JSA Celebrates Black History Month

As February comes to a close, we want to show you all the projects the classrooms have worked on all month to honor and learn about the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shape the nation.

“For Black History Month, STEP-IN learned about Alma Thomas, the first woman to graduate from Howard University (a Historically Black College) with an Art degree. She is an Expressionist artist. Art can help our students with enhanced communication through creative expression. Improved imagination and greater abstract thinking. The ability to build stronger relationships while encouraging children with autism to see other people’s perspectives. The visual arts are very impactful in the improvement of cognitions, visual and spatial discrepancies, fine motor skills, and coping. Many people with autism struggle with communication and are often visual thinkers. Art fits naturally with autism in that it can help those with autism express themselves through images while also being a soothing activity.” – Nathan Howell, STEP-IN Teacher

“We spent the month learning about many different African Americans and their contributions to the world! Our Unique Learning System’s Curriculum this month was ‘Time for Peace’ and we focused on how Martin Luther King Jr. and others all worked for ‘Peace’! When we are at peace, us and those around us are in the Green Zone 🙂 We also talked about Rosa Parks, Garrett Morgan, Jesse Owens and Sojourner Truth.” – Caitlyn Hammett, Secondary 1 Teacher

“During Black History Month Primary 2 has been reading selected books about African American men and women who have made contributions to the U.S. and the world. When discussing the achievements of these brave and innovative people, we also spoke about the significance of their particular accomplishments. The ABCs of Black History illustrate the everyday items. Some of the books we read and the craft projects the students made emphasized the importance of showing love and tolerance toward others and unity with those who are different from us and who struggle for equality. The students created a “paper quilt” honoring Mae Jemison, George Washington Carver, Barack Obama, Katherine Johnson, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King Jr. “ – Laura Bland, Primary Teacher

“Secondary 2 learned about Gee’s Bend Quilts. The residents of Gee’s Bend, Alabama are direct descendants of the enslaved people who worked the cotton plantation established in 1816 by Joseph Gee. Enslaved women from the rural, isolated community began quilting in the 19th century. Influenced, perhaps, by the patterned textiles of Africa, the women slaves began piecing strips of cloth together to make bedcovers. Throughout the post-bellum years of tenant farming and well into the 20th century, Gee’s Bend women made quilts to keep themselves and their children warm in unheated shacks that lacked running water, telephones and electricity.” – Jill Vancil, Secondary 2 Teacher

“To honor Black History Month, the Social class celebrated with some traditional African American dishes, listening to traditional music, exploring the African American heritage in Jacksonville and writing biographies on notable individuals!” – Michelle Solarek, Social Class Teacher