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6 Ways to Engage with Black History at School

During Black History Month each February, K-12 teachers across the country take a special look at their lesson plans. Will it be a guest speaker this year, or a lecture on Harriet Tubman? Although some prominent black Americans question the need for a Black History Month, Americans as a whole think it's worth commemorating. And all cultural backgrounds can benefit by learning about the black experience--then, and now. But to really engage students, this occasion requires thoughtful planning. Here are six ideas for making black history come alive in the classroom. Move Beyond Familiar Historical Figures Alonzo Herndon While names like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. are important, they shouldn't eclipse the names of unsung black Americans. The recent success of the movie "Hidden Figures" illustrates this point well. Depending on the ages of those you teach, why not craft a lesson around black inventors--or ask students if they have a lesser-known hero they'd like to discuss? Ask a local historian for further ideas. You can even talk about and play musical excerpts by black composers. Or profile black musicians in general. The point is: get creative. Learn More About the Underground Railroad Make history come alive by seeing how former slaves escaped to freedom via the Underground Railroad.
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3 Martin Luther King Day Activities Kids Will Remember

Each January, elementary students return from the holidays with a fresh outlook and eager minds. Why not take advantage of these teachable attributes for Martin Luther King Day? To make your MLK Day activities truly engaging and memorable, consider implementing one or more of these teaching ideas into your lesson plans:
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Booster's Costume Creator is Back!

As Halloween approaches, you probably ask a familiar question: What should my costume be this year? For inspiration, try Booster’s Costume Creator, back by popular demand for Halloween 2015. Go back in time as William Shakespeare, Amelia Earhart, or Albert Einstein. While you're at it, why not teach a quick history lesson in a memorable way? It's easy--just click the creator to view all your options, and then have fun learning about an important historical figure as you dress your avatar. When you settle on a combination that looks just right, pick a message and send your bewitching or dashing e-card to all your friends.   Get Started Here: Choose an avatar. Will it be Lily or Mel? You decide. Your chosen avatar will appear on the right side. Pick a background. Our background gallery lets you set the scene in a ghostly castle's hall, in an Egyptian tomb, or even in outer space. Scroll  through your options to pick a perfect background. Craft your costume. Whether you dress your character as a sinister vampire or as Cleopatra, you'll find costume pieces to match. If you like, mix things up and pair Booster's head with Count Dracula's cape or a pirate's legs. You can make your costume as tame or as wild as you like! Send to friends. Make someone's day with a little spooky fun. Print and deliver your Halloween greeting in person, or simply send an e-card version to anyone you choose.
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Celebrating ten years

This summer we celebrated ten years in EdTech! Imagine Learning started back in the summer of 2004 when a passionate group of educators and software developers became inspired to create better ways of teaching language and literacy to the children of the world. The vision was to develop adaptive software for a better, more individualized, student experience. The team did this by using some of the brightest minds in education to design and incorporate the type of engaging activities and games that draw students in, so children learn while having fun. This positive user experience helps students build confidence as they work through the content, experiencing success along the way. In early 2005, the first build of Imagine Learning was completed. It included first-language support to help English language learners (ELLs). As an ELL student becomes more confident in an English-only environment, first-language support gradually fades.
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A month to commemorate–and celebrate

February is a great time to celebrate important events: Presidents' Day, Valentine’s Day, even Groundhog Day. But did you know it’s also dedicated to celebrating the achievements of black Americans? Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is a special time set aside each year to recognize the central role African Americans have played in US history. From academic research to professional sports to scientific inventions, black Americans have helped shape this country by achieving many great milestones. So how can Black History Month energize your lesson plans during February? Read on to find out about some of the incredible accomplishments of black Americans—and how you can turn those into exciting learning opportunities!
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