After a couple weeks, and a much needed Winter Break, we headed back to school last Tuesday. We only had a 4 day week that first week back. With it being a shorter week, switching things up in my reading block a bit, and wanting time to review procedures, I decided not to do our regular reading routines and curriculum. Instead, I introduced Martin Luther King Jr. to the kids. As luck would have it, we were in school on MLK Day and so we made sure we spent some time talking about Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy.
To begin, I did my annual reading of Martin’s Big Words. After we finished reading, we discussed how Dr. King used his words to create positive change in our country, and how he often spread messages of love. I then challenged my students to think of what they can do to create a positive change in our classroom, and community. I tied everything into bullying because it’s something the kids can relate to and have seen in their daily lives. We turned it into a Pop Art bulletin board in our room with students declaring how they could make a positive change.
To see all of the details on how we set it up, and how you can recreate it in your classroom click here to head over to the Ellison Education blog to see the information.
We then started reading about Dr. King with a much more complex text than Martin’s Big Words. This three page biography goes through Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood, to his work with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and to his meetings with President Kennedy. We’ve been practicing close reading with the text as well.
Not only are students interacting with a complex text, but the comprehension questions really require the students to go back to the text to find evidence to support their answers. The questions are inferential, so it really helps stretch the students. With testing season just a few weeks away, we really need to practice test taking skills in relevant and meaningful ways to help prepare the students, so I love my students are getting that practice without it feeling like we’re doing “test prep”.
You can download this Martin Luther King Jr. freebie from my TpT store by clicking below.
If you like this Martin Luther King biography, it’s part of my larger African-American Heroes set. It includes 8 other African-Americans who were and are heroes in their own right. Each biography includes real photographs, and constructed and extended response questions for each text. It looks at lesser known heroes like Dorie Miller, who stepped up during one of our nation’s largest crises, Pearl Harbor. It also contains biographies for more well known heroes like Rosa Parks..
You can get this unit by clicking here or the images above or below to head to my TpT store.
I’d love to hear other ideas for how you incorporate Dr. King’s memory into your classrooms. We’re going to continue to talk about him the next couple weeks and then continue going through and studying people like Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, The Little Rock Nine, and Madam C.J. Walker (which is really relevant for my kids since we’re in Indiana).
How do you teach Dr. King in your classroom?
I’m also linking up for Hump Day Highlight with Mrs. Stanford’s Class.