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Are you an upper elementary bilingual or dual-language teacher looking for Black History Month Spanish activities and books for your classroom? If so, you came to the right place. In this post, I am sharing some of my favorite books and activities to celebrate Black History Month in Spanish class.
Black History Month Spanish activities
Black History Month Reading Passages and Activities in Spanish
Whenever I get a chance to combine social studies and reading, I am all over it! My days are very rushed, so any activity that allows me to combine two subjects into one is a huge win.
During Black History Month, I like to expose my students to influential black Americans and their contributions. I try to keep a nice balance when I select the people we will be reading about. I obviously want to talk about some of the major black American figures in our country, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman, but I also want students to learn about black Americans who are influential today, such as Misty Copeland and Michelle Obama.
We begin by reading a passage about a biographical passage of the person I selected. Then, we work on some reading activities that help me spiral reading comprehension skills we have already learned, such as main idea, compare and contrast, and sequence of events. We will often spend an entire week completing these activities. I also like to give my students supplemental reading passages, such as sections of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and passages about other influential people.
These activities are currently being updated to a include a digital version with audio support for students who need read-aloud accommodations.
Black History Month Spanish Research packet
I love teaching research. More than ever, it is important we teach students how to search for information for themselves through reputable sources. I have an entire blog post about how I teach research. You can click here to read more about it.
I am usually ready to start teaching research at the end of January, which lines up perfectly with Black History Month. So I created an entire research unit for it in Spanish. The research unit includes:
- Guided research packet: This research packet guides students through the entire research process. The first few pages in the research packet break down the research process into actionable steps with guiding questions, so students know exactly what type of information they should be looking for. Students are prompted to look up information about their early life, career, education, family, interesting facts, accomplishments, and legacy.
- Guided writing pages: In this section of the research packet, students are prompted to write each paragraph by summarizing the information they collected under each section. There are also pages that will guide students through revising and editing, including an editing checklist.
- Bibliography page: The research packet also includes a bibliography page, so students can keep track of their sources.
- Research booklets: I believe that the way students publish their writing makes a huge difference in how much effort they put into their work. My students are always asking me how they will be publishing their final copies. So for this unit, I created research booklets that students use to publish their final copies. The unit has premade tabbed books for over 40 influential Black Americans. I also included a blank booklet for students who may have chosen to research someone who is not already included in the unit. The blank booklet is also perfect if you have very artistic students who would prefer to create their own cover. The booklet is divided into sections, so students share each part of their research on a different page.
- Rubric: Grading writing can feel like an impossible task, especially if you don’t have a rubric. Having a rubric allows you to level the playing field and grade each child fairly. I also like that the rubric focuses on varied aspects of writing, not just mechanics and usage. So if you have a student who struggles with spelling or punctuation, for example, they can still get a good grade if they did a good job on the other elements in the rubric. This is a game changer, especially for students who don’t think they can write.
Best Black History Month Spanish books
If you are looking for amazing and inspirational books in Spanish for Black History Month, you have come to the right place. Below is a list of some of my favorite Spanish picture books that are perfect for the month of February.
- Wilma sin límites – This is my favorite biography ever! I love reading this when we are learning about literary nonfiction or right before we start working on our Black History Month Spanish research. It tells the story of Wilma Rudolph. She was an American sprinter and Olympic medalist who was paralyzed by polio as a child. Her story of determination and perseverance is heartwarming and inspirational. My students love this book! After reading the book, I like to show my students a video of Wilma in the 1960s Olympics. This is the video I usually show them, but there are others to choose from.
- ¿Quién es Michael Jordan? – My students LOVE this book, especially the boys. This is a great way to talk about someone inspirational but also relatable. I love that the book starts by telling the story of the 1982 NCAA championship. Jordan scored the final point and helped his team win that game. My students are instantly hooked. When we are done reading this book, I like to show them a video with highlights of Michael Jordan’s career. One of my favorites is this one.
- El niño que domó el viento – This is a beautiful story of young boy who used scrap metal and old bicycle parts to build a working windmill. His invention saved his family! They were able to use the electricity to pump the water they needed to water their crops during a drought. Incredible story with amazing illustrations.
If you have access to Reading A-Z, there are some incredible leveled books in Spanish. These are perfect for small-group instruction. Some of my favorites are:
- Martin Luther King Jr. – Detailed biography of MLK with tons of pictures and available in multiple reading levels.
- Harriet Tubman y el ferrocarril clandestino – This is another detailed biography that describes the life of one of the greatest heroes of the Underground Railroad.
- El escape hacia la libertad – This historical fiction will keep students on the edge of their seats. It describes a slave’s daring escape, with a heartwarming twist at the end. Although this is a fiction book, there is information about important abolitionists and text features that help explain the historical facts mentioned in the book.
- Frederick Douglass, por siempre libre – Most of my students have never heard of Frederick Douglass. I love reading this biography in small groups to introduce them to this historical figure.
There you have it…
My favorite Black History Month Spanish activities and books. I hope you can find something that you can use in your own classroom, not only in February, but throughout the school year. Let me know in the comments which activities or books you plan to use first.