In February we celebrate Black History month, where the lives of important African Americans will take center stage. In March, Women’s History will become the focus. Children will read stories, do projects and learn lessons about important Women and African Americans through out history. Then, in many schools attention will shift to the next seasonally appropriate topic. Is this enough?
Designating a month to focus on Black History and a month to focus on Women’s History were important steps to take in 1976 and 1987 respectively. As a nation, we acknowledged that subsets of underrepresented groups in history books and curriculum played a vital role in shaping our nation’s history and made steps to change that. We are ready to do more.
By confining Women’s History and Black History to single months, are we sending the message that they are only worthy of mention and not integral? That they belong in a special interest section?
These months are important reminders of those individuals and movements that are often overlooked in our history books. We would be better served by authentically representing and integrating diverse actors in history, math, science, literature, and the arts throughout the year. We can reflect the diversity of our classrooms, our nation, and our world more broadly through the read alouds we select, the characters or scenarios we use in math, the figures we highlight in history or science, and the field trips we choose through the year.
This integration takes a little digging and a bit more more planning but the result is a wonderfully diverse, culturally relevant curriculum that engages a diverse student population, better reflects the achievements of people throughout history, and increases tolerance of and empathy towards those who are different.
To help you in this endeavor, we’ve compiled a list of sites that highlight the contributions of women and people of color in art, science and history.
Art Field Trips
History Field Trips
Music Field Trips
Explorable Places is a new online platform that helps you find the best field trip for your students. Click here to search by subject, grade, price, location and accommodation. You'll find just what you are looking for.