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Copyright 2002 Gerri Gribi ||| Email ||| Updated 08/07/15
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Teacher Toolkit Grades K-12
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Resources for Grades PreK-5

This section just provides quick links to lesson plans and other resources designed especially for PreK-5. You'll find many more teacher resources throughout the Toolkit

1. Web Sites: For kids and for teachers

2. Lesson Plans: Collections, and a wide variety of topics

3. CDs, Books, Videos


Web Sites

For Kids

African American History Challenge

Provides biographies of 12 historical figures, followed up with quizzes at three levels. Alexander Crummell, Frederick Douglass, Henry Highland Garnet, Harriet Tubman, Henry McNeal Turner, John Mercer Langston, Mary Elizabeth Boswer, Mary Church Terrell, Mary Ann Shadd, Nat Turner, Richard Allen, Sojurner Truth. (This page is divided into several frames, which makes it a little confusing to navigate and view on a small monitor)

African American World for Kids

Games and more; part of the PBS web site.

The Underground Raiload

Travel the Underground Railroad at this highly interactive National Geographic site.

For Teachers

Gayle's PreSchool Rainbow

"Early childhood education Black history activities and lesson plans for teachers of preschool children. You'll find action rhymes, songs, art and crafts, a game, a skit and even a rap song in this theme that enhances curriculum and celebrates the contributions of African-Americans."

Deep In The Bush

"The stories used in this lesson were collected by the author while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. They have been kid- tested and approved around the world with students from kindergarten through grade eight." Includes a Teacher's Lesson Page.

African Languages

"What language do they speak in Africa?" This site provides resources for the many languages spoken across the continent.

Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad

A multidisciplinary website providing an online account of Maryland's role in the multi-state network of covert byways, courageous supporters & secret hiding places. Includes teaching strategies, lesson plans, resources, extensions to math, science and more. Requires FLASH.

Teaching Tolerance

"Teaching Tolerance supports the efforts of K-12 teachers and other educators to promote respect for differences and appreciation of diversity. " Provides a clearinghouse of information about anti-bias programs and activities, distributes free, high-quality materials and anti-bias curricula. Includes a forum to connect with other teachers.

African Cookbook

Menus and recipes from Africa, by country.

RecipeSource: Africa

African Bobotie, FuFu, Peanut Soup, Morrocan Lemon Chicken, Anise Bread , Zimbabwe Greens and Yellow Raisin Rice are just a few of the 70 African recipes you can try at this site.


Lesson Plans

Crafts that Celebrate Black History. Kathy Ross. Brookfield CT: Millbrook Press, 2002 Read more at

Written by a long-time nursery school teacher, this book presents fun and simple crafts to celebrate the lives of 19 important African Americans. Brief biographies accompany each craft.

AFRICA: It's Not a Country: Lesson Plans for Teaching About Africa
Early Elementary

This fine collection covers a variety of topics and methods, including general introductory lessons and specifics: language, arts, names and more.

Martin Luther King and Faith Ringgold- Quilting
Lesson Plans Page
Grade Level - 2-3 : Does not require student internet access

"Each student will make a drawing of an event in the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Once completed, they can be quilted together and displayed in the hall to celebrate Black History Month."

Famous African Americans ABC Book
Education World
Grade Level 2-5: Requires some student internet access to gather biographies
You may get a popup ad when you first access the site.

Students create an ABC book with short biographies of famous African Americans in history. More Black History Month Lesson Plans

Deep In The Bush

"The stories used in this lesson were collected by the author while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. They have been kid- tested and approved around the world with students from kindergarten through grade eight." Includes a Teacher's Lesson Page with activities for all ages.


Books, CDs & Videos

Crafts that Celebrate Black History. Kathy Ross. Brookfield CT: Millbrook Press, 2002 Read more at

Written by a long-time nursery school teacher, this book presents fun and simple crafts to celebrate the lives of 19 important African Americans. Brief biographies accompany each craft.

