Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. in Kindergarten

Last week I taught my class about Martin Luther King Jr and the importance of diversity and fairness.  I started off by telling my class that my favorite color was blue (I had on a bright blue shirt) and that everyone that had the same color t-shirt as me was in for a special treat.  I explained to them that since they wore my favorite color they get to have free time to play with toys and the rest of the students (without blue shirts) had to do seat work since they didn't wear my favorite color.  Their faces turned to sadness and disappointment, but without much complaint they headed to do their work.  Can you tell I have a very compliant class this year?  I really thought there would be more complaining.

As they watched the children playing they looked more and more disappointed.  After about 5 minutes, I told the children to clean up and to meet back on the floor. I couldn't handle more than 5 minutes of this torture because I felt terrible doing this to them.  I had to keep in mind that this scenario would help to really drive my "main idea" home.  I could tell that their emotions were high.  I asked the children how they were feeling about what just happened.  Many of my students that played said they had a great time and was glad they wore blue.  Those that didn't play complained that it wasn't fair and that they felt very sad.  From here, I was able to springboard into the topic of inequality, fairness, and why we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day.

I read they book Martin's Big Words written by Doreen Rappaport.  This book has beautiful illustrations and has a good summary of who Martin Luther King Jr. is.  Because my students emotions were high (especially students that were treated unfairly) I actually had a few of my girls cry when they heard how people were treated badly because the color of their skin.  They really started to tear up when they learned that someone had shot Martin Luther King Jr.

After reading the story, we had a discussion about how the color of our skin doesn't define us.  Martin Luther King Jr. believed that the content of our character is more important.  I showed them two different color eggs (brown and white).  I asked them what was different about the two.  They all said the colors were different.  So I proceeded to crack open the eggs and they found that contents of the eggs were completely alike.  This was a great illustration to show that just because we don't look the same, it doesn't mean one is better than the other.

Different on the outside

But similar on the inside.

We also created a poster about Martin Luther King Jr.  I got this anchor chart from Eberhart's Explorers  teachers pay teacher's store here.  She has a wonderful MLK Jr. mini unit and it's FREE!

Lastly, we created a class book about our individual dream's to change the world.  I got this great print out for free from Teaching First's blog.  

My dream is to give food to others and give tomatoes. (This student loves tomatoes!)

My dream is for people to be nice.

My dream is that everyone will be friends.

My dream is to share our food. 

My kids absolutely loved this video by Harry's Kindergarten on YouTube.  It has a very catchy beat.  They requested me to play this video at least 5 times.  Click here to watch it on YouTube.

Check out my pinterest to find other great ideas to incorporate into your MLK Jr. Lessons.  

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