Activities Incorporating the 13 Guiding Principles in Middle School
Middle school students at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, a school serving deaf and hard of hearing students from birth through grade 8 on Gallaudet University’s campus, learned about the thirteen principals of the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. Students learned about key terms and the history of the movement, had a discussion of Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter, a lesson on Black Muslims in the United States: An Introductory Activity, lessons on empathy and loving engagement, intersectionality, queer and trans-affirming, a school-wide assembly, and more. Students also adapted and made a video about the 13 guiding principles in American Sign Language. Read below a reflection on some of the activities from two teachers at the school.
Reflections on the BLM Week of Action 2019
By Tarja Lewis, English Language Arts and Lia Bengtson, Social Studies
The middle school students at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School on Gallaudet University's campus in Washington, D.C. participated in the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action at Schools. Our school serves Deaf and hard of hearing students throughout the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area in an American Sign Language (ASL)/English bilingual environment.
Through both of our subject areas (ELA and Social Studies) we tried to cover each of the 13 principles in our lessons. We found most of the materials through the Teaching for Change curriculum and national resources, which were extremely helpful.
Our department math teacher ran an activity that incorporated math through cooking skills and focused on the principle of globalism. We highlighted some of our students' ethnic origins - students did some background research on the three countries we focused on and presented to the middle school- and then we invited some of our students to share their favorite family recipes from Nigeria, Guyana and Panama.
In English class, Ms. Bettie Waddy-Smith, who works at our school as the Spoken English specialist, shared her experience attending a racially segregated elementary school in D.C. in the early 1950s. We wanted to point out the fact that segregation was not too far removed from the students’ own lives. When someone familiar to the students was able to come to the class and share their own personal experiences, it made history more relatable for our students. Ms. Waddy-Smith’s presentation allowed our students to grasp the severity of the segregation era, as it directly impacted someone they know personally.
Mr. Jonathan Lykes, who we met at the Black Lives Matter Curriculum Fair that was hosted by Teaching for Change and the Howard University School of Education, gave a great presentation to our students on freedom chants. He talked a bit about holistic energy, and about how the kids could create their own positive atmosphere. Mr. Lykes has an album of the songs he taught us, “The Black Joy Experience,” on Spotify (https://open.spotify.com/album/7wHjU6dM8vPn9fYM08UOIF). He was engaging with the students, and even knew a little ASL! Our students shared some of their experiences, performed a dance, and shared a bit about their deaf culture with Mr. Lykes through their ASL percussion song.