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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!

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“The influence of your personal testimonies is ever so far-reaching. The Lord instructed: “The testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you” (D&C 62:3). He also cautioned us: “With some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man” (D&C 60:2). You never know when your turn will come to comply with the admonition of Peter to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15).”
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Thomas S. Monson
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I’ve complied my FAVORITE inexpensive gift ideas for Father’s Day and created FREE printables for you to complete the gift! These are perfect and practical for the men in your life, and work great as a gift for the entire ward! -
What did your Ward do for Father’s Day this year?
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“I know the love of God. It is one of the very few things I do know with absolute certainty. I think suffering on this earth is an indication of God’s trust, God’s love. I think it is an indication that God does not want us to be simply obedient children playing forever under his hand, but wants us able to become more like himself. In order to do that we have to know reality. We have to be real ourselves and not dependent on externals. If we are to be like God, we cannot live forever in fear that we may meet something that will scare us or that will hurt us. We have to be able, as he is able, to meet what comes of others’ agency, and of living in a lawful universe that allows creation of a habitable planet only when it allows also the difficulties that come in natural operations of such a planet.”
-Francine R. Bennion
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“Now all this suffering might indeed be unfair if everything ended at death, but it doesn’t. Life is not like a one-act play. It has three acts. We had a past act, when we were in the premortal existence; and now we have a present act, which is mortality; and we will have a future act, when we return to God. … We were sent into mortality to be tested and tried [see Abraham 3:25]. … “Our past and present sufferings cannot, as Paul said, ‘be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ [Romans 8:18] in the eternities. ‘For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory.’ [D&C 58:4.] So tribulation is useful in the sense that it is helpful to get into the celestial kingdom”
-James E. Faust
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Reflecting on Father’s Day... it’s incredible to me that the Supreme Creator of the Universe chooses to be addressed as “Father”...
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. “Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend and, ultimately, a perfect being.” Robert L. Backman
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For whatever reason, I’ve had this false idea in my mind that when you are on the Lord’s errand, a path paved in smooth simplicity would be laid out before you… This simply isn’t the case. Consider Nephi’s path and the bumps and stumbling blocks placed in his way… Consider Abinadi and his ultimate sacrifice of meekness and obedience… Consider Joseph Smith and the reestablishment of the early Church… Now consider Alma the younger and his dealings with Ammoniahah… Looking ahead, look what happens to Amulek once he finally decides to “Know” the Gospel.

It’s so interesting to me that when the angel is sent to Alma to lift him up and send him back to Ammoniahah a key detail that in my mind would have eased Alma’s mind is left out. Notice how the angel made no mention of Amulek. There is no mention of comfort that someone has been prepared for you, and is waiting for you. Instead, Alma acts “speedily” not knowing what he will do, ACTING in faith, hoping that the Lord will provide a way.
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To me this illustrates the idea of the Lord’s hand cautiously guiding us even when we can’t see it. I’ve seen this concept in my own life, however, it isn’t until I have the hindsight of the future to look back and realize his hand was there all along. There is something to choosing to act on our own. Heading in the right direction, even though we don’t know how we will be delivered, having faith that we WILL be delivered.
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“Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load... [...]Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness... [...] Not only does the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcome the effects of the Fall of Adam and make possible the remission of our individual sins and transgressions, but His Atonement also enables us to do good and become better in ways that stretch far beyond our mortal capacities. Most of us know that when we do things wrong and need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives, the Savior has made it possible for us to become clean through His redeeming power. But do we also understand that the Atonement is for faithful men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully? I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this strengthening aspect of the Atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe we must carry our load all alone—through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities.” Excerpts from Bear Your Burdens with Ease, -Bednar ...

With there being a focus on Missionary work this week for Come Follow Me, and the fact that it isn’t always rosy… I thought a good addition to the lesson would be to write a letter to a missionary. Maybe this is a family member, a ward member, or someone new entirely, but a message from home can be an easy way to show support for those serving in the mission field. To help with this activity I created a fun and editable missionary letter template. The template should simplify the writing process and take the guesswork out of what to write. You can either type directly onto the slide, and print or email. Or you can begin by printing a hard copy and writing directly onto the page.

Use this with your family, your students, the primary, or young men| young women! This works great as a zoom call activity or fun activity at home! I’ve also included a link to inkablinka.com where Kristin has uploaded some awesome printables going over missionary letter dos and donts!
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Highlighting one of my most treasured scriptures this week. President Bednar said it best: “Thus, the Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities—but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us. There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14), He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” ...

