Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream for the children of our nation. Here are some ideas for studying this 20thcentury hero in our 21st century classrooms.
- All our students need to learn how to do online research effectively. Make it easier for younger students by starting them out at a safe list of links on Dr. Martin Luther King. As a class or in small groups, develop KWL charts for Dr. King. Then send students to the list of links. Have students click to the articles, skim to determine whether they can find the answers they seek, and return to the list. Have individuals or groups of students report back to the class with the information they’ve learned. For older students, add the requirement to cite the sources correctly.
- Another great place for online research on Dr. King is The King Center. This is an excellent multimedia website. Explore it together as a class or have students visit at the computer lab and search for the answers to questions developed with KWL charts.
- For older students, use the website of Stanford’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute in the same way.
An email exchange
Third grade classes in Birmingham, Alabama, and in Kent, Washington, used an email exchange to explore the differences and similarities between their classrooms, as well as a study on Dr. King and civil rights. The Seattle Times shares their email archive. You can study this exchange in your classroom, and use it as inspiration to plan your own email exchange with classrooms in other places or circumstances.
In addition to seeking information, we now use the internet as a primary source of entertainment and learning in a variety of media. Use some of these online resources to deepen students’ understanding of Dr. King:
- National Parks Service Virtual Tour of Dr. King’s childhood home.
- Join a visiting class by video and use the same lesson plans and materials they did.
- Listen to Dr. King’s famous speech, I Have a Dream.
- Make a virtual visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
- Learn Trout Fishing In America‘s song, Martin Luther King & Rosa Park from their album, Big Round World. The song grew out of a songwriting workshop the duo conducted at an elementary school in California. The kids wanted to write a song about celebrities, and these were the celebrities they chose. Warms your heart, doesn’t it? Download Big Round World at Amazon to have the whole album, or you can download it for free from FreshPlans by gracious permission of Trout Fishing.
Create digital media
Use a simple timeline of Dr. King’s life as a starting point, and create a class project with the software you have available. A PowerPoint presentation, a video of a dramatic presentation of the timeline’s events, or a class book created with MSWord or online storytelling software will give students lots of practice in using the computers as well as cementing learning about Dr. King.