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.
Start with a Book
A 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.
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.
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.
Assimilating Through Writing
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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