Black History Month: Learning with Buncee and PebbleGo

Black History Month: Learning with Buncee and PebbleGo

Since 1976, we have recognized and celebrated Black History Month in February. For the past forty-six years, February has been the month that celebrates the achievements and contributions of Black Americans. In 1915, Carter G. Woodson, a historian along with Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) to promote the inclusion of Black Americans in discussions and in society. 

Initially celebrated as Black History week during the second week of February, it was later changed by President Gerald Ford in 1976 to be recognized as Black History month.  

Each year there is a theme chosen and for 2022, the theme is “Black Health and Wellness.” The focus is on learning about practices, initiatives and methods that Black communities have used for staying well and recognizing the impact of the leaders and changemakers in fields such as education and science. 

As educators, it is important that we find resources that will help students to understand its importance, along with the importance of Black history and culture.  Once students have time to explore and learn, they need opportunities to create and share that learning. Buncee and PebbleGo make this a more meaningful and engaging learning experience for students.

Ideas for Black History Month

With Buncee, there are so many templates available and lessons to choose from in the Ideas Lab to get started. When it comes to tech, having resources like this that enable educators to create and share materials with students makes it easier to get started and is also a fun learning experience with students. 

Depending on the grade level or specific content area, there are a lot of options to choose from. Perhaps with older students, implementing something like inquiry or project-based learning (PBL) will foster the development of higher order thinking skills and the power of choice in what to research and learn more about. PebbleGo encourages students to securely conduct their own research. By giving them the chance to explore a topic of interest, it not only builds their content knowledge, but promotes the development of essential SEL skills too. As they work through the process, they can either choose from the Buncee templates available for Black History Month, or start from a blank template and create something more authentic and personalized to their specific interests and needs. 

Guide students as they begin their research:

Identify their topic of interest

Conduct research 

Decide on and begin creating a Buncee

Leverage the multimedia options in Buncee to share their learning

Publish and share their Buncee with classmates

Younger students using PebbleGo can explore the resources to read biographies about African American history makers and then create a Buncee to share their learning. PebbleGo provides all of the materials that teachers need to get started using their lesson plans. 

To make the research process even more seamless, you can gather links to specific articles from PebbleGo, and then share a selection with your students. They can then choose an article from this selection to use in their research. For example, you could create a selection of PebbleGo articles for your younger learners to choose from, or a selection of PebbleGo Next articles for your older learners.

When it comes to creating, students can select from the templates available and create a Buncee representing a person or event and share to the class Buncee Board, which takes learning to a new level. Being able to share your creations and see what classmates are creating builds social awareness and understanding of different perspectives. Using the Buncee Board promotes collaboration in a digital space, helping students to develop many of the essential skills for the future and also to feel connected, especially if we are in virtual learning environments. Here is a sample Buncee Board with a few templates to help you get started!

Ideas to bring to your classroom

Some ideas are to focus on specific events or people who have played an important role in history. Choose individuals that represent different areas of interest for students such as activists, artists, musicians, politicians, scientists, writers or have them select key events in history.  For example, students can choose the template for the Underground  Railroad where students can learn about what it was, who traveled on it, and important people like Harriet Tubman who were involved. 

Another idea is to have students select a famous African American based on their personal interests and create a Buncee to highlight key facts about their life and impact. Students can then reflect on what they have learned and share their thoughts using audio or a video right within their Buncee.

For promoting the development of writing and critical thinking skills, using a template such as this Harlem Renaissance one will provide students with guidance to learn about it in their own way, to reflect on what they learned while building communication and literacy skills in more authentic ways through Buncee. Students can then select a writer that they want to learn about and continue to explore. An added idea is to push their thinking by adding another component to the lesson such as changing the time period, or asking what they think the writer would choose as a topic today. There are a lot of possibilities for sparking curiosity and engaging students in truly meaningful and purposeful learning.

There are many more options. Students can create a timeline and provide details, images, audio, or even video to recreate the events that happened. Another idea is to study the work and accomplishments of famous historical figures and design a digital portfolio to represent this person’s contributions to society.

To best prepare our students, it is important to provide them with opportunities to share their ideas, engage in inquiry based learning, and explore different resources as they build their self- and social-awareness. By sharing their work with others, they focus on building social awareness and relationship skills during the learning process and develop a greater cultural understanding of others and their experiences. With Buncee and PebbleGo, we have more choices available that will engage students in meaningful learning during Black History Month. 

Meet the Author

Rachelle Dené Poth is an edtech consultant, presenter, attorney, author, and teacher. Rachelle teaches Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle has a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. She is a Consultant and Speaker, owner of ThriveinEDU LLC Consulting. She is an ISTE Certified Educator and currently serves as the past -president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and on the Leadership team of the Mobile Learning Network. At ISTE19, she received the Making IT Happen Award and a Presidential Gold Award for volunteer service to education. She is also a Buncee Ambassador, Nearpod PioNear and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.

Rachelle is the author of seven books, “In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” (EduMatch) and “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” Rachelle Dene’s latest book is with ISTE “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World.” True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us, Your World Language Classroom: Strategies for In-Person and Digital Instruction and Things I Wish […] Knew.

Rachelle is a blogger for Getting  Smart, Defined Learning, District Administration, and NEO LMS. 

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU

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