Martin Luther King Activities for 2nd Graders

Every year I read the kids a book on Martin Luther King. It is a black and white BIG BOOK with lots of pictures of what was going on during the 50s and segregation. It is interesting to show kids pictures of “white drinking fountain only” signs and ask them “IS THIS FAIR?” and they are unanimous in their disapproval. I wonder why the adults of the day couldn’t see it for what it was.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Project…
Martin Luther King….we wrote what great things he did for the Civil Rights of others….

 Cute paper I found this year…..too bad they didn’t have a capital I like they should have!

I’ll have to change that next year….. my bad……

 Then we did directed portrait drawings of Dr. King…..check them out!

Directed Drawings of Martin Luther King….for art…..

Martin Luther King freebie paper I found a cute one at TPT. Thanks to Flying into First Grade’s blog. It was really cute paper and a graphic organizer too!

Check out Flying into First’s TPT freebie here.

A cute song to sing is HERE at Cupcake for the Teacher. It’s sung to the
tune of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”. 

 Every year I read the kids in my classroom a non-fiction big book . It  has pictures depicting the civil rights movement in black and white photos, taken during the time of  King’s peaceful protest era.

Here is the ISBN number. It is an old book I was given by a retiring teacher 20 years ago.
It is always amazing to me that the kids are shocked by the unfairness they see in actual primary source photos of the time. When I show them the pictures of “colored bathroom only” signs in the book, or the “blacks sit to the back of the bus” signs, and I ask them, “Do you guys think this is fair?” they always will unitedly chorus in the negative.

  Then we draw a little American flag on a pole on one side of him, and a few little fireworks on the other side. I teach them to do the fireworks just starting with an X and then adding a few, longer criss crosses to the x.

When we are about done, I ask the kids to print at the top in Blue or Black crayon or marker: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (I have to teach them what Jr. means, they always want to know).

The book has pictures of the police using firehoses or dogs on people they think are “out of order” and women shouting at black kids entering the first southern desegregated schools. Nobody in my first grade class thinks these things are right. It still amazes me that adults of that time thought they
were okay.

So I think this little bit of history is important to share. To get kids as young as six thinking about ways to protest things they don’t like, in a peaceful, yet effective way is a good thing. Especially in this era of lawsuits and bullying, and crazy violence.  For kids to see that there are lots of things in this world, run by adults, that still are not fair is important, in my opinion. And to show them that one calm, but focused voice, can help create change. And even kids as young as six can see the differences between things right and things wrong.

So we do a portrait of Dr. King and put it on the bulletin board along with writing projects by the students about  what their “dreams” for the world would be.  It’s always funny to see things like: “I dream that there will be no more bad guys”….and stuff like that.  But it’s good to get kids to synthesize what they learn in a new way. So I do it for that reason.  Hey, world peace isn’t just for the Miss America Pageant you know!

These portraits always turn out really resembling Dr. King.  The key is to model each and every step and explain as you go. Some of them turn out a little comical, like a Mr. Potato Head, but others are really artistic and well done. I can always spot my budding artists by January of each new year.

We recite this poem together….and try to memorize its message! 

Last year’s group did little crowns with “I Have a Dream” for the world messages…..

Thanks Dr.King for teaching us how one voice can change the world!                

Snowman Art and Winter Acrostic Poems

We’ve had a lot of snow in Utah lately. It is fun to write winter acrostic poetry and make Snowflake Snowmen,  on a particularly snowy day in January .

Our cute Snowflake Snowmen turned out great! 

Have you ever heard of Snowflake Bentley? He did a book in the early 1900s of snowflake pictures from an old fashioned camera. He found that no two were ever alike. I showed the kids the book about his life and the book of pictures he published of hundreds of snowflakes. I own both of these books. They are awesome!

Then I teach the kids how to make a snowflake from a circle the parent helpers cut out for us. I think we cut them down to 5 and 4 inch circles this year so our art projects could be smaller than last year.

Snowflake Snowmen and Winter Acrostic Poems

Then after that we make a giant list of W words, then I words, then N words on the board as the kids help by brainstorming. Then we start writing the acrostic phrases or sentences (depending on how you want to differentiate) or lower grades could just copy the word.

Winter Acrostics 
Snowflake Snowman Art 
Snowman Bulletin Board turned out cute! 
I had the kids not cut on the outside of the circles so the outlines would stay intact. 

We did a lot of brainstorming of W I N T E R Words before we began our sloppy copies.

 Then we made chose a hat color and some centimeter squares to make scarf and button patterns. Most kids also added a pattern above the hat brim too. Then we made swirly designs and snowflakes with crayons on the light blue paper.  Some kids added some doily snowflakes and glitter glue too.

