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Martin Luther King Jr. Activities and Projects for Kids

The third Monday of January is a U.S. holiday to remember and celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Classrooms around the United States and the world teach about Dr. King and his courageous acts.  These Martin Luther King Jr. activities will engage your students in key social studies and language arts skills.

Martin Luther King Jr. activities and projects

Start with a Book

Martin's Big WordsA great way to engage students of all ages is with a read aloud.  There are many wonderful picture books about Dr. King and his life.  Begin your lesson with a book and you give all of your students a common foundation for learning.  Here are some teacher favorite books about Martin Luther King Jr.

There are many other great books too!  These are short enough to complete in a day but provide a very good overview of the facts and events associated with Dr. King.  You can also add these and others to your classroom library so students can read more on their own.

Get Specific

After students have background knowledge, it’s time to get specific.  This timeline activity will teach students new facts about Dr. King. Students love digging deeper into the life of Martin Luther King and learning more about the main events in his life.

MLK Timeline activity

Using the timeline cards, students will work on sequencing and order the events.  By gluing the cards together, students will create a timeline for the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  A great hands-on activity for working on these important skills.

Dig Deeper with Close Reading

Close reading is an excellent way to help students dig deeper into a text.  Here, students will dig into Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  Through close reading, students will deepen their understanding of the words and meaning in this historic speech.

Through repeated readings, students will focus on comprehension, vocabulary, understanding meaning and more.  What better way to learn about this important man, than to really understand his words.  As students complete each reading, they are guided through thinking about the speech in a different way.

close reading the I Have a Dream Speech

Assimilating Through Writing

MLK Day guided writing activity

There are a lot of “big” ideas that we learn from Martin Luther King, Jr. We can help our students assimilate all they have learned through writing.  A writing project is a great way for students to process what they learned while developing a better understanding of how Dr. King’s life effects their own.

This guided writing activity will help students think through their own dream for making the world a better place.  The planning page helps students write their topic sentence and supporting details.  Students are guided through what each sentence should include to create a high quality paragraph.

As students follow the guided writing, they gain a writing formula they can use in other paragraphs.  As students do more writing, they begin to develop a better understanding of how to support their topic sentence without the “formula.”

Fun with Vocabulary

A word search is a great vocabulary review activity.  As students look for each word, they are thinking about the word they learned and reinforcing the word and its meaning mentally.  They are also working on reading and spelling the word as they search.  The Martin Luther King, Jr. word search is a fun vocabulary activity your students will love.

Martin Luther King Jr. Activities

You can find all of these activities in this Martin Luther King, Jr. Activity Packet.  It now includes a digital version for use in Google Classroom!

These no prep activities will not only help you teach your students about this great man, but also review and practice key social studies, reading and writing skills.

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Save this pin to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you need Martin Luther King Jr. activities and ideas.

Activities for teaching about Martin Luther King Jr.

Amy Hughes

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I'm Shelly Rees of Appletastic Learning. First and foremost, I'm a mom of 4 boys, wife of 25 years to Aric, and Wyoming girl at heart. I love being creative, making resources for teachers, baking cookies, Diet Coke, teaching, public speaking, and spreading kindness wherever I can. After teaching in the upper elementary grades for over 23 years, I retired early and focused on creating and helping teachers around the world with my teaching ideas and resources. I also serve as a mentor to hundreds of teacherpreneurs and help them get focused on growing their own successful businesses. With 100% honesty, I LOVE my life! Thanks for visiting! I hope you'll stay awhile and come back often. Read More

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