Five Westwind staff members formed an Enrichment Team, and planned out monthly lessons for the students that incorporated celebrating diversity and character. This team included Westwind counselor Qualimetra Chapman and Miranda Macias, the Communities in Schools Coordinator, as well as Shelsy Franco, Naomi Navarette, and Lauren Gomez.

Throughout the month, the team met with all classes to conduct that month’s enrichment lessons and projects.

In the library, books written by African American authors were displayed to encourage student to check them out during library time.

Macias created a colorful PowerPoint with over a dozen slides to be displayed on the schools TV monitors each day during February. At any given moment, one could stop in the halls and read information on any of the historical figures the students were learning about for Black History Month.

For three weeks, Chapman taught in detail about the historical figures. Students learned vocabulary, dates, saw famous speeches, read famous poems and learned so many interesting details. Afterwards, eight fourth graders and eight fifth graders volunteered to study the material and work as a team to compete. They designed a quiz bowl in the style of the Battle of the Books competition.

Chapman took the information and created questions that were both “name that historical figure” and fill in the blank. If a team got a question correct, they received the point. If not, the other team had a chance to steal. In the end both fourth and fifth grader teams finished out with 19 points and will celebrate their work with a pizza party.

The team also helped design a mural for the students to create as a tribute to some of the historical figures they were learning about. Every 4th and 5th grade student colored a piece of the mural, and the blocks were pieced together to create a 13-foot tribute that lines the hallway.

“Adding an art project helps bring the lessons to life,” said Macias. “We feel like each student having a part brings so much character and pizazz to the final project.”

Westwind also held a family math and reading night that included a Black History Month room, where families could come in and learn about black history. During this time, parents had an opportunity to color a part of the “patchwork mural” that was displayed in the halls.

Macias stated that the Enrichment Team worked to make sure lessons and projects were rewarding.

“We find engaging projects to be especially important, because we meet with students as a grade level, and if they are not excited and engaged, it has potential to be chaotic.” 

The Westwind students were engaged in the lesson and excited to learn about Black History. They loved seeing snippets of famous speeches and hearing the reading of famous poems. Katherine Johnson sticks out as one of the people that students had never heard of. Learning about her journey at NASA and being part of an African American group of mathematicians called ‘Computers’ was intriguing to them.

The quiz bowl showcased how much information the students retained. Though the students competing volunteered to represent their classes, the audience also knew the answers, they got excited when they remembered black history facts.

The Enrichment Team at Westwind was intentional about celebrating diversity and already have plans for Womens History Month and Universal Day of Culture.