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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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#givethanks 3:7
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I'm grateful for refinement. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to be a little better everyday. Though my growth pattern is for every step forward there's a few steps back, somehow, over time, minuscule little by minute little, there's been progress. Though I don't see it in the day to day, I do see it in the years gone by and though it is slow, and the curve to my chart is gradual, it's there. I know this is due to Christ’s enabling Grace, available through His atonement. I don't think I'll ever quite have the words, the comprehension, or the understanding to adequately express my gratitude for this.

Art by one of my very favorites Emily Shay
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Had to share Emily’s words when she debuted this piece, ”The Refiner’s Fire.”
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”...And yet, considering a piece of rough ore- a rock encased with minerals naturally contains impurities. However with those impurities, it also carries within it precious metals such as silver and gold. For the refiner to create something out of that piece of ore, he needs to begin the refining process by breaking the ore with a heavy hammer. The ore then must be exposed to the refiner’s fire, with temperatures as high as 900-1000 degrees Celsius, in order to burn away the impurities and reveal the precious metal inside.
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Could there be a gold and silver lining to the trials we are experiencing? By clinging to hope, persevering in faith and trusting in the Master Refiner’s perfect plan, we are refined in the fire.

In this painting there are a few things I’d like to point out:
⁃ with the support of Jesus Christ and heaven raining down tender mercy to keep her from burning, she is safe, cool and unconsumed.
⁃ by accepting such love and support, this brings new growth – beautiful fiery growth.
⁃ Christ’s halo is made of all colors of the flame, as he takes on every and all the impurities.

“I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zech. 13:9”
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(Continued in the comments)
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“Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf ...

#givethanks 1:7
I've contemplated today what I would share and though I have SO much to be grateful for... There was no, ”aha!” ”that’s it!” moment!
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As I opened my photos to find a pretty picture to share I found a stream of these images from this morning that made me smile. It's not the picture perfect post, but it's our reality.
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Our reality is made up of a messy house, (that was cleaned today by the best daddy despite working full time from home.
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Our reality is made up of a boy that drags Alexa around from room to room to listen to his music like Chris Stapleton, or Jon Pardi way too loud.
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Our reality is made up of kids having more screentime than they should /taking pictures on mom's phone, left to fend for themselves or run to nana’s house.
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Our reality is a big sister giving her 8week old baby sister her brother’s medicine/ call to poison control...
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Our reality is an exhausted momma, wearing spit up as perfume, in an inside out nightgown, with who knows how long it's been since a brush has been in her hair, hair.
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Our reality is messy, and in the moment I'm not often thinking of how grateful I am for the mess.
But looking at this picture while the kids are sleeping sound... it’s like looking at things through a different lens.
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I'm grateful for the mess.
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LOVING this FREE coloring page to use with this weeks #comefollowme lesson. Head to the website for the link to this instant download and others 💛 ...

“There is no medication or operation that can fix the many spiritual woes and maladies that we face,” President Nelson said. “There is, however, a remedy—one that may seem surprising—because it flies in the face of our natural intuitions. Nevertheless, its effects have been validated by scientists as well as men and women of faith. I am referring to the healing power of gratitude.” – President Nelson ...

FUN & Free Download to help you brainstorm and get into an attitude of gratitude as you participate in @russellmnelson #givethanks challenge! Head to the website for this week’s #comefollowme weekly FREE Resource Roundup ...

Repost• @comefollowmedaily
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Sometimes I wonder, how did the Jaredites do it?

How did they have the faith and courage to step in those barges with everyone they loved, leaving behind their home, stability, and any semblance of control.

No steering wheel to steer. No sail to direct. No windows to see. No air source in the depths. No idea where they were going. No idea how long it would take. No idea if they had enough food.

No game plan but prayer.

Can you imagine those moments where they were running out of oxygen in the depths of the sea, praying fervently that the Lord would lift them in time? Because I’m sure they were imagining it as they stepped into that barge.

How did they do it?
The answer, I believe, is that God had prepared them.

Ether 2:6 says of their journey, “And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.”
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They had done this before. They had been in the barges. They had crossed over many waters, and had felt God direct them continually.

They knew God was with them. So, when their greatest challenge came, they were prepared.

How has God prepared you for your challenges today? What smaller waters have you already crossed to prepare you for the ocean you are now in?

Or, what smaller waters are you crossing right now to prepare you for the oceans ahead?

