5 Martin Luther King Activities That Promote Cooperation
If you’re looking for an activity that honors the history and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., try one of these five engaging activities in which students learn about collaboration, teamwork, and looking beneath the surface.
1. Make an “I Have a Dream” digital story or slideshow, that showcases kids’ pictures (or artwork) and voice. Students write or draw on an oversized thought or speech bubble.
2. Rainbow Trading Game: Show students that by working together as a small community, they can get things they need, by playing the Rainbow Trade Game. Give each student a bag of cut up squares of a single color. Kids go around the room trading one of their colored squares with their peers, until they have each color of the rainbow.
3. Don’t judge a book by its cover: Draw MLK portraits. Kids see beauty beneath the surface.
4. High 5 Handprints: You can’t create secondary colors without help from the primary colors. Have students paint one hand one of the primary colors. Then, have them high five a buddy who has a different primary color and slap it on some paper! What happened?! Their teamwork created a new hue!
5. As a class, brainstorm ideas of ways you can work together and help out your local community.
10 Ways to Foster Generosity in Your Students
Maya Angelou once wrote, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” Helping students feel empathy for others and respond with generosity is a trait that we as teachers can foster in our classrooms. Through volunteerism, communication strategies and in-class lessons, students can learn what an important role they can play in their communities and as global citizens. Here are some simple, fun classroom projects you can use to get the ball rolling:
1. Have your students keep gratitude journals.
The simple act of writing down those things for which they are grateful can have a profound effect on your students. Robert A. Emmons, PhD, recognized as the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude psychology, explains why: “Writing…allows you to see the meaning of events going on around you and create meaning in your own life.” Through acknowledgment and thankfulness for the good in their lives, students who keep gratitude journals will be inspired to share further good with others. It doesn’t have to be every day, but consistency matters. Weekly writing of three to five items for which they are grateful, and reflection over past entries, can inspire positive change
5 Books for Teaching About… Martin Luther King
1. Martin Luther King JR. Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays)
Following the well-known and much-loved Rookie Books format, these fun and informative books introduce early elementary-school children to the basic facts about major holidays. Each book explains the development of the holiday and how it is celebrated today, and includes holiday games, traditions, crafts, and foods.
2. My Dream of Martin Luther King (Dragonfly Books)
Now in Dragonfly–from the acclaimed creator of the Caldecott Honor Book Tar Beach comes a personal and captivating portrait of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.
This book tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr. in a way that even very young children will understand. This simple but accurate account of his life begins with King’s childhood, making it easy for little ones to relate to his story. Children will learn that he excelled in school, became a minister, and worked to end segregation in America. This book, with only about 200 words accompanied by delicate watercolors, is a great way for parents to begin to teach their children about this inspirational historical figure. Ages 2-5.
4. Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. (Scholastic Bookshelf)
This book is a beautifully-rendered study of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, told in simple, straightforward language for even the youngest of readers to understand. Pinkney’s scratchboard and oil pastel illustrations convey both the strength and gentleness of King’s character. Both text and art carry his central message of peace and brotherhood among all people.
5. If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King
- When did the civil rights movement begin?
- Were children involved in civil rights protests?
- What was the March on Washington?
This book tells you what it was like during the exciting era when Martin Luther King led the fight against segregation.