Thinkfinity.org Offers Many Free Online Resources for Teachers to Bring Black History Month Studies to Life

NEW YORK - Whether it's the story of people risking their lives to free slaves through the Underground Railroad, the dynamic message of Dr. Martin Luther King or the historic Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education, Black History Month presents a tremendous opportunity for teachers to share these valuable stories with their students.

To assist educators in finding unique and engaging lesson plans and educational resources reflective of Black History Month, which is observed in February, Thinkfinity.org has created a special section on its home page that provides dozens of resources that bring those lessons to life.

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's free comprehensive program and online portal to more than 55,000 educational resources, including grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans, and other student interactives provided in partnership with 11 of the nation's leading educational organizations.

Among the resources in the Thinkfinity.org Black History Month section are:

  • An Underground Railroad interactive online activity for students in grades 3-12. This resource, from National Geographic, allows students to take part in an interactive online journey through the eyes of a slave. The student begins his or her trek on the Underground Railroad, selecting different paths or answers that will help lead him or her to freedom, or back to the plantation. In addition, National Geographic's Xpeditions offers lesson plans to for use in conjunction with the interactive. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/railroad/index.html

  • Exploring the Power of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words through Diamante Poetry, a lesson plan for students in grades 9-12. This resource, from the International Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English's ReadWriteThink.org, allows students to explore how powerful words communicate the concepts of freedom, justice and discrimination in Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. This resource includes links to the video, audio and transcript of the speech. http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=258

  • Separate is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education, a collection of classroom activities for students in grades 4-12. This resource, designed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, takes students through an online exhibit that marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision that helped end segregation in public schools.  The exhibition features images, videos and objects from the museum's collection. Also included are two virtual field trips, six lesson plans and a bibliography that helps students understand the background of the case. http://americanhistory.si.edu/Brown/index.html

"Technology is a tremendous tool to bring the valuable lessons of the past alive today for all students," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "Through Thinkfinity.org and the wonderful resources provided by the nation's education authorities, teachers have quick access to dynamic resources that will engage and inspire their students."

Content for Thinkfinity.org is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Reading Association, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Council on Economic Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy Worldwide and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 66 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.