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Hello, this is Kristin Muse from Samson’s Shoppe. I am a middle school special education teacher and always find myself frustrated that the students still don’t understand why we are off from school on certain days. No matter the subject area, I try to have at least a conversation about the upcoming holiday, what it is all about, and different ways people celebrate it. The school that I teach in is not very culturally diverse so this got me thinking about how to help them understand the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggles, and his fight for rights for African-Americans. Here are some FREE things I have used.
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- Brainpop is a source I use to give students information on a topic in a short amount of time. There is a FREE four-minute video about Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. that details the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. Brainpop has also added some cool features. So along with watching the video, you can have students take the quiz to assess their knowledge (they’ve always had this). What’s new…at least to me.. are now there are games that go along with the movie, FYI’s, primary source activities and a vocabulary challenge to test their understanding. Best of all, this is free and your students will come away with a great understanding of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Tagul: After reviewing with the students about what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is known for, I have them create word clouds using words that can describe his character and his contributions to our society. This is a great way to infuse character traits but also get them to quickly summarize what he is known for. I like Tagul because it is FREE for personal use. Students can play around with the shapes, fonts, and colors. They can even input a shape if they want it to look a certain way. These look awesome hanging around your room.
- Anti-Defamation League for Educators: The Anti-Defamation League also has some great content on their site. You can scour through lesson plans aimed at elementary through high school. There is a great middle school one that allows students to listen to his famous, “I have a dream,” speech and locate and analyze metaphors.
- Picture Book Activities: I love picture books. No matter the age, I still firmly believe that students need to be read to. Some picture books that I like are
- My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart – This book tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life through the eyes of his niece, Angela Farris Watkins. Aside from detailing Martin as a public figure, she also adds in details of his personal life at home with his family.
- Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A picture-book biography that summarizes King’s life through age-appropriate text and gorgeous illustrations.
If you’re looking for some books to read with your students, here are some to consider:
- A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Picture Book Biographies)
- Martin’s Dream (Ready-to-Reads)
- I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Robin Hill School)
- Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
As you can see, there are plenty of freebies and great books out there. Don’t hesitate to take the time to search them out. When time allows, this is helpful to make sure you can tailor everything to your individual classroom needs. At times, we need to get something much quicker, for those times, find me at Samson’s Shoppe to help you with your upper elementary/middle school needs. I am currently a ten-year veteran middle school special education teacher on Long Island. In my spare time, I love to paint and snuggle with my 90 lbs. pup, Samson.