, and literacy skills. Copying a lesson to your lessons will give your students access to the content through My Website (or Student section).

The 8 lessons focus on the following state standards: R2, W2, W7, W8, W9 

You can use these lessons in a number of ways. You can teach one lesson as a model, then have students select one of the remaining four African Americans to research, or you can assign one lesson to a small group of students and have them present their findings to the class.

Honoring an incredible athlete and human being: Kareen Adbdul Jabbar

Celebrating courage and determination: Rosa Parks

Acknowleding an amazing patriot and leader: Colin Powell

Paying tribute to a brave and inspiring man: Jackie Robinson

Honoring an activist who risked her life for others: Harriet Tubman


Honoring an incredible activist and human being: Frederick Douglas

Honoring an the First Lady of the United States and incredible human being: Michelle Obama

Honoring an incredible writer, activist and human being: Maya Angelou

We invite our members to add to our library of biography lessons. African Americans have had a tremendous impact on American history. Let's use February to honor these great people. Use our Skill Based Lesson Planner to create standard-aligned lessons that can be shared with LiteracyTA's community of inspired educators. I recommend starting with one of Natelie's Lesson Templates. Building a lesson takes roughly 15 minutes once you have your text in mind. Go to our Non-Fiction Source Reference for great links to biographies.  

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Literacy Standards In Action

We've mapped our literacy lessons and reading, speaking, and writing skills to state standards, Common Core, and NGSS. The standards are "the what" to teach. Our lessons are "the how" to meet the expectations defined by the standards. Click on the links below to view our quick reference table that maps standards to literacy lessons.

Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital resources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
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