Let's start with a video! The video that I show each year, has animations as well as real images from newspapers and speeches. It does a really great job telling his whole story from where he was born to how he became an advocate for African American rights.
We then watch about half of his infamous "I Have a Dream" speech. It is important for students to hear him actually speaking. As we are learning all about him the rest of the week, they are able to picture him and understand the importance behind his words.
My students then partner up and they fill out a graphic organizer all about MLK. There are four different boxes on the organizer so they describe him, explain what he stood for, explain something he did during his life and also explain his dream. The questions are somewhat open ended so it is fun to talk about their answers when we get finished. All of the partners groups have varying answers and interpretations of the questions.
Want the graphic organizer? It is a freebie for you!! Grab it here.
A unit is never complete without a few picture books! Our favorites for MLK day are:
We then have a discussion about words that would represent Martin Luther King, Jr. My students always come up with some great ideas and we make a large list on the whiteboard. After we create a list that they could reference, it is on to the project. My favorite part.
I saw this idea on Instagram from @mrsille and I knew I had to do it with my class. I just love how they turned out. I found a silhouette of Martin Luther King Jr. on Google and just increased the size when I copied it. My kiddos cut it out and glued it onto the middle of a piece of blue construction paper. Then, using old magazines they hunted for words and phrases that described what type of man MLK was or what he stood for. As you can see, some of my students picked words and just found the individual letters to make the words. Here are some more examples:
How do you teach about Martin Luther King Jr.? I would love to find more ideas! Want to save these ideas for later? Pin one of the images below to save and share!