Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
by Judie Haynes
Give your English Language Learners "Big Words" that represent "Big Ideas." The third Monday in January is a federal holiday to remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to honor the principles he stood for: Justice, equality, freedom, and peace.
The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Proficiency/Grade Level:Grades 2-8; High Beginning to Advanced students.
Social Studies concepts: Fight for civil rights in the United States
Boycott, peace, freedom, justice, prejudice, march, demonstrate, racial equality, discrimination,
Books about Martin Luther King, Jr. which are appropriate to age of students. Internet resources on Martin Luther King.
This topic was taught over a wide range of grade and ability levels in four different ESL groups. I read Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport to my second, third and fourth grade students.Fifth and sixth grade students read information from the internet. One resource is a Golden Legacy History Magazine about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- I read Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport to my second, third and fourth grade students. This is a short book with highlights from King's life.
- Students in grades 4-8 looked at books on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These books are numerous and can be found in any library. I used I've Seen the Promised Land by Walter Dean Myers.
- We made a list of Big Words that represented Big Ideas. This list included words such as protest, non-violence, boycott, racial equality, segregation, prejudice, freedom. Students chose big words that they wanted to have and made a poster about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with them.
- Students looked at pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the internet. We also looked at photographs from the The Civil Rights Movement.
- My students have difficulty with the concepts of discrimination and segregation. It is necessary to build background knowledge and relate the concept to their own lives. I did this by dividing the class into two group: Group A and Group B. Group A could use the water fountain. Group B's fountain was broken. Group A got new pencils, crayons and notebooks. Their school had new computers. Group B got broken pencils and crayons. Their books were old. We walked down the hall and the students in Group B had to walk behind the students in Group A. My ELLs all got the point.
- Complete a journal entitled Dr. Martin Luther King and Me found on the ReadWriteThink website.
- Listen to Dr. Martin Luther King on the American Rhetoric's Online Speech Bank.
- Students in grades 2-5 completed a booklet about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Enchanted Learning. Some of their activities such as the cloze activity can be used with students in grades 4-8.
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