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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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Following David Whitmer’s death the Richmond Conservator wrote:

“On Sunday evening before his death he called the family and his attending physician, Dr. George W. Buchanan, to his bedside and said, “Doctor do you consider that I am in my right mind?” to which the Doctor replied, “Yes, you are in your right mind, I have just had a conversation with you.” He then addressed himself to all present and said: “I want to give my dying testimony. You must be faithful in Christ. I want to say to you all that the Bible and the record of the Nephites, (The Book of Mormon) are true, so you can say that you have heard me bear my testimony on my death bed….”

“On Monday morning he again called those present to his bedside, and told them that he had seen another vision which reconfirmed the divinity of the “Book of Mormon,” and said that he had seen Christ in the fullness of his glory and majesty, sitting upon his great white throne in heaven waiting to receive his children.[6]“

The Richmond Democrat also added this comment:

“Skeptics may laugh and scoff if they will, but no man can listen to Mr. Whitmer as he talks of his interview with the Angel of the Lord, without being most forcibly convinced that he has heard an honest man tell what he honestly believes to be true.[7]“
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Do you follow @the.red.crystal ? Since stumbling across Crystal’s website, she continues to AMAZE me at the FREE and creative content she makes WEEKLY. I can’t wrap my mind around the commitment, time and talent she devotes each week. If this isn’t an example of sharing your talents to build up the Kingdom, I’m not sure what is.... Make sure to check out @the.red.crystal activities for the week! ...

Upper grade friends.... check this pretty little thing out. DIGITAL VALENTINE EXCHANGE!
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Head to my story for more details and a swipe up! Snag this while it’s still on sale 😱
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Students decorate their own box, and create Valentine cards using #figurativelanguage 😆 Here’s the kicker, students then EXCHANGE their cards with their classmates! I’ve been SO excited to share this with you! More details on the blog!
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Comment below if you want to try this out with your class❤️🤜🤛
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Oliver Cowdery, who was with the Prophet on this occasion, was filled with awe and wonder, for it was his first experience with a heavenly messenger. He wrote:

“On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the vail was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the gospel of repentance!—What joy! what wonder! what amazement! While the world was racked and distracted—while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertainty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld—our ears heard.
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Head to this week’s Blog Post to read the rest, and check out all of the AWESOME and FREE resources to supplement your Come Follow Me study this week!
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Have you joined the conversation in my story?? I want to know what are your FAVORITE resources for studying the Doctrine and Covenants through Come Follow Me! Comment below your new finds, your constant go to, and the fun finds a friend has recommended💛
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OR if you offer your time and talents to create resources for Come Follow Me, please comment below with a brief description of what you do!
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Comment below and tag the account!
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One of my favorite resources is this Journal edition D&C by @lineuponline this is actually what I gave both of my sisters for Christmas this year! What’s YOUR favorites, comment below 💛
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“So, clearly, this was not a quid pro quo in the development of the final Book of Mormon product. It was not tit for tat, this for that—you give me 116 pages of manuscript and I’ll give you 142 pages of printed text. Not so. We got back more than we lost. And it was known from the beginning that it would be so. It was for a wiser purpose. We do not know exactly what we missed in the 116 pages, but we do know that what we received on the small plates was the personal declarations of three great witnesses, three of the great doctrinal voices of the Book of Mormon, testifying that Jesus is the Christ. …

-Elder Holland
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Fear Not, Little Flock; Do Good. Has been on repeat in my mind since reading Doctrine and Covenants 6. It just felt so... Relevant.
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I decided to create a piece centered on the verses that felt so delicate and powerful all at the same time.
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This 24x36in print is available exclusively to Living on Lemon Lane members for FREE Download. It is meant to be printed as an engineer print (less than 5$) head to the website to learn more💛
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This week’s round-up of Free Resources for Come Follow Me is truly exceptional. I couldn't choose and I don't how you will. I'm especially excited to share videos from Doctrine and Covenants Central an organization with the vision and purpose of making D&C both comprehensible and defensible, and they are doing JUST. THAT.
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Head to this week’s blog post to learn more, make sure to tag a friend and share 💛
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Come Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Ideas and Activities FREE
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Love this “Translating” activity from @comefollowmefamily for Come Follow Me this week! Such a fun idea that's perfect for your older kiddos! Head to this week’s blogpost for this and other great FREE ideas to supplement your study! Thanks for sharing your talents and creativity @comefollowmefamily 💛 ...

Fear not; only believe. This is a time to make resolutions that will be binding upon you. This is a season to set standards that will hold you to the right course and make you happy now and in the years that follow. Remember, there is no happiness in wickedness. There is no happiness in sin. There is no happiness in disobedience. There is no happiness in going contrary to the teachings of the Church.

