Sixth-Grade Milwaukee Teacher Has Students Recreate Iconic Black Books To Teach Them About Their History
“Intelligence is everywhere and relevance is crucial to development,” Terrance Sims Jr. told Blavity.
February 14, 2019 at 10:07 pm
A Milwaukee teacher found a unique way to teach Black history and instill pride in his students.
Terrance Sims Jr. had his sixth-grade scholars, as he affectionately calls them, recreate covers from famous books by Black authors.
Sims wanted to place a spotlight on Black writers and make their words leave a permanent mark on the children. He isn’t interested in sprinkling a Black author here or there in the name of empty diversity.
“Intelligence is everywhere and relevance is crucial to development,” he told Blavity.
“I wanted to be intentional in showing the art and skill level in Black writers while putting my scholars in a situation where they could learn through a cultured lens," he continued. "Diversity is a buzzword and I think curriculum should be a lot more active with including authors of color. This project was meant to highlight Black literature and to immerse my students in it!”
In addition to book covers, the students recreated scenes from famous photographs, album covers and television shows. According to Inside Edition, a student takes the pictures and Sims helps the photographer with editing. He plans to have 30 shots by the end of the month.
“The students are the brains behind the operation,” Sims told the publication.
This is an annual tradition for the class, and this year’s theme is “Representation is Key,” according to People magazine. Sims wanted the students to see themselves in their predecessors.
“Representation is critical,” he told us. “It is easier for our students to be successful when they see people who look like them already in successful situations. It not only gives them hope, but a blueprint to success. Black people are skilled in so many areas, but media oftentimes limits it to sports and music. This project is to give attention to all the other fields African Americans have trail blazed through!”
If you want to keep up with the series, make sure you follow Sims on Instagram.
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