African American Voices in Children's Literature
A quick and easy annotated listing of new and popular children's books compiled by the Arrowhead Library System.

Black Books Galore! Guide to Great African American Children's Books. Donna Rand, Toni Trent Parker, Sheila Foster. New York: Wiley, 1998.

Insightful reviews of 500 books, categorized by age and ability. Includes information about language, such as whether a book uses dialect or contains "The N word."

Black Books Galore!: Guide to More Great African American Children's Books by Donna Rand and Toni Trent Parker. New York: Wiley, 2001.

Reviews of 400 more books, plus reading plans for historical events, major holidays, and seasons. Includes a listing of award winners, and related web sites.

Kamma, Anne. If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America. Scholastic Books Inc, 2004. Read more and Order at

This surprisingly comprehensive little book addresses over 40 questions children would dream up about a slave's life...and a few they might not. What did slaves wear? What did they eat? Would you live with your father and mother? What if your father belonged to another slave owner? Did the children have to work? What games did they play? Were any black people free? While the answers are by necessity simplified for the targeted age group (9-12) the content is honest and relatively thorough. I think this provides an excellent foundation for helping children understand this sad time in American history. Includes web and physical addresses of seven historic/interpretive sites.

Children's Stories From Africa: DVD Monterey Video 2000.115 minutes Available at

Nandi Nyembe tells 12 stories on a stage of an African hut. The stories are built around the age-old tales of African wildlife: wart hogs, monkeys, crocodiles, and the like. These tales teach simple morals: the dangers of greed, the importance of picking your friends, following your heart. Only a few still pictures accompany each story--the heart of this program is our vivacious storyteller.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears...and More Stories from Africa. DVD Scholatic Video Collection, 2004. 61 minutes. Available at

Adapted from the Caldecott Honor Book By Verna Aardema, Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Narrated by James Earl Jones. A tall tale sets off a chain of mishaps in the jungle. Will the jungle creatures ever get the story straight? A STORY, A STORY Adapted from the Caldecott Honor Book By Gail E. Haley. Once, all the stories in the world belonged to Nyanme, the Sky God. He kept them in a box beside his throne. But Ananse, the Spider Man, wanted them - and caught three sly creatures to get them. WHO'S IN RABBIT'S HOUSE? By Verna Aardema, Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Narrated by James Earl Jones. Rabbit has a problem - someone is inside her house and won't let her in. Can the leopard, rhino or elephant help Rabbit get in her house?

Child Out of Place. Wall, Patricia Q. Kittery, ME: Fall Rose Books, 2004 Ages 10 and up. Fall Rose Books

This fictional work incorporates years of scholarship of black heritage in New England, and the setting is inspired by the historic MacPheadris-Warner House and Museum in Portsmouth. It's the story of an imaginative 10-year-old who remembers signing her Freedom Papers when she was barely old enough to write. It realistically portrays the lives of freed blacks in the Northeast (I'm particularly glad the author didn't use a stereotypical Southern rural dialect; the characters here speak like New Englanders, which, of course, they were!) , and offers compelling insights into the challenging transition from slavery to freedom.

New from the same author: BEYOND FREEDOM continues that first story about Matty and her family while revealing yet another little-known chapter in the history of early African Americans in New England.

Black Stars: African American Women Scientists and Inventors. Sullivan, Otha Richard. New York: Wiley, 2002. Intermediate and up Read more at

Thirty highly-readable, engaging profiles ranging from early inventors to contemporary scientists and mathemticians. Includes personal, candid interviews which children will find illuminating and inspiring.

Black Stars: African American Inventors. Sullivan, Otha Richard. New York: Wiley, 1998. Intermediate and up Read more at

Accounts of more than 25 inventors who achieved despite racial obstacles.

Christmas Gif': An Anthology of Christmas Poems, Songs, and Stories Written by and About African-Americans . Rollins, Charlemae Hill (Compiler), Ashley Bryan (Illustrator). New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1993. (Intermediate) Available at

This joyful classic first published in 1963 includes the work of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes, now augmented with forty-five beautiful linoleum-block illustrations. Thirty-five entries, including songs, poems and recipes.

