Celebrate the Contributions of Martin Luther King Jr.


Pause for a moment and consider how our country might have been different had we not lost Martin Luther King Jr. so early in his life. His life’s mission was for people to love and respect each other, and certainly, we need that today. 

In this post, I will share resources and ideas to help you and your students with researching his life. To begin, this board has been formed to collect our planning sheets as well as other themed resources. Anyone who links up is welcome to pin to it.  I will add you as a pinner. Of course, I would love readers to follow the board so you have quick access to the MLK resources you plan to use next week.

Pinterest Board and Planner


Book Ideas

original-1040129-1-998430051kj6kphswl-9673187I was amazed at the number of book options available for MLK Day, but certainly I have a few favorites.  I’m going to start with Martin’s Big Words.  What a marvelously written gem!  If you do not have a copy of the book, there is a wonderfully done student read of the book on youtube, and you can access it [here].  I do not have a unit for this book, but this freebie from Amber Kotzin is nicely done.


original-1060258-1-6874889Another great option is this one by David Adler. Adler is well-known in the nonfiction arena for kids with his picture books of famous Americans, and this title is a great choice for the middle grades.  If you do not have a copy of the book, you can also use [this reading] of it from youtube. This freebie from 24/7 Teacher would work well to use in conjunction with Adler’s book.

original-1633108-1-1721753Besides books, we now have the option of Close Reading materials, and Lauren from The Sweetest Thing just added a MLK Jr. Close Reading Freebie to her store.  Her Close Reads come in a below, on, and above level form, so teachers can differentiate the reading for their groups.

original-1625211-1-6179222Another Close Read I came across was this one from Fifth in the Middle.  It is also differentiated to match levels 4-6. Both Close Reads included have activities to accompany them for the second and third reading sessions.

amazing2bgrace-5008023Interested in branching off to discuss Civil Rights and fair treatment of others?  There are several books I love that work well with these themes. The first is Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman.  Grace wants to be Peter Pan in the school play, but several peers say that she can’t because she’s black and a girl. I think this book is one of my favorites because we want every child to feel as though they can be and do anything they please in this world, and they should be. We never know who will be our president, and who is to say that that person won’t be a child from my classroom or yours.  My unit for Amazing Grace was redone recently, and I’ll put it at 1/2 price for the next few days for those who are interested since I’m highlighting it.  Other books that work well for brotherhood/sisterhood include Each Kindness and The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles.

Arts, Crafts and Other Tributes to Martin

If you looked through my Pinterest board above, then you may have seen some of these.  I thought I’d highlight a few of my favorite pins. I think many can be used during the month of February for Brotherhood/Sisterhood Month or any time of year honestly.  After all, one of the most important things we can do for children is help them learn to bond with and appreciate others.
original-1048652-1-6157478 untitled-1581399 picture11-24_zps211c558b-6578283
97d4d629a34b86ec3f5bfe37dc0c32f1-2509060  photo-13copy4-4406537  heart2bweaving2bcollage-7820127

If you have resources readers need to know about, you can link them up directly (free only) or write up a blog post telling about them and your MLK Day ideas. Hopefully, all of the ideas shared will help you celebrate MLK Day properly and broach the topic of equality and respect for others as well as help our children learn to appreciate the contributions of all.

The next Thematic Thursday will be scheduled for January 15th, so mark your calendars! The topic will be Winter and Snowy Fun!

Thanks so much, and until next time…happy reading.

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