Martin Luther King Jr. was a courageous man who fought for civil rights. This year Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, January 17, 2011. Help commemorate the holiday with these educational activities for elementary students.
Write an I Have a Dream Speech
Dr. King’s “I have a Dream Speech” is a famous speech. In this lesson, students will write an “I have a Dream Speech.” This activity is geared towards fifth and sixth graders. Students should first watch the I have a Dream Speech. Then, discuss some of King’s dreams. Ideas like equality, freedom and rights should be discussed. Next, students need to write their own “I have a Dream Speech.” Students should focus on dreams they have for the world, their community, friends, family and school. The speech should have a common theme like the dream to erase hunger or stop bullying. Give students a graphic organizer to organize their thoughts. A web, concept map or spider graphic organizer are all good choices. Keep it simple and have students write five to ten sentences. For third and fourth graders, give them this simple organizer that helps them write the speech.
“I Have a Dream” Banner
This lesson is for primary aged children, grades one to three. First, begin a KWL chart about Martin Luther King Jr. Ask students who Martin Luther King Jr. is? Also, why is he important and what were some of his beliefs? Take responses and fill in the first column on the KWL chart. Next, ask students what they would like to know about King? Have children read a short story about Martin Luther King Jr. Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a good choice for younger children. It written by Doreen Rappoport and has received a Caldecott honor along with other awards. When finished with the book, fill in the final, what have I learned column on the KWL chart. Finally, students will complete the I Have a Dream Banner from scholastic.com. Have students color and decorate the banners.
Happy Birthday Dr. King
Celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday by having a birthday party. Read students, Happy Birthday Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo. This book is most appropriate for kindergarten to third grade. To prepare for the party, students should make Dr. King birthday cards. Or ask students to write about why we celebrate Dr. King’s Birthday. Bring in a cake with Happy Birthday Dr. King written on it and sing happy birthday.
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.