Remember, “God has already prepared the way. He is just preparing you.” (Tangie Ambrose).

Art by @yongsungkimart
Thanks to my friend, Becky Rowley, for the conversation that inspired this post ❤️
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Have you ever lost something, looked EVERYWHERE, all the while telling yourself “You don’t need to pray,” “YOU can find it,” ” We’re not to that point yet…” Only to get to the point of offering a desperate prayer, to find the thing you were searching for moments later, likely in a place you had already looked. This has happened to me more times than I care to admit. From my wedding ring to my only set of car keys. As I reflect on those little miracles or moments of God showing me His hand, I think those moments carry more weight because I left myself to my own devices for so long. I knew when I sheepishly found them after praying that the finding was outside of my own capabilities. Again I think this was an example of my own veil of disbelief.

According to President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973), the Lord’s question was similar to saying the following:

“‘Well, have you any good ideas? What would you suggest that we should do in order to have light?’ …

“Then the Lord went away and left him alone. It was as though the Lord were saying to him, ‘Look, I gave you a mind to think with, and I gave you agency to use it. Now you do all you can to help yourself with this problem; and then, after you’ve done all you can, I’ll step in to help you.’”
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“Sometimes the only thing separating us from the blessings we seek is our own “veil of unbelief,” and if we can “rend that veil” (Ether 4:15), we may be surprised by what the Lord is willing to do for us.”
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This excerpt from Come Follow Me this week really struck me. As I thought about what it meant, I realized that too often I had fallen victim to my own disbelief sometimes in the simplest ways and moments. I think in part it’s how my “natural” mind works. I’m quite an anxious person and my mind always puts things in worst-case scenario, that way when best-case or mildly-acceptable case come along I feel prepared and even happy with the outcome. I think it’s a survival mechanism. Whatever it is, it’s the default setting for my brain.
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An instance that sticks out to me happened about a year ago. A dear friend of our family was going through cancer treatments for a cancer that he had beat once already. Things looked pretty bleak. My family had helped to organize a fundraiser that I was quite involved with. I did everything within my power to make things ok. Notice I did everything within MY power.
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My husband and I were headed to the temple to do sealings with some of his old mission companions and mission president. As we drove to the temple I broke down filled with dread and hopelessness as our friend’s battle with cancer seemed to take another drive.
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This brought the question… What’s the point? What’s the point in praying, if God already knows the outcome. Because God knows the outcome and it’s ultimately His will why even pray….. (read the rest on this week’s Come Follow Me Blog Post)
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Comment below your thoughts, I’d love to hear what you think💛
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Fun Object Lesson for #comefollowme this week:
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Mormon and Moroni had faith that their actions, work, and sacrifice would bring about beauty for tomorrow.

What are you doing today? What seeds are you planting, or in my case SHOULD be planting? What is something you can do today that will bring about a more beautiful tomorrow?

If you are looking for a way to solidify this idea, it just so happens to be the perfect time to plant bulbs. Tulips and daffodils are one of my absolute FAVORITES.

If you’ve never planted bulbs before here are a few tips:

🌷Plant in a spot where it will receive full sun, or afternoon sun.
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🌷Tulips prefer well-drained soil.
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🌷Planting before a freeze is optimal, however, you will still have great chances with planting your bulbs in the winter. Tulips are surprisingly hardy.
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🌷The larger the bulb, the deeper it will need to be planted. Larger bulbs need to be planted around 6-8inches deep.
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🌷When you plant the bulbs the pointy side needs to be pointed up.
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🌷Leave them to their own devices and have faith that March will be made more beautiful because of your efforts!
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this! Make sure to comment below.

As you plant, consider making a commitment to the figurative seeds you can plant and care for each day. Come March, when your tulips bloom, reflect on your actions and document the beauty that came because of your actions.
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“To gain unshakable faith in Jesus Christ is to flood your life with brilliant light. You are no longer alone to struggle with challenges you know you cannot resolve or control yourself, for He said, ‘If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me’ (Moroni 7:33; italics added). – Richard G. Scott ...

You may not know this about me, but I love gardening, especially flower gardens. I’m no good at it, and again my good intentions outdo any action on my part, leaving an often neglected and overgrown sight, however, I still love it and love learning, reading, and experimenting with different blooms.

One of my favorite ideas/thought process about gardening is the idea of planting seeds is a demonstration of faith. The ACTION of planting the seeds and caring for them demonstrates your belief or hope in the beauty that may come tomorrow.