Follow in Their Footsteps. Turner, Glennette Tilley. New York: Cobblehill Books, 1997. Read more at

Each brief but inspiring biography is followed by a skit for the children to act out. Children could use this as a model for writing their own biographical skits. (Carter G. Woodson, Edmonia Lewis, Dorothy I. Height, Thurgood Marshall, Mary Ann Shadd, A.G. Gaston, Charlemae Rollins, Bessie Coleman, Alex Haley, Malcolm X.

The Great Migration: An American Story. Lawrence, Jacob. New York: HarperCollins,1993. Middle School. & up. Read more at

60 panels of Lawrence's epic narrative Migration series, which he created in the years 1940-41. Tells of the journey of African Americans who left their homes in the South around the time of World War I and traveled to "The Promised Land" of the North in search of better lives.

Lift Every Voice and Sing. Johnson, James Weldon, Illustrated by Elizabeth Catlett. New York: Walker, 1993. Available at Amazon.

A picture book with impressionistic interpretations of the lyrics in colored pencil, gouache, and watercolor.

Mae Jemison: Out of This World. Naden, Corinne J. and Rose Blue. Brookfield Ct: Millbrook Press, 2003. Grades 2-5. Read more at

In addition to biographical information about America's first black female astronaut, this inviting book presents ample pictures and background information which younger children will find fascinating.Hamilton, Virginia.

New York Public Library Amazing African American History: A Book of Answers for Kids. New York: Wiley, 1997. (Grades 4-9) Read more at

A chronolgy of African American history presented in a question/answer format.

The People Could Fly : The Book of Black Folktales. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Random House, 2000. Amazon

24 stories of Bruh Rabbit and Bruh Bear, He Lion, Tar Baby, magicians, slaves and free people. This new edition includes a CD featuring eleven selections, some read by actor James Earl Jones.

To Be A Slave. Lester, Julius. New York: Puffin, 2000. (Intermediate & up.) Read more at

A collection of slave narratives with explanatory information. This reprint of the 1968 Newbery Honor book tells the lives of slaves through their own words.


Ella Jenkins. Songs, Rhythms & Chants for the Dance. CD. Smithsonian Folkways 2000. Includes booklet with lyrics. Recommended for ages 6-11. Read more at

For more than forty years Ella Jenkins has brought traditional music of all kinds to children and adults. This is a reissue of the historic 1977 recording celebrating all forms of dance - a tribute to Ella's own childhood fascination with music, rhythm and movement. It features 21 tracks of spirituals, chants, blues, and folk songs, plus 9 interview segments with members of Chicago's dance community, including a choreographer and Afro-Cuban dance specialist, a dance therapist and a dance student.

Sweet Honey in the Rock. Still the Same Me. CD. Rounder Kids, 2000. Available at and also at Rounder Records.

Sweet Honey in the Rock is an award-winning African American female a capella group. Each of their albums offers a delightful mixture of traditional African American, African, and contemporary songs.
This is a collection of soulful, uplifting and participatory songs for children, with Sweet Honey using only their voices and percussion instruments to create an amazing and compelling sound. I especially like the four segments of "Improv Time!" which encourage listeners to make their own music. The liner notes provide background information about the music, and personal interviews with the artists,who answered questions about their childhood ranging from "Do you remember your favorite hairstyle?" to "Have you had an experience that was a disaster (embarrassing, painful, etc) that you feel is all right for you to share?"

Underground Railroad (Video) The History Channel, 1998. 100 minutes. (Intermediate & Up) Read more at Read more at

Alfre Woodard links together interviews with historians, contemporary photographs, drawings, and dramatic reenactments, exploding many myths along the way. The emphasis is placed on the fact that this was the first integrated movement for civil rights, created by thousands of unknown heroes.