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Educational Classroom Ideas to Acknowledge Rosa Parks Day

By: Brittany Engelmann-- 2017-01-18 3:00 pm --

Rosa Parks is one of the most significant historical figures. Her bravery and determination helped to ignite an ongoing battle for civil rights in the U.S. Yet, teaching these topics to children can be complex, and learning about the Jim Crow era can be both confusing and scary for youngsters. February 4th is Rosa Parks Day, and it offers educators the opportunity to teach their students about the tremendous impact Rosa Parks had on the civil rights movement.

Avoid Reenactment Activities

For decades, many teachers have educated students about sensitive topics, like slavery and the holocaust, by having students reenact the events. For example, to educate students about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, teachers would often divide students into two groups, having one group reenacting roles as white people and a second group reenacting roles of black people.

However, this approach to teaching has become incredibly controversial in recent years, with some claiming the reenactments can be traumatizing to students, and others concerned it could lead to bullying. Instead of physically reenacting scenarios, consider issuing a writing prompt where each child can envision what it would feel like to be forced to sit at the back of the bus, and write about how they felt. It provides children with the same sense of imagined injustice, without making any child feel singled out in the process.

Incorporate Children’s Books Into Learning

There are a variety of excellent children’s books that discuss the life of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Children’s books are an excellent learning tool for sensitive subjects, as they present the information in a way that’s comfortable and approachable for children. In addition, young children are often very visual, so visual learning through the use of picture books is an effective way to encourage knowledge retention.

Create a Timeline

Timelines are a popular activity in elementary schools. They’re fun to make, they provide children with a visual chronology of events, and they offer children a resource they can continue to refer back to later. To encourage visualization, create a large timeline on the wall of your classroom in the shape of a road. Provide each child with a cut-out in the shape of a car that contains information about a specific time in Rosa Park’s life. Have children arrange their cars on the timeline based on when each event occurred. This activity is both visual and interactive, creating a highly engaging learning environment for children.

Don’t Forget the Crafts!


Crafts are always popular in the classrooms of children, and it’s in large part due to the learning potential they provide. Hands-on activities are engaging and fun for students, and they promote knowledge retention. An easy and memorable craft idea is to have children recreate the popular Rosa Parks watercolor painting. Print out black and white versions of the painting to give to each of the children, along with a full-color version the children can refer to as they paint. Set the children up with water colors and let them have fun recreating the memorable portrait of Rosa Parks.

Rosa Parks is one of the most significant historical figures. She put her own safety and freedom on the line to fight for the freedom of millions across America, and she’s a phenomenal role model for young girls and children of color. This Rosa Parks Day, seize the opportunity to educate your students about this remarkable woman. Visit DollarDays to find all the craft and educational supplies you’ll need to make Rosa Parks Day a learning event to remember.