As I read the heading form Come Follow Me this week, I was immediately reminded of this idea.

“Mormon and Moroni had faith that their record would inspire those living in the latter days. As you read Mormon 7–9, write the impressions that come to you about how you can apply what you are learning. “

Mormon and Moroni had faith that their actions, work, and sacrifice would bring about beauty for tomorrow.

What are you doing today? What seeds are you planting, or in my case SHOULD be planting? What is something you can do today that will bring about a more beautiful tomorrow?
📷: @spellandtell
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Have I Seen the Hand of God? FREE printable, November Gratitude Challenge.
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This fun download can be completed digitally by typing into one of the 30 squares each day for the month of November, or print out the page and write in one of the spaces each day.
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“I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.” […] I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?”

-Henry B. Eyring
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New post with FREE Printable for #comefollowme this week! It’s all about making the effort o see the Lord’s hand in our lives every day. Download the November Gratitude Challenge and be ready to start come November 1st💛
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Art by Sammie Rose
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Gracelyn Jo
(See Full Picture in Profile)

“Grace is different from the Atonement. It is not Christ’s suffering, death, and Resurrection. Instead, grace is the power that flows from those sacred moments...”
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“Grace is different from the Atonement. It is not Christ’s suffering, death, and Resurrection. Instead, grace is the power that flows from those sacred moments.
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“The Bible Dictionary states, "Grace is an enabling power.”
-Brad Wilcox, His Grace is Sufficient
...

Gracelyn Jo
(See Full Picture in Profile)

“Grace is different from the Atonement. It is not Christ’s suffering, death, and Resurrection. Instead, grace is the power that flows from those sacred moments...”
-
“Grace is different from the Atonement. It is not Christ’s suffering, death, and Resurrection. Instead, grace is the power that flows from those sacred moments.
-
“The Bible Dictionary states, "Grace is an enabling power.”
-Brad Wilcox, His Grace is Sufficient
...

Gracelyn Jo
(See Full Picture in Profile)

“Grace is different from the Atonement. It is not Christ’s suffering, death, and Resurrection. Instead, grace is the power that flows from those sacred moments...”
-
“Grace is different from the Atonement. It is not Christ’s suffering, death, and Resurrection. Instead, grace is the power that flows from those sacred moments.
-
“The Bible Dictionary states, "Grace is an enabling power.”
-Brad Wilcox, His Grace is Sufficient
...

Had to share Emily’s post and this piece titled “The Refiner’s Fire”

@emilyshayart 2020 has been a YEAR.
Personally, it tops the charts.
My family has been drastically and painfully altered, bringing overwhelming heartache.

And yet, considering a piece of rough ore- a rock encased with minerals which naturally contains impurities. With those impurities, it also carries within it precious metals such as silver and gold. For the refiner to create something out of that piece of ore, he needs to begin the refining process by breaking the ore with a heavy hammer. The ore then must be exposed to the refiner’s fire, with temperatures as high as 900-1000 degrees Celsius, in order to burn away the impurities and reveal the precious metal inside.
God refines us by allowing us to go through painful trials and difficulties. One might think, “What is the purpose of letting Their children suffer if They truly love us?” Is it possible- one way to look at this allegory is to help us understand the purpose beyond our pain- to expose and purify the greatness within?
Could there be a gold and silver lining to the trials we are experiencing? By clinging to hope, persevering in faith and trusting in the Master Refiner’s perfect plan, we are refined in the fire.

In this painting there are a few things I’d like to point out:
⁃ with the support of Jesus Christ and heaven raining down tender mercy to keep her from burning, she is safe, cool and unconsumed.
⁃ by accepting such love and support, this brings new growth – beautiful fiery growth.
⁃ Christ’s halo is made of all colors of the flame, as he takes on every and all impurities.

“I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zech. 13:9

“Adversity should not be viewed as either disfavor from the Lord or a withdrawal of his blessings. Opposition in all things is part of the Refiner’s Fire to prepare us for an eternal celestial destiny.” -Quintin L. Cook

“God would not put you through a refiner’s fire if you were not worth refining.” -Brad Wilcox
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We’re BACK! Thank you so much for your kindness and patience as we took a brief pause to prepare for and welcome our sweetest new addition. THANK you to so many of you who reached out and checked in on us, to know that you have looked forward to and used these posts and even missed them...made me eager to return. ...

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