Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every year, regardless of the grade I teach, I begin the new year celebrating and honoring famous Americans. This social studies unit will occur throughout the next 6 to 8 weeks. We will begin the unit by learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders. I love to use music in the classroom. For this unit, I will use two songs from Greg and Steve; Love Is and A Man Named King.
Holidays & Special Times

Love Is tells about different ways we can show and express love. Although not completely related to MLK, Jr., I think it is a fitting song to go along with this topic. A Man Named King is a beautiful song which tells of his life and work through moving lyrics. Towards the end of the song, there is a clip of one of King's famous speeches. It always brings silence and awe as my students listen to his words.

I plan to spend much of the time using Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King as our shared reading during social studies.
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. (Scholastic Bookshelf) 
For several years, I have had children draw their own illustrations to go along with the words from this book.  Depending on my class size, I have students work individually or in pairs.  I think about which portion of the book I will have them illustrate based on their skill level and understanding of the topic.  Here are a few samples from students ranging in kindergarten to third grade. 

 (This student was learning to copying print.) 
(I like the detailed stadium effect this student created.)

(Look closely at this picture. Notice the tears in the eyes of the child as his mother drags him away.) 

This year, I plan to do something new.  I would like the students to comprehend the vocabulary in the book so I have created a vocabulary book for them to illustrate.  As we become more familiar with the text and subject, I hope to have children and I discuss the words and their meaning.  Then, each day we will draw or write a picture to represent what that word means.  At the end of the unit, we will use this information to write a paragraph about Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Here are the documents I've created to go with these lessons.  Hope you can use them.  If you do, please let me know how it went.  I'd love to see your student learning!

Happy Teaching and Learning!

1 comment

  1. I love this song, too. I use it on my SMARTBoard lesson of MLK. I also include Martins Big Words from United Streaming.


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