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what to teach february in pink with moons looking at eachother

February 1, 2024

What to Teach This Month: February

What are you teaching this month? Check out some February highlights including Black History Month, Lunar New Year, World War 2, Presidents Day and more!

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I’m far from perfect, and for me, February is always the month when I actually start to seriously plan for all the year’s upcoming projects—both professional and personal. Big kudos to everyone who can start their resolutions and plan right from the get-go on Jan. 1, because for me, after a holiday season full of fun (and tiring) family visits and travel, I’m ready to take it easy! It takes me a while to work off all the rich food from the holidays and feel like a normal human being again. So, I’m hoping now that we’ve had some time to brave the winter and get used to being back at work, some of these teach-worthy topics I’ve picked for this month’s “What to Teach” will inspire, excite and—most of all—save you some time!

As we all know, 2024 is an election year, and with an upcoming political season full of unknowns, educators and caregivers have a unique opportunity to engage their students in meaningful discussions and lessons that foster critical thinking and civic awareness. February, in particular, presents a bunch of great topics to explore in the classroom. From learning about the history of Presidents Day, celebrating Lunar New Year and the joys of Valentine's Day, educators can incorporate a wide range of themes into their curriculum to create a well-rounded learning experience that keeps students excited about the month ahead.

Black History Month

Black History Month gives us a focused time to learn about the remarkable contributions and challenges faced by Black individuals. However, it's important to remember that Black history doesn't fit into just one month. It's a year-round journey of learning, understanding and appreciation. February serves as a starting point, but we should continue to explore Black history, culture, the arts and more throughout the year. In addition to a rich collection to support teaching about Black History, consider some of the important dates that take place this month, like the anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in and Frederick Douglass’ birthday. In 2024, we’re observing the theme of “Black Americans in the Arts.” This theme highlights the contributions of Black artists, musicians, writers, actors, and creators who have enriched our cultural landscape with their talent and creativity.

Mexican American Relations

Did you know the famous Mexican-American War ended on Feb. 2, 1848, with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo? Consider using this topic with some of the resources below to reflect on the history of the war as well as relations with this important U.S. neighbor today.

Yalta Conference

The Yalta Conference, held Feb. 4-11, 1945, during World War II, was a meeting of world leaders: Franklin D. Roosevelt of the U.S., Winston Churchill of the UK, and Joseph Stalin of the USSR. These leaders decided what would happen to Europe after World War II, and how it would shape the world we live in today. Learning about the Yalta Conference helps us understand how countries work together (or don't!) on the world stage. Students can use this event to understand how decisions made by a few leaders can have a long-term, far-reaching impact on the whole world—and it's a lesson in how diplomacy and cooperation influence global relations.

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year, sometimes also called Chinese New Year, is a holiday widely celebrated in Asian cultures across the world to honor the lunisolar calendar, based on the 13 cycles of the moon during a leap year.. This holiday features many traditions, including festive food, parades, gifts and clothing. This year, Feb. 10 marks the start of Lunar New Year, with many celebrations continuing until Feb. 24. The Chinese New Year also marks the transition of zodiac signs: 2024 is the Year of the Dragon.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018, was a tragic event that deeply affected our nation. As educators, it's essential to create a safe and supportive environment for students to discuss such sensitive topics. Review the resources below to help students process, think and heal.

Sinking of the USS Maine

One of the earliest cases of a disinformation campaign began after the sinking of the USS Maine on Feb. 15, 1898, paving the road to the Spanish-American War, which would begin in April of that year. Check out the resources below for a simulation of the tragedy as well as a toolkit that offers a series of case studies in mis- and disinformation, including one on yellow journalism and the USS Maine.

Publication of The Feminine Mystique

The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan, published on Feb. 19, 1963, is considered one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century, and was a major inspiration for the current feminist movement in the U.S. The book identified a "problem that has no name,” the widespread discontent and frustration of American women in the 1950s and early 1960s due to society's limiting expectations rooted in traditional gender roles. It's worth noting that since its publication, the book has faced criticism for overlooking minorities, lesbians, single women, and women without children by choice. Check out some ideas for teaching about the book’s publication and other forms of feminism below.

Executive Order 9066 and Japanese American Internment

Executive Order 9066, issued on Feb. 19, 1942, marked a significant event in American history, leading to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. These resources will help shed light on a large-scale, painful and often overlooked aspect of American history, fostering a greater understanding of the long-lasting impact of Executive Order 9066 and Japanese American internment.

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Andy Kratochvil

Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from American University

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