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Lesson Plan

Living the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness

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Living the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time Introduction: 50 minutes; thereafter: 15 minutes per session, for one month
Lesson Author

Devon Hamner

Devon Hamner

Grand Island, Nebraska


National Council of Teachers of English



From Theory to Practice



After studying about Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he believed in, students need the chance to apply those lessons. Students count the days between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Valentine's Day and are challenged to complete 100 acts of kindness during that time. They brainstorm examples of kind acts they could do and discuss how to report acts of kindness they witness. They also select a service project to plan and complete together as a class. For the project's duration, acts of kindness are tracked on a classroom chart. Students are encouraged to acknowledge kind acts by others through thank you notes, and families are encouraged to help report acts of kindness. The project culminates with a Valentine's Day celebration.

Though the lesson describes activities that take place between Dr. King's birthday and Valentine's Day it can be adapted to take place any time of year.

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In their book Mosaic of Thought, Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmermann discuss the importance of making text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections (55). Not only does this process increase comprehension, but these connections also make the new learning meaningful, relevant, and engaging.

The first connection our young students make to what they read and hear is the connection to themselves. When students make these connections, what they read and hear has meaning for them in view of their own life experiences and prior knowledge. This significance comes when they "relate unfamiliar text to their prior world knowledge and /or personal experiences" (55). This is our goal as we introduce young students to history: to engage them fully and deeply in the story of real people like themselves, helping them building connections between their own lives and the lives of the people they are studying.

The primary goal of this lesson is the third way to make connections-text-to-world. Students take what they learned about Dr. King and become actively involved in the process of making Dr. King's dream a reality in their own lives and the world they live in.

Further Reading

Keene, E.L., & Zimmermann, S. (1997). Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


Moss, Joy. 2002. Literary Discussion in the Elementary School. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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