Teaching the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On the third Monday in January each year, we take a moment to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From service projects to diving deeply into his writings and speeches, to envisioning a better world based on his ideals and values, there are many ways schools and communities commemorate the impact of Dr. King. This Monday, January 15, we have asked our Social Studies teachers to take time with their students to further engage them in learning experiences that both honor the man and potentially open the door to discussions about how we can strengthen and grow as individuals and as a community at large. While we have provided our teachers with lessons (seen below), some have planned their own lessons that embrace the themes of service, peace, equality, and non-violence, as well as helping our students to further deepen their understanding of the importance of Dr. King, his words, and his actions. It is also our hope that all teachers (not just in Social Studies) find ways to engage students in the important and strategic conversations that represent a teachable moment such as this.

Below is a curated collection of lessons from the National Endowment of the Humanities, Scholastic, Civic-ed, and EdSitement.

  • Kindergarten: Read aloud of "A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr." by David Adler (provided in your social studies read aloud text sets)
  • First Grade: Dr. King's Dream
  • Second Grade: I Have a Dream Too
  • Third Grade: Words in Service
  • Fourth Grade: Service Pioneers
  • Fifth Grade: Healthy Futures
  • Sixth Grade: The Power to Persuade
  • Seventh Grade: The Power of Words
  • Eighth Grade: The Dream Continued
  • Grades 9-12: Martin Luther King and the Power of Non-Violence

Please see additional resources below to utilize at home to learn more about Dr. King, his legacy, and the principles and values we can all aspire to.

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