1-2-3 Come Do Some More Martin Luther King Day Activities With Me
There is a ton of new vocabulary involved with MLK. To help with that, I made a list of 62 - words that relate to Dr. King, that students will undoubtedly come across while reading.
To help build their vocabularies, select whatever words you'd like your students to learn, and have them add the words to their MLK Dictionary, where they write, define and use the word in a sentence.
The packet includes 2 different covers (for upper and lower el), a list of 62-MLK-related words + 62 trace and write word cards. Click on the link to view/download the MLK "My Words" dictionary.
Another way to immerse your students with this new vocabulary is by searching for words in a word find. I've designed 2 word searches for Martin Luther King Day (1 for lower el, as well as an upper el version).
Students search for words from left to right and top to bottom. Tell students to start with the first word and look for the initial letter, as well as chunks of letters. They will undoubtedly come across other words while they do that.
Have them highlight the words that they find, as well as cross those words off the list. Work from left to right first, and then any words that they haven't found will probably be from top to bottom.
Word searches are great for Daily 5 Word Work, early finishers, sub folders or a fun homework assignment. Click on the link to view/download the Martin Luther King Day Word Searches.
If you'd like to see a list of my favorite quotations of Martin Luther King, click on the link. Make an overhead of the quotes. Have students pick one or two of their favorites to write about; or throug out the month of January, write one of MLK's inspirational quotes on the board. As a Daily 5 activity, have students record the quote in their writing journals and then comment on it.
For a fun "craftivity" and interesting MLK bulletin board, have students choose a thought-provoking quote and design a poster around it. Before you hang them up, have students carry their posters in a peaceful mock-march down the hallways of your school or around the playground.
I thought it would also be fun to challenge students to think of as many words as they could, using the letters in Martin Luther King. This would make a nice Daily 5 word work activity.
I've included a list of 525 words that I thought of. While I was making my list, I thought how appropriate that many of these words could be directly associated with Dr. King's life. i.e he was a great man, and gave the ultimate sacrifice, so I decided to assign the extra assignment of having students highlight the words they thought of, that were relevant to MLK's life. Click on the link to view/download the Martin Luther King Word Challenge.
Part of the reason it's difficult for children to understand these terms, is because in their unrealistic little world, where everything seems "fair" they are unable to comprehend what prejudice of the 60's was like.
To help them understand, I define the new words and then give them examples that they can personally relate to. Children are all about fairness. It's extremely frustrating for them when things are not fair. "No fair; I had it first." "That's not fair; he cheated." etc.
A teacher today would never dream of cruelly excluding a group of children from a treat, activity or whatever, based on the color of their skin. Children have become secure in the fact that they are treated equally in the classroom.
With this in mind, I defined discrimination and prejudice to my wide-eyed Y5's, and explained that I would show them what this meant by giving the girls a star sticker, but not the boys.
The boys are always more verbal than the girls, so I started this way. Do this quickly to avoid too much agitation. Inevitably a child will say: "That's not fair." I then agreed and asked the boys how they felt. We discussed how mean and wrong discrimination and prejudice was.
I then gave the boys the star sticker as well, but while I passed out the stickers, I also gave them a lollipop, but I did not give the girls one. The rolls were reversed.
EVERY year I had at least one little girl give a sad little boy her sticker, and at least one little boy who gave their lollipop to a sad little girl. You will find that most of your students are extremely empathetic to the feelings of their classmates.
They desire harmony and peace in their classroom. It is this desire for equality and fairness through nonviolent measures, that drove 1,000's to follow Dr. King.
I quickly passed out the lollipops to the girls, and while everyone slurped away, we continued to discuss how we felt, when we were deliberately left out, and how awful it must have been for children during that time period. I have them raise their right hand and promise to treat others fairly and then we read a few stories to help them further comprehend.
Dr. Seuss' story The Sneeches, is a perfect example of how ridiculous discrimination is. My Y5's LOVED this book and the discussion afterwards, was always extremely animated, as they shared their feelings.
The gist is that some Sneetches have stars on their bellies and some don't. The ones with the stars feel they are superior.
If you'd like to do some star activities with your kiddo's, Pure Fun, one of our affiliates, have awesome sparkle star stickers. There are 400 in a pack for only $2.17, and come in 7 assorted sparkly colors.
I checked out YouTube to see if they had a video of The Sneeches and found several. Click on the link to take a look at this short 12-minute full-version of The Sneeches! I think your kiddo's will really enjoy it.
After your students have learned a bit about Dr. King, have them show their knowledge by making an MLK Flip For Facts booklet.
I've included a list of kid-friendly websites, a page of mini photographs + a list of fun facts to help.
Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN away.
"We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always right to do right." -Martin Luther King Jr.