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Martin Luther King Day Activities

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you I will earn a small commission if you click through and purchase. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite ways to celebrate and commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These activities are great for MLK day, Black History month, or any time of year. Below I will share a few of my absolute favorite picture books that highlight his life and legacy, as well as my favorite place to find primary sources and lesson plans, a fun Reader’s Theatre, and of course a few of my favorite Freebies. Thanks again for being here.

 

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is a beautiful book that commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Because of the focus on his words, this book is the perfect companion to the free MLK Quote activity available here.

I Have a Dream: Book and CD 

Another beautifully illustrated book. This book is wonderful, it pairs Dr. King’s most famous speech with breathtaking illustrations. There is something so powerful about using a picture book in the classroom. This one is sure to captivate your students as they hear first hand the words that helped change and continue to change the nation.

Martin Rising: Requiem For a King 

It’s honestly hard to put into words how much I love this book. If you are looking for something that stirs something inside you, that brings life to the man that changed history forever. You need this book, your students need this book. “Andrea’s stunning poetic requiem, illustrated with Brian’s lyrical and colorful artwork, brings a fresh perspective to Martin Luther King, the Gandhi-like, peace-loving activist whose dream of equality — and whose courage to make it happen — changed the course of American history. And even in his death, he continues to transform and inspire all of us who share his dream.” The author refers to her writing as “docu-poems” because of the historical and educational nature of her words. Read the reviews, the book is a knock-out.

 Primary Sources Pack a Punch. 

Some of the most memorable and impactful lessons I have conducted or participated in were due to primary sources being used. Primary sources are an immediate, first-hand account of a topic or time. They could be photographs, journal entries, letters, speeches, newspapers, advertisements, clothing or other artifacts…etc. Thanks to the internet primary sources are as easy as a click away. My favorite tool for accessing documents from the national archives is Docs Teach.  Docs Teach is an online resource FREE to educators, meant for educators. Once you register you can search primary sources, explore already prepared activities, or even create your own and save it to the database. Get this… you can even share activities and sources to GOOGLE CLASSROOM. You’re welcome. ?

  • When using primary sources in the classroom remember to set expectations. Before the lesson talk to them about how to appropriately react to the sources being used. Notify them that some of the sources may stir their emotions and that it’s ok, in fact, it could even be the whole purpose of the lesson.
  • David Kilpatrick, a teacher from Washington gives a few examples of how he uses primary sources in his classroom:

Simply sharing his famous, “I Have a Dream Speech” is the perfect use of a primary source in the classroom.

Scholastic Reader’s Theatre: Non-violence on the Move. 

You’ll come to learn I love reader’s theatre and the enthusiasm they bring. This is a great script for 3-5 graders. Whenever there is a limited amount of characters or roles, I simply split the class in two, or smaller groups depending on the number of parts. I always figured it was better for the student to play two parts than a non-speaking one. Something that worked well with dividing out the parts in the scripts was to write the roles on the whiteboard, and then call out students and have them write their name next to the part they wanted. Then I would give each student a script and have them go through and highlight their parts. When we were finished I would hold on to the scripts to use year after year!

Explore Lesson Plans from the King Institute: 

I had to share this resource! An absolute wealth of quality lesson plans that focus on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his life, legacy, beliefs, the time surrounding him…etc. Most of the lesson plans are geared towards 6th grade-12 graders. However, there are a few lessons for elementary students as well. These lesson plans are another example of using primary sources in the classroom and using them WELL.

 

Click Here to Become a Member & Access Downloads 

His Words Changed a Nation: Free Crossword Activity  

This activity is one of my favorites. Honestly, it was a really awe-inspiring to put this resource together. I was blown away by his wisdom and grace. I felt like I had done him and myself a disservice by only ever reading or focusing on one incredible speech when there was SO. MUCH. MORE.  Students complete this activity by studying some of his most impactful words, then using those words to answer the prompts for the crossword.

This is a FREE and exclusive activity to subscribed to teaching members here at OnLemonLane.com Click on the link above to download. Remember signing up to be a member is free and easy peasy Lemon Squeezy!

 

 

His Words Changed a Nation: Quote Activity

This activity makes a wonderful companion to the crossword puzzle. In this activity, students use the same quote sheet they used/will be used to complete the crossword puzzle. Except for this time they select a favorite quote from the sheet, cut it out, and glue it to the response sheet. A response sheet is a place for students to answer prompts, break down any unknown words, and apply the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words. This activity drives for some really beautiful class discussion. Even the simple question as to why one quote was selected over another can be really inspiring. I’m confident both you and your students will leave better after this activity. Because that’s the type of influence and change his words brought about… and still bring about.

 

 

His Words Changed a Nation: Art Project.

The final free activity I have for you is this simple gridline art project. Simply project the example of the finished image for all of the students to see. Then have students do their best to recreate the image. Because the large picture is broken into grids, students will work on one square at a time. Thus, simplifying the big picture. When their picture is complete, they can add color, or ink, or other mediums. I have also left an area for the students to again write their favorite MLK quote. These make for a great display on the bulletin board, or in the hall.