To help you with your study this week, I’ve created a printable with all of the questions posed in chapter 5. (Around 50!) For me, this gives me something concrete, that I can hold, look at, and mark up. You will notice that many of the questions aren’t as simple as a yes and no, similar to many of the questions asked in Come Follow Me. I’ve left a space next to each question for you to use as you wish. Yes, it could be a place for a checkmark, but the more I grow, the more I learn that this is not a checklist Gospel. Rather, it’s growth, progression, and all about movement whether that be forward or backward. I wonder if you may even choose to “check” one of the questions that you choose to further study, ponder, or focus on for the week.
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I’d love to hear how you use this personal inventory, and any takeaways you have. Don’t forget to share this post with a friend!
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Recently I was asked to share my thoughts on the Come Follow Me program during the past few months for the LDS Website in the UK. @churchofjesuschrist -
Frankly speaking the invitation made me a little sick. My biggest fear is that it would seem like we were the perfect little family with the perfect little program in place, complete with cutouts and crafts, deep discussions and daily reflection....
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This couldn't be more from the truth. Yes, I do a weekly round up of ideas and resources for Come Follow Me that I publish on my website, but that doesn't mean that it always happens within my own home. When it does happen it typically looks like a bedtime story, or a video played while the kids eat lunch... When it does happen I often fall asleep while trying to catch up on last week’s reading... Most of all, when it does happen, I notice a difference within my home. This program is divinely inspired, the simple timing of everything amplifies it's divine origin to me. -
Art by @_thecoloramber one of the most beautiful illustrations of a family I've ever laid eyes on. Words fall short on this piece. It's my absolute favorite.
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You can read the article here:
https://uk.churchofjesuschrist.org/come-follow-me-during-lockdown?lang=eng-gb
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This quote stopped me in my tracks... Make sure to head to the website for this week’s Round up of FREE Come Follow Me Resources! This week’s lesson is based on @comefollowmefamily AWESOME idea to use bubbles and balloons to teach about pride. AND @davidbowmanart released another FREE Sample video from his Drawn In, Come Follow Me monthly subscription that I know you are going to LOVE! His videos are wonderful and go beyond just a retelling of the story by diving deep into application in a language the whole family can enjoy! This is the ONLY paid subscription I use for #comefollowme Head to the website now for all of this, a coupon code, and MORE! -
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What are your takeaways from Come Follow Me this week? Do me a favor and spread the love by sharing this post or tagging a friend in the comments!
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By now we all know I love all things Lemon... Lemonade is not exception. ESPECIALLY a good tart Lemonade like @chickfila Did you know you could buy it by the Gallon??? Stay tuned... FREE Father’s Day Printable Gift Tags and a list of well received/ inexpensive gift ideas to accompany them! Whether your looking to outfit the entire ward, or just a thoughtful gift for a few of your favorite men, this post will highlight some fun ideas! -
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COMMENT BELOW: What are some of your favorite inexpensive gift ideas for #fathersday
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“And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (Mosiah 27:25–26).
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”Conversion is a process, not an event. Conversion comes as a result of righteous efforts to follow the Savior. These efforts include exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end in faith. Although conversion is miraculous and life changing, it is a quiet miracle. Angelic visitations and other spectacular occurrences do not bring conversion. Even Alma, who saw an angel, became converted only after he “fasted and prayed many days” for a witness of the truth (Alma 5:46). And Paul, who saw the resurrected Savior, taught that “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 12:3).”
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Excerpt from LDS.org
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”Our behavior is nothing more than a reflection of the depth of our conversion to Jesus Christ." Ed J. Pinegar
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What has your behavior shown today of your conversion to Jesus Christ?
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Let’s talk FATHER’S Day... I’m getting ready to add a post on my favorite inexpensive gift ideas for #fathersday along with FREE & Thoughtful printables to complete the gift. So help me out... what are your FAVORITE ideas for budget friendly, visiting teaching friendly, give every man in the ward friendly GIFT IDEAS???
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Comment Below 💛🍋💛🍋
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This week in #comefollowme has me thinking a lot about the ripple effects of our choices. Consider the #rippleeffects of your Covenants. What about the ripple effect of Abinadi’s brave stand, or the ripples caused by Alma’s conversion. What choices are you making today, what ripple effect will they have tomorrow? ...

“What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it? The source is God. Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him. A covenant is an agreement between God and man, an accord whose terms are set by God (see Bible Dictionary, “Covenant,” 651). In these divine agreements, God binds Himself to sustain, sanctify, and exalt us in return for our commitment to serve Him and keep His commandments.”
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Head to the website to see this week’s round up of FREE, featured #comefollowme resources.
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