Black History Month

Throughout October all the children at John Ruskin School celebrated Black History Month.

Parents, please take some time to click on the year pages below to have a look at all their fabulous work and talk to your child to find out more about the inspirational leaders, scientists and artists they have been learning about.

Reception classes were inspired by Alma Thomas. She was an artist who loved colour.

We worked together to create our own colourful collages.

For Black History Month, Year 1 explored different Kente cloth designs. Kente cloth is used for different items of clothes. It originates from Ghana, which is in Africa. We created our own Kente cloth designs by weaving paper and drawing patterns.

In Year 2 we learnt about some significant individuals during Black History Month.

Marcus Rashford. We learnt that he was significant because he helped children like us have enough food. We used oil pastels to draw a portrait of him and add some words that we thought of to describe him. Some words were: kind, brave, inspiring and special.

Mary Seacole. We learnt she is significant because she helped soldiers in the Crimean War even though Florence Nightingale had told her she couldn’t help because of the colour of her skin. We don’t think that was fair! She was the first black woman in England to write a book so we made books all about her.

We also learnt about another inspiring black woman but this one is from America.

Rosa Parks We learnt she is significant because even though she was an ordinary woman, she changed American history forever. She refused to give up her seat on the bus and her protest made the government change the laws.

All these people have inspired us to make sure the world we live in is FAIR.

During Black History Month in Year 3, we have been looking at many inspiring and courageous women. We have thought about what their experiences teach us and how we can continue their legacy through our own futures:

  • Run like Dina
  • Dance like Misty
  • Learn like Ruby
  • Protest like Angela
  • Write like Maya
  • Challenge like Rosa
  • Shoot for the stars like Mae

Through our writing and artwork, we have embraced our individualities by thinking about the words of Maya Angelou, who once stated, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it”.

For Black History Month, Year 4 read a book by the author Faith Ringgold called Tar Beach. Faith Ringgold lives and works in New Jersey. She is a painter, writer, speaker, activist, mixed media sculptor and performance artist. She created a unique way of telling stories; painting using the quilt medium. First published in 1991, Tar Beach is based on one of her quilts also called ‘Tar Beach’. The themes of the book are about freedom, discrimination and achieving your dreams in the face of adversity. In the story, a little girl called Cassie Louise Lightfoot flies over different places, so that she can own them. One of the buildings that she flies over is the union building. This is because her dad isn’t allowed to join the union because of the colour of his skin. She wants it for her dad.

We made our own collages inspired by our dreams of a place that we would like to fly over, if we could.

During Black History month this year, Year 5 looked at the transatlantic slave trade. In particular we explored Britain’s role in the enslavement and trade of people from West African countries. We discussed the journey these enslaved people had to endure on their way to America and the Caribbean and learnt what types of jobs they would be forced to do upon arrival. We learnt that many enslaved people were forced to work on plantations, harvesting raw materials such as cotton, tobacco, coffee and sugarcane. These materials were then shipped back to Britain and made into manufactured goods for people to buy or be traded once again for more enslaved individuals. We drew this cycle on a map of the world and added short descriptions of each stage onto our poster.

This term for Black History month, Year 6 began by looking at the theme ‘Saluting our Sisters’.

We were particularly inspired by the works of Lorna Simpson as she used mixed media to depict influential black women using bright and bold colours, focusing on their talents and not the colour of their skin. We started by thinking about black women who have inspired us. We then recorded everything we found on a piece of card (we tried to make the writing really small, so from far away it was barely noticeable). Once we had done that, we made a silhouette of a woman. We then adorned these with coloured card to make them stand out, as Lorna Simpson did, to highlight their beauty.

The Language Unit focused on Lubaina Himid who is a British Artist.

She was the first black woman to win the Turner Prize, in 2017.

Her art depicts the strength of black people throughout History.

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