This activity is available to members of On Lemon Lane. Not a member, Not a problem! Sign-up is FAST, FREE, and easy-peasy, LEMON-squeezy!

 

 

 

 

If you liked the activities above and want more, make sure to check out this post for ideas and activities for Black History Month. Here you will find more freebies and another On Lemon Lane member exclusive. You can also share your own ideas or join in on the discussion happening on the Teaching on Lemon Lane Facebook Group!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoy the activities listed, I would love to hear from you and how they go. I love to be tagged in your student’s work on Instagram! Happy Teaching!

To stay up-to-date on new blog posts, freebies, exclusive promo codes, and sales… Join the Teaching on Lemon Lane Community! Pick any or all of the following to stay in the loop of all things Teaching on Lemon Lane. 

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PSA:
April Fools’ Day is TOMORROW
I know many of you are coming off Spring Break, to lighten the load and add a little laughter to the classroom I quickly put together a fun and FREE activity/ joke to play on your class 💛 This impossible word search is in disguise as a #nationalpoetrymonth activity. Students will try and find words like stanza, verse, and rhyme... but won’t come up with a dime! 😉 They may however come up with words like tomfoolery, bogus, shenanigan, joke, buffoonery...etc 😂😂😂 Hope you and your class enjoy it, and this brightens your day! Tag me if you decide to use it, tags completely make my day! Comment below and I’ll DM you the link💛
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Are you using my FREE Pi Day Activity like• @sunnyinclass

This fun FREEBIE works with ANY circular treat and is such a fun activity for students to explore and calculate Pi on Pi Day!

Comment below if you want me to DM you the opt in link 💛
Thank so much for the tag @sunnyinclass 💛 I can’t wait to hear what your 5th graders think! #l

#piday #pidayactivities #pidayatschool #pidayintheclassroom #mathteacher #math #mathactivities #mathactivity #mathactivitiesforkids #5thgrademath #5thgrade #5thgradecollaborate #ediblemath #edibleactivities #foodintheclassroom #havefunteaching #havefunlearning
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Guys.... I’m not usually one to toot my own horn.... but 🎺 🎺. You HAVE to try this in your classroom. I racked my brain to come up with a pie recipe that didn’t require melting butter, a hand mixer, oven, or mess, that still incorporated math and fun. When plastic bags came to mind I couldn’t find anything that supported the idea of whipped cream in a bag but, in theory it should work.... IT. DOES. Every “piece” of that pie #punintended is made in a ziplock bag with ingredients that simply require measuring. Best part, it’s delicious. This is SURE to be a favorite and memorable activity with your class! 💛 be sure to tag me, I can’t wait to hear all about it!.

Link can be found in my story, or comment below for the link! Link includes the email opt-in for my March Freebie Bundle, that includes TWO no-prep Pi Day activities.
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Comment below if you plan to try this activity with your class tomorrow or comment if you’d like me to DM you the link to the Pi Day FREEBIE opt in 👊
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When an idea for an activity turns out EVEN better than you imagined?!
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Add a little spice to your Stuck in a Snow Glove activity! Your Upper-Grade students will LOVE this activity!
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If you already own this product head to your TPT account and re-download to access ALL the updates I made to this pretty little thing. Just when I thought I couldn’t love this one any more…
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❄️In short it’s MAGICAL❄️
Head to my story or link in bio for more info…
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How many days do you have left until winter break? Comment ⬇️
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I love the idea that the best way we can remember September 11 and #neverforget is to remember the love, and unity that was felt September 12th, and to strive to live that way each day.
On September 12th we were one nation under God.
Indivisible.
Seeking justice for all.
Love this beautiful depiction by @paigepayne_creations see her thoughts on September 12th below.
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“ And on September 12th, we all came together. We were one. My family was living in Scotland when 9/11 happened. It was everywhere, all over the news. In school the day after, we had a long moment of silence in remembrance of those who were lost. We continued to have an annual moment of silence every year after that. It was incredible that even thousands and thousands of miles apart, we were mourning with those that mourned. We were one. At that time, we all displayed what we are capable of. Even in the face of incomprehensible tragedy, humans are capable of immense love. Capable of setting aside differences and coming together as one. As we remember and pay tribute to the thousands of lives the were lost that day, let us also strive to be more like how we were on September 12, 2001. Full of love, understanding, and compassion for each other. “

