Remembering Dr. King, Jr.
This year we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 15. In his honor have your students read celebrated poet Eileen Spinelli's heartfelt ode to the dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Social Studies When honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., have students discuss peaceful marches. How can they accomplish anything? Plan a peaceful march for your class in your school. Select a cause, make signs and walk peacefully past the office. Send one spokesperson to the principal to request an opportunity to play with the older children for one day or the opportunity to play on a different playground for one day.
Read about the past winners of the Coretta Scott King Book Award. This award is presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Committee of the ALAs's Ethnic Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table. It is given to an African American author and an African American illustrator whose books, as stated on the ALA website, "promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream." The award commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and honors Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue her husband's work. To learn more, go to www.ala.org.
Another good book for your class to read is M.L.K.: Journey of a King by Tonya Bolden (Abrams, 2007). In this respectful and emotional biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the author, who won a 2006 Coretta Scott King Honor for Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl (Abrams, 2005), begins with Dr. King's assassination, imagining what he may have thought and felt in those final moments. Bolden writes with intimacy, referring to King as M.L. throughout the text and weaving in his own words to tell the story of his life. We learn of King's mentors in church and in college as well as his philosophical influences like Gandhi. Bolden captures the pain of segregation and the lives that were affected by bigotry and hate.
Write Your Own "I Have a Dream" Speech
Students use a fill-in-the-blanks work sheet to write speeches that imitate the form and content of Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Me: Identifying with a Hero
This lesson explores ways to help students make connections to Dr. King through reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities that not only provide a glimpse into Dr. King's life, but empower students to help bring Dr. King's dream into reality. Most important, it encourages them to dream their own dreams.
In this lesson, students explore the contemporary commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., research the positive impact another famous person has had on society and the images that best represent the actions and beliefs of that person, create an art exhibit honoring that person's legacy, and finally, write an essay analyzing the effect this individual has had on modern society.