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January 15

In 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day.

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In 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day in 1929. Following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps, he was ordained as a minister in 1948. Dr. King became one of the most important leaders of the civil rights movement in the U.S., advocating a nonviolent approach to fighting for equal rights. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Listen to a recording of Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech and discuss the meaning of his words. This I Have a Dream lesson plan includes numerous discussion questions that can help guide class exploration of the speech.

Once students understand this speech, ask them how they would convey Dr. King's vision and character without using words. To get started, look at these photographs of Dr. King and historical events in which he was involved. What messages are these photographs communicating?

Using the photographs as a model, have students work in groups or as a class to create a mural that depicts their understanding of Dr. King's vision of peace. The Art and Activism unit from Tolerance.org includes lessons on planning, creating, and sharing murals that you can use to get your own class mural underway. Once the project is complete, display murals throughout your school to honor Dr. King.

WEBSITES

 

 
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

    On January 20, 2014, people throughout the world will honor the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Find out how to participate by making this holiday "a day ON, not a day off."

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. & the Civil Rights Movement

    The Seattle Times provides an extensive collection of resources including articles, transcripts, photos, and information about the holiday in King's honor.

  • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute

    Visitors to this extremely comprehensive site will find a chronology, encyclopedia, biography, videos, lesson plans, and more.

  • Citizen King

    This PBS American Experience website offers a collection of resources, including information on Dr. King's philosophy of non-violence, video clips, and an interactive map of U.S. Civil Rights hot spots. Also featured is a teacher's guide to the Citizen King documentary.

RELATED RESOURCES

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Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

I Have a Dream: Exploring Nonviolence in Young Adult Texts

Students will identify how Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of nonviolent conflict-resolution is reinterpreted in modern texts. Homework is differentiated to prompt discussion on how nonviolence is portrayed through characterization and conflict. Students will be formally assessed on a thesis essay that addresses the Six Kingian Principles of Nonviolence.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Analyzing Famous Speeches as Arguments

Students are often asked to perform speeches, but rarely do we require students to analyze speeches as carefully as we study works of literature. In this unit, students are required to identify the rhetorical strategies in a famous speech and the specific purpose for each chosen device. They will write an essay about its effectiveness and why it is still famous after all these years.

 

Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Living the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness

This lesson provides the “action piece” for any study of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In this project, students participate in Dr. King’s dream by doing 100 acts of kindness.

 

Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

How Big Are Martin’s Big Words? Thinking Big about the Future

Inspired by the book Martin’s Big Words, students explore information on Dr. King to think about his "big" words, then they write about their own "big" words and dreams.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

Every Punctuation Mark Matters: A Minilesson on Semicolons

Students analyze stylistic choices and grammar use in authentic writing, focusing on the use of the semicolon in Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Exploring the Power of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Words through Diamante Poetry

Students explore the ways that powerful and passionate words communicate the concepts of freedom, justice, discrimination, and the American Dream in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Entering History: Nikki Giovanni and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nikki Giovanni’s poem “The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.” is paired with Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, taking students on a quest through time to the Civil Rights movement.

 

Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Me: Identifying with a Hero

This lesson provides ideas for celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by encouraging students to explore the connections between Dr. King and themselves through journaling and inquiry-based research.