This painting is inspired by a beautiful photo taken by @masseya ❤️

#911 #911memorial #9eleven #911remembrance #thetwintowers #neverforget #neverforgotten #unity #love
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💡🚨PSA:🚨💡
ATTENTION ALL TEACHER FRIENDS
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Tag your #teachertribe and every #firstyearteacher below for this important reminder:
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As you set up your classroom for the new school year, and start divvying out materials… Do no forget to set aside 2-4 new student kits.
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Just like @adifferentiatedclass (shown in picture) I made sets using Gallon ziplocks.
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If you are in a developing community with new housing I recommend a minimum of 4 bags 🙀
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What to include:
🍋Name-tag/Desk-plate
🍋If you adhere the plates to the desk, have a segment of what you use in the pack.
🍋Welcome Treat (same one you’ve given to each student at the open house/back to school...etc.
🍋Whatever else you’ve set aside for students that begin on the first day of school.
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📣📣📣There will likely come a day when without warning you will be notified you have a new student, and the student will start THAT DAY. Save yourself and your poor new student the stress of frantically trying to get everything set up, by preparing NOW.
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Veteran teachers what else do you include in your new student kits?? Share in the comments below⬇️⬇️⬇️
📸: @adifferentiatedclass
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How satisfying/ beautiful 😻 is this #classroomorganization tip by @the_organized_classroom
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Use paint swatches as a visual to help students sort supplies! Keep this is mind as you set up your classroom for the school year!
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HELP ME BRAINSTORM:
What’s a brilliant #teacherhack you’ve tried or seen done with paint swatches??? Comment below 👇
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I’ll leave mine in the comments!
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Guys… I had a baby 🥰 Almost 10 months ago 😳 I STRUGGLE to consistently show up on this platform, but know how happy I am that you are here!
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There are a lot of new faces around here so I thought we should take the time to get to know each other!
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PLEASE comment below with what we have in common, or something we will never see eye to eye with 😜
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A few things to know about me😬
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🍋 My name is Tara, I’m the creator behind @teachingonlemonlane
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🍋 Lemon was my maiden name and my love for all things lemon runs deep.
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🍋 I’m a fresh lemonade connoisseur, and will not touch store bought/ from the tap.
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🍋 My patronus is a wolf 🐺 #potterhead
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🍋 A piece of my heart will always be in #5thgrade and New Orleans
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🍋 I’m a novice flower gardener and LOVE to experiment with different blooms.
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🍋 Ben and I will celebrate our 10 year this year and have 3 kiddos under 5 💀
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🍋 Go Red Sox ⚾️
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🍋#bucketlist item: New Zealand, Hobbiton, ride the #nevisswing 😳
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🍋 Teaching item(s) I can’t live without…Binder clips😎 You should see what I can #macgyver with a couple clips… also, flair pens. #cliché 🤓
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YOUR TURN: Tell me something about you in the comments!
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To my dear teacher friends still in school, I've got a FREE Father’s Day project I think you will love! Those of you are home with kiddos of your own, consider this fun activity for your Father’s Day Celebration! This is a great #endofyearproject that doubles as a #fathersdaygift 💛🍋💛
This product is available in both a printable and digital version that’s completely editable through Google. If you have a student or child interested in Digital Design, this is a fun way to introduce and experiment with different design tools. Because there are so many different types of situations and circumstances when it comes to a father the words father or dad are never actually used. Which makes this the perfect card to give to any figure that has taken on that important role. Whomever that is, they should be celebrated!
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Need #bulletinboardideas for March.... I’ve got you👊 like almost all of my Bulletin Board Kits, they center around student work and are made up of EASY TO CUT, Editable 🙊, ready to print and assemble slides!
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Make sure to check out the Lucky Because Bulletin Board BUNDLE get ALL this for only $3.99☘️☘️☘️☘️ The Clover craft is the PERFECT craft for tomorrow!
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If you’ve followed me for long you know I love all things March and Irish ☘️ it’s in my blood 🙃
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My love of March shows in my resources, of all the months to have the most projects... March (of all the months???) is at the top of the list!
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I just added this CELTIC KNOT inspired Lucky Clover Craft and it turned out so fun! Use either the DIGITAL version and insert pictures into the leaves that represent why you’re lucky, or pick from one of the 18 different top layer options to create a beautiful clover like the one shown above! If you do go this route make sure to check out the EDITABLE bulletin board kit to really put these beauties on display!
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Do you love March? Why or why not? Drop a comment below 💛💛
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Selection Sunday and PI Day falling on the same day... Somebody pinch me. Two of my very favorites because of the projects you can start in your classroom 😍 Take for instance my March Math Madness PBL
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Think March Madness + Fantasy Basketball + Lots of Math + A sprinkle of ELA = Engagement & Excitement & Learning 💛🏀💛
Students are separated into the 4 divisions then work together to put together a new starting 5 from players in their division. #dreamteam Each round their individual players are awards point values for how they played. At the end of each round students will calculate their team’s total points and decide which dream team comes out victorious! There are some really great opportunities to see Math in action. There’s opportunity for measurement conversion, converting fractions to decimals, ordering decimals, ratios, mean-median-mode, adding and subtracting decimals, multiplying decimals...etc. This is quickly becoming another tried and true favorite in the classroom!
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Also if you think your too late to the table, the only thing you are late for is brackets! The dream team activity can be started before any round! Second round would actually be ideal 👊🏻👊🏻 LOTS of FREEBIE extensions for this product that can stand on their own! Head to the website for more details!
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