Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Ideas That Inspire

As you probably already know, Monday, January 19, is Martin Luther King Day. Most people have MLK Day off and celebrate it as a three-day weekend, including my school. However, I always remember that my high school never took Martin Luther King Day as a holiday. I complained about that every year–at least, until my history teacher told me this: “Martin Luther King wouldn’t have wanted to be celebrated by a day off–he’d want to be celebrated with a day on.”  That’s a saying that’s stuck with me ever since. In honor of that sentiment, here are a few ideas of how to be on for Martin Luther King Day:

Make an MLK Poster:

Ojai, where I live and teach, actually has an MLK Day Celebration every year, and every year, all the schools are asked to participate by making collaborative art posters celebrating Dr. King’s message of peace, equality and nonviolence. You don’t need an event to do a poster, though. Creating a piece of collaborative art to honor Dr. King is rewarding in and of itself. Here are some posters about diversity, community and Civil Rights that are inspiring me this year:

MLK Posters 1

MLK Poster Ideas 2

For links and more ideas, visit my MLK Poster Ideas Pinterest board.

Positive/Negative MLK Portraits

I love this art project because, seriously–how symbolic?! From Teaching with Style.

For more MLK art projects, see Deep Space Sparkle (Patty’s) Pinterest board.

Make Your Own Civil Rights Buttons

I did this for my MLK Poster one year. The students loved it and hardly even realized they were learning at the same