MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Instead of lessons or pop quizzes, a local school's culture committee decided to make Black History Month teaching a bit more engaging.
Language arts teacher Anedra Million's classroom at Highview 6th Grade Center is filled with pictures of African-American icons, civil rights leaders and difference-makers. Now, the school's hallways are filled with posters of Black Middletown residents who made an impact.
"It's American history; it's our history," Million said. "They can find the richness and the history right here in our schools now."
Million said school officials believe the posters once belonged to the city, but they somehow ended up in the school's storage closet. Now, they've been revived to help students learn in a different way.
Students are working on videos about the 17 Black Middletown pioneers to share with local elementary school students. They're also learning more about Black history through a scavenger hunt, an idea from committee member Jennifer Gleason.
"When kids are engaged, they're learning, they're taking ownership, they're understanding, they're connecting," Gleason said. "It's a whole different ball game than just reading and regurgitating questions."
If the students complete the scavenger hunt and get all questions right, they get a prize, but Gleason said the lessons go far beyond the incentives.
"It's just really nice to just have the kids get excited," Gleason said. "And when they talk in their classes, they're coming up with ideas of what they can do."
Million said the opportunities have changed how students learn and encouraged students to continue the work done by the pioneers before them.
"They decided they want to form clubs," Million said. "They've decided that they want to figure out how they can make a difference in the world."
This story was originally published by Jasmine Styles on Scripps station WCPO in Cincinnati.