 The winter acrostic poetry turned out really pretty. We just make a big brainstorm on the board of all the W starter words for good sentences. Then everybody chooses one and writes a sentence on sloppy copy newsprint lined paper, then I edit their writing.

Then I gave each child a 1/2 inch strip of brown for the twig arms. They cut off 2 little bits for the 2 “fingers” and add them on the ends of the “arms”. 
 I edit with the help of a parent (30 kids takes awhile) and then the next day we rewrite them on this cute Winter Acrostic paper and decorate snowman and the snowflakes on the paper. Decorative paper is a real motivator to finish for young children. 
I have a monthly WORD BANK I put up with words the kids might use in their winter writing…..Each month the shape changes as well as the words. 

Word Work Activities and Poetry/Songs
At ABC Teach  there are some cute snow similes to start everybody thinking about great words to describe the winter season.  It is a great warm up. Here’s a poem we read as a chant or rap using drums and bongos and snapping our fingers.

Snowflake Poem we rap to…..

These 2 songs are really fun to sing. I have percussion instruments and 3 xylophones that the kids can play to the songs. It’s a good way to do some shared reading with an element of fun in rereading the text. 
Snowflake Snowmen

It is always funny when somebody says something off the wall, like Winnie the Pooh, for a W word on our Acrostic Poetry brainstorm. We all have a good laugh. 

Winter Acrostics with sentences that remind us of winter things….

 Finished bulletin board of our snowflake snowmen and winter acrostic poems.

 Some of the snowmen books I read to the kids during the Snowmen project. I have about 8.

 For spelling this week we made a snowman and wrote our spelling words on his belly. I don’t know what those boots are for though, nobody did! Who ever heard of a snowman with boots?

Spelling Activity using a snowman…..students wrote their words on the belly!
Winter Poetry was fun to do in snowy January

It’s a favorite art project of mine because it has so many dimensions to it with the glitter, the scarf and buttons, the cut out snowflakes too.

This song is fun to start out standing in a squat and then growing as you sing “tall, tall, tall”, and then when you are melting go back down to the squat slowly while singing “small, small, small….”. 
I had to include this cute picture of my grandbabies with their daddy constructed snowman. Cute right? 

Another fun “snow” activity I do in January is to bring out shaving cream and put about a golfball sized lump on top of everybody’s desk. Then I read them Katy and the Big Snow. They are the snowplowers (using their fingers) as we travel to Geopolis and do North, South, East and West using a N or S or E or W written in the “snow” which is the shaving cream.

 By the time the story is over the room smells great and the desks are really clean. We wipe them off with a paper towel (not much cream is left after mooshing it all over for 5 minutes!). It is always a fun winter activity we do. I just ordered the Fancy Nancy winter book. It looks like fun too.

Here are some of my January classroom decorations I put out in place of all the cute Christmas ones. 
January Snowmen decorate the classroom today…..
Here is my Winter bulletin board with just a few of the songs I put up to sing throughout the month of January.

Last year we did a fun art project using a 7, and 6 inch cut out circles of white, and a 5 inch circle head for “SNOWFLAKE SNOWMEN”. After showing the kids how to fold the snowflake circle into a pie shaped piece and cut the edges into SNOWFLAKES we make our snowmen on LIGHT BLUE  paper. I had 30 students this year so I cut down the sizes to smaller 3, 4 and 5 inches and used 10 x 13 paper instead of a whole sheet of construction paper. The snowmen still filled 3 bulletin boards!! lol.

The hat for the SNOWFLAKE SNOWMAN is 31/2 square in black with a 1 x 5 inch brim for the cute little  craft. 
We had lots of fun making snowman art and stamping snowflakes with white paint…..this year we made our snowflakes out of white crayon and star shapes with lines on the ends. 
Cutest winter bulletin board of the year I think… we just have to write our Snowman Stories!  

Here is a sample!! Then we add snowflakes using white paint and some stamps we got at Lakeshore Learning    Oriental Trading  also has some cute ones Here.

Lastly the kids did a pattern on the scarf using small squares of construction paper about a centimeter size.  This year I got some metallic colored squares and I think that might make a more glittery looking scarf.

Snowman Story paper…

Then lastly we do snowman stories just for some creative writing fun. Each snowman must have a personality. So they have to be really good at some kind of snowman talent. Then they have to also have a problem, a solution, a setting (city somewhere in the U.S.) and lots of describing words.

I’ll post our SNOWMAN STORIES very soon. They are always very fun to read.

    Well, the snowmen are really cute too!

Germs and Colds and Sneeze in Your Sleeve Puppets

We finished our Healthy Lifestyles unit. It includes nutrition, exercise and germs and cold prevention. Oh, and getting enough sleep. The last day of activities we did was learning about Germs and how we can keep our hands clean and using tissues when we cough so we don’t spread our germs around to others in the classroom. Here are some previous Nutrition activities we did.

