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!                

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