Every year, New Haven Reads celebrates Black History Month at every tutoring site, with Site Directors and Assistant Site Directors deciding what the celebration at their location will entail.
This year, Site Directors and Assistant Site Directors had to adjust to the virtual format, figuring out what could be done online to celebrate Black History Month.
Carol Sarmiento, the Site Director at Willow Street, explained her past efforts, saying, “In-person, we would put up posters of past and present influential Black Americans. The kids would always walk around and look at them. I also had these Black History comprehension cards, and we used to go around and ask the kids to pick a card, then we would read it to them. There were also lots of books on display for the kids to read, and they loved it.”
With the distance-learning model still in effect, Carol decided to use two digital platforms, Epic and ReadTheory, to assign books and articles relevant to Black History Month to all grade levels, so that tutors could read the stories with their students. Other sites took similar steps, including using worksheets with biographical information for the students to investigate and learn about Black History.
Audra Clark, the Science Park Site Director, created a slideshow presentation for the students. The first slide names the accomplishments of a certain Black American, and then asks, “Who Am I?” The students have a moment to posit a guess, then the answer is revealed on the next slide, along with further information with pictures and text.
“The students seem to enjoy learning about the individuals from a first person perspective and it made it more of a riddle,” Audra explained.
We were thrilled that our Site Staff were still able to honor and celebrate Black History Month, despite the limitations of the virtual format. We look forward to being able to celebrate in-person with decorations at all of the sites next year!