Black History Month: Reading and Writing for Key Details

Black History Month: Reading and Writing For Key Details

Lesson Objective(s): Students will demonstrate the ability to select and read/view leveled readings and videos from Epic! They will record the 5 Ws for each and will write/share their reflections using the sticky notes website or other appropriate note taking/sharing app.

Length of lesson (2 hours):

Part I: Students use EPIC! to read, watch videos, and take notes about important African Americans.

Part II: Students collaborate to create notes. Following completion of the notes, students come together as whole group to read and organize into categories/groups.


Students reading below 4th grade level will use the Epic! app on iPads to read and learn about the contributions of important African Americans in U.S. history. Create a free account at They can choose from preselected books from a curated class ”library” to read ~ with or without audio support (some titles are designated “read to me”). They may also view videos to learn about important African Americans and related topics. Finally, students will share the results of their learning with classmates using, an easy to use sticky notes site OR other note taking/sharing app determined by the teacher.

Students first studied main idea and details in text and images, and practiced taking notes from text. They learned to chunk information into categories in order to make it easier to recall. Reading and watching videos about historical figures provided the opportunity to learn, discuss, and write key details about their subjects’ lives. They took and shared brief notes using (,

Evernote, OneNote, Padlet, or any other similar note taking/sharing app may also be used. To conclude the lesson, students read and organized the notes into categories of their own determination (for example DOB; Contributions; Birthplace).

Digital Literacy Standards addressed:

Review: (Basic Computer Skills 10,11)) Students will identify the Epic icon on iPads, and use headphones and control audio output features in order to read/listen to books and watch videos.

New: (Internet Basics 14) Identify and make use of common website interactions; Students will learn to use and will consider other ways they might use the user friendly, free site.

College and Career Readiness Standards (CCR) and/or Transitions Integration Framework (TIF) Standards addressed:

CCR: (R 1) Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in text;  (W 6) With guidance and support, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers; (S&L 4) Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

TIF: Seek and offer clarification appropriately in spoken and written communications; evaluate and use appropriate technology tools for clear and meaningful interactions to suit purpose and audience; employ a variety of strategies for categorizing information; categorize items or ideas and articulate rationale; identify tools and organizational method (chronologically, categorically) for the organization of information and/or materials.

Assessing Mastery of the Objective(s): At the end of this lesson, students will show mastery of the objectives by writing/dictating and sharing with the class information about important African Americans in history, and reflecting on their learning using a note taking/sharing app.


  • (pre-install app/icon on class iPads)
  • 5Ws handout/graphic organizer for notes
  • URL ( or other notetaking/sharing app
  • laptops and/or iPads*

**if available, students may use voice to text option to write details on notes

Lesson Outline:


Teacher will review with class the I can statements and learning standards for the lesson, emphasizing that more experience and practice with technology is useful in building confidence and transferable skills. She will explain that students will learn about important African Americans in U.S. history and culture while using technology to complete related reading and writing tasks. Teacher will review the use of Epic! on the iPads and make sure students know to choose titles/videos from the Black History Month collection in the library. While reading from Epic! students will work alone; following this, they will work in pairs or groups of 3 to complete the note taking assignment.


Teacher will review the 5Ws and how. She will use a familiar reading (i.e. Rosa Parks) to model how to read and take notes on the handout provided. She will project the or other note taking/sharing app onto the SMART board and create a note, demonstrating how to use the 5Ws details about the subject. She will emphasize the importance of paraphrasing and students using their own words to increase the chances they will retain what they learned.

Guided Practice:

Teacher will solicit student input and ask questions to check understanding during the note-taking practice/modeling; she will circulate the room to assist and guide students as needed once they begin to read and take notes.

Independent Practice: Students will select Epic! books and videos to read independently or with audio support. They will identify and write key 5Ws details on the graphic organizer provided. Following this, teacher and peers will assist each other as needed to record brief details in their own words on or other note taking/sharing app. Students will include their first name at the top of each note and create uniform notes for ease of identification. Once the notes have been created, the teacher will project the note taking page onto the SMART board. Students will be guided to organize details into logical categories based on the information learned. For example, from top to bottom, a column of notes might begin with the name of the person or event; followed by dates of birth and death; where they were born and lived; what contributions they made; and why we remember them.

Student Reflection on Learning, Closure, Connection:

Teacher will ask students to reflect on the use of Epic! For reading and note taking/sharing app for recording details. She will ask what connections they made with the text, and what is the main information that should be remembered about their subjects. Students will be asked to discuss and generate ideas on how the note taking/sharing app could be used for other purposes. They will be encouraged to snap pics of the class notes for future study ( and possibly other sites may not allow you to create multiple walls: therefore notes will need to be deleted in order to use the site again).

Return to top