– Gordon B. Hinkley
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I’ve got ANOTHER one I couldn’t wait to tell you about! I stumbled across @colorwinkstudio page and was THRILLED when I found that Hadley had been creating BEAUTIFUL coloring pages for Come Follow Me! Each week Hadley shares a new illustration that corresponds with that week’s lesson! Though appropriate for any age, I feel like your “tweens” and above will really appreciate Hadley’s fresh new take on Come Follow Me coloring pages/ activities! Head to this weeks Come Follow Me Blog post for links to this and other awesome FREE Resources!
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Don’t forget to tag a friend or two that will LOVE to add these to their study!
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I’m so excited to share @savingtalents “Scripture of the Week” These weekly printables make my teacher heart SWELL💛💛💛 this is such great practice for your kinesthetic learners. Each week Tiffany creates both a cursive and print option of the corresponding verse of the week. Head to this week’s Come Follow Me post for links to these and other awesome FREE resources!
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Tag a friend below that will LOVE THESE
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😳 Be right back.... I’m off to read section 4 again, but slower 😬 Anybody else feel the same way after reading this quote?!
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“[Doctrine and Covenants 4] is very short, only seven verses, but it contains sufficient counsel and instruction for a lifetime of study. No one has yet mastered it. {…}Perhaps there is no other revelation in all our scriptures that embodies greater instruction pertaining to the manner of qualification of members of the Church for the service of God, and in such condensed form than this revelation. It is as broad, as high and as deep as eternity.

(Church History and Modern Revelation, – President Joseph F.Smith
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The most beautiful illustration by @paigepayne_creations Keep reading for some of the most powerful quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King’s powerful, “I have a Dream,” speech:
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“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.”
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“I have a dream that one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
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“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
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“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed — we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
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“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”
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“In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.”
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“When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
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🎉🎉VISION BOARD G.I.V.E.A.W.A.Y
YOU GUYS!!! This one turned out better than I expected 😍😍😍 EVERYONE NEEDS A VISION BOARD.
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This became more and more apparent as I created this product and researched the value in having one. Due to it’s late debut in the #goalsetting season you can snag it at 50% off (the lowest price it will EVER be).
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In a nutshell, you and your students will create a digital vision board that will act as a daily reminder when you set it as your computer, tablet, or smart phone’s new wallpaper or lock screen! I’ve created 26 EASY to use templates that create completely customizable and BEAUTIFUL designs, along with over 150 moveable “stickers” to make something truly eye catching (one of the requirements of an effective vision board) If that weren’t enough, I wanted to make sure you had the support materials to provide a really complete and educational project. So I’ve also included over 30 support activities, video tutorials, and extensions. Students will learns about vision boards, what makes them effective, the elements of a wellness, their circle of control, SMART goal setting.... and MORE! I know you are going to love this and so will your students. Even more, I know this has the potential to make a difference and lead to growth, and that is pretty satisfying. I’ve been working hard on this beauty and I NEED to get it in some classrooms!
Want this pretty little thing for you and a #teacherfriend for FREE???
🍋Like this post
🍋Tag a Teacher Friend
🍋Comment one thing you would put on YOUR Vision Board
🍋Share this post to your story for EXTRA Juju
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Looking for an activity that’s SURE to bring the spirit of Elijah into your heart while you study Doctrine and Covenants Section 2 for #comefollowme this week. I’ve got two @familysearch activities guaranteed to make your heart swell, both take less than 30 seconds, and absolutely no family history know how is required. Trust me, I’m as novice as they come.
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The first activity requires you to upload a picture of yourself, it will then calculate who you look like the most in your family tree! Sarah Mae Eden was a consistent front runner in my results, which sharing the same middle name Mae, felt extra serendipitous.
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Head to this week’s blog post for the second @familysearch activity idea and more details! Comment below who you look the most like, or tag a friend💛
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I was so excited when I saw @angiemaek had released a new song. (Composer of My Own Sacred Grove) I was even MORE excited when I realized it was about Family History, then I was the MOST excited when I realized this week’s Come Follow Me focused on Elijah’s promise to turn their hearts to their fathers 💛
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Head to this week’s blog post to listen! Thank you again @angiemaek for sharing your talents with us. Absolutely beautiful 💛
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This isn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, as I look back I can think of a handful of times where something similar has happened, in relation to preparing these posts or hoping they will come together.

You see, I’ve been praying, sometimes as a formal prayer, but mostly a plea from the depths of my heart, that Heavenly Father would help me to figure out how to make these weekly posts work. Because genuinely, I WANT to do them. They are good for my soul. However, putting these posts together takes a lot of sacrifice in the sense of time and dedicated thought, which as a mother with 3 young children, and a business on the side, time and dedicated thought are two of my most precious and rare resources....
(Head to this week’s post to keep reading 💛)
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Did you catch this week’s free printables and activities for Come Follow Me?! This coloring page of Joseph Smith and Emma, melts my heart.
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Side Note: Who has used @familysearch Famous Relative app? It’s the PERFECT family activity for this week with the focus being on #familyhistory
You may be asking what this little side note has to do with this coloring page... well through the #familysearch I found I’m related to BOTH Joesph and Emma!
Head to this week’s blog post for more information and a link to the activity, then comment below with a famous relative In YOUR family tree!
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Did anyone else see @latterdayfamily suggestion for recreating the first vision using rocks! Such a fun and creative idea💛 She used Canvas, making it a durable piece of art that can be displayed for the year. Absolutely LOVED this idea.
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Head to the blog for more ideas for this week’s Come Follow Me Lesson
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