Paper Bag Puppets for teaching about Germs, Colds and Flu Season and Staying Healthy! 

The Puppets had a “Ahh-Choo” poem attached and we sang songs to our puppets. 

Germ Buster Girl Puppets for teaching about Cold and flu prevention….

Boy Germ Buster Puppet for teaching about germs, and Cold and Flu prevention….

I read the kids 2 books; Germs Make Me Sick by Melvin Berger, and SHERM the Germ by Bobbi Katz.

Germs, Germs Germs, and Germs Make Me Sick are 2 really cute books. They are favorites of the kids too!

 2care2teach has a cute poem. We usually use a poem with our art and find a familiar tune to sing it to (ABC song, Itsy Bitsy, Bingo, Jimmy Crack Corn etc.). Kidscoop had a really cute song to the tune of twinkle twinkle.

The Sneeze Song 
(Tune:  “Pop Goes the Weasel”) (Check it out HERE)
When I have to cough or sneeze
This is what I do.  (Point finger.)
I hold my elbow up  (Hold up elbow in front of face.)
And in to it kerchoo!  (Pretend to sneeze in elbow.)
KKEERRCCHHOO!   (Say this line as you dramatically pretend
                               to sneeze in your elbow.)

HERE at Livespeaklove  I found a really cute ACHOO! BINGO game that has words that have to do with staying healthy (cover mouth, wash hands, sleep, exercise, healthy food etc.). I use this for a center game the week we study health.We made some paper bag puppets to go with out GERMS unit.

At First Grade Fever  she had these cute tooth fairy puppets the kids made that gave me an idea for our puppets. I may do a cuter one next year. I have 30 students this year though so I’ll keep it simple for now. 

A freebie I found on Teachers Pay Teachers that had a cute apple experiment and some printable true/false quizzes is HERE at TPT. It’s made by Cindy First Grade A-Z. I printed up page 2 and 3 of this 4 page minibooklet on Germs HERE at TPT. It has a fun lotion and glitter experiment for kids to see how germs spread. Then they wrote about 5 ways they can keep germ free!
Hooray for Handwashing storybook
Have you tried Glo Germ with your students? It is kind of like that stuff you use to get from the dentist that you would chew and it would show you all the places you had missed when you brushed… Glo germ works the same way. I think mine cost about $8.00 for the size below on Amazon. 

I bought some of this glo germ in yellow for the black light experiment. It is fun and gets the message out how important it is to handwash  and sneeze in our sleeve, not our hands, so we don’t spread sneeze or cold germs. But you could do the lotion and glitter experiment just as easily….

It sticks to germs and then they show up with a black light! It’s a great way to help kids understand how important it is to wash hands thoroughly to get rid of germs!

 Shake hands with the first student and then the best demo is to have that student shake hands with a second and so on….the Glo Germ trace will usually go to 5 to 6 students.

You can get a small black light for less than $10.00 check it out HERE.

I got a lot of free curriculum from PUFFS Tissues from Proctor and Gamble way back in the early days of my teaching career. But I couldn’t find a link anymore to the teachers free stuff. But I did find an old lesson plan that I got a few good ideas and websites from. The link is HERE. A fun “Germinator” online interactive game is Here.

 We also talked about how exercise can keep you healthy during winter months and NOT to become an inside couch potato. We did dodge ball for P.E. then listened to our heart beats with real stethoscopes to see how much faster they were beating after we worked out. We talked about healthy eating and getting enough sleep last month too when we studied nutrition and wrote our Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly innovations. Link is HERE at Patties Classroom.

The kids wanted to listen to each other’s heartbeats too. I have 4 class stethoscopes so we got around to everybody by the end of P.E. Here were the cute puppets we made and added the Ahhh-Choo Poem to the fronts.


We sang the Soap and Water Song to my percussion instruments. Look in my STORE above and check out the xylophone packs. They are only $20.00 and the kids ADORE playing them to music. They are also really sturdy. I’ve purchased 3 for my class.

We read 2 Weekly Readers I had saved from Years ago…..back in the dinosaur age when I started teaching….snicker….

 And we also read some fun books about keeping healthy. We are about done with our health unit!

This is a great book to read when you are done with your mini unit; HOW DO DINOSAURS GET WELL SOON!  It is a really cute story the kids love it!

The Jane Yolen Dinosaur books  are really funny and a quick read that kids LOVE! This one is about taking care of a cold. 

It is always a short but fun 2 day mini-unit during the winter months. Hope you all are staying healthy this sneeze and cough season!  Don’t forget to drink lots of water and exercise too! Keep Well!