Who Was Ruby Bridges?

Your Black History Month lessons wouldn't be complete without a discussion of Ruby Bridges, a courageous civil rights activist who, at the tender age of six, was the first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. In spite of seemingly insurmountable odds - riotous crowds, threats to both Ruby and her family, teachers refusing to teach Ruby, etc. - with the support of her family, the six-year-old bravely continued attendance at William Frantz Elementary School - graduating from the integrated high school and furthering her education at the Kansas City business school. But it was not without personal sacrifice and pressure, and Ruby's historical impact is one that will never be forgotten.

We found some great resources and lessons to help your kiddos connect with the story of Ruby Bridges...

Black History Month Children's Literature and Kindergarten Lesson PlanChildren's Literature

We've come across several children's books that we think your kinders will enjoy. Robert Coles' The Story of Ruby Bridges offers great insight into the events surrounding Ruby's education and life, bringing her courage and faith to life. It also offers a great opportunity to practice making inferences. The front cover depicts a young African American girl entering a building alone as a crowd of angry people forms behind her. Invite your students to describe what is happening and why; inferring what the girl [Ruby] might be feeling, etc.

Melissa and Brittany of Frugal in First did a similar lesson, focusing on the importance of asking questions for reading comprehension. After seeing only the cover of the book, students compiled a list of important questions - i.e. "I wonder why everyone is so mad", "I wonder if they are going to hurt her", etc. - and discussed the answers to their questions upon finishing the book.

Another great inclusion into story time is Evelyn Coleman's White Socks Only - it's a great story to use to start a discussion about segregation, discrimination, courage, and standing up for what you believe in. Additionally, it's fun because you can find it over at Storyline Online and have the celebrity, Amber Tamblyn, read it to your kiddos!

Black History Month Kindergarten Lesson Plan
Photo Source: simplysecondgrade.blogspot.com

Character Traits

After learning about Ruby Bridges, Mrs. Lynes and her kiddos discussed character traits - adjectives that describe a person on the inside. They put together a fun anchor chart of Ruby Bridges' character traits {find the full lesson at Simply Second Grade} and learned that she is truly someone to look up to. The anchor chart provides a great segue into talking about Ruby's impact on history - and what might have happened if she hadn't been so courageous!

Be sure to follow the links to find all of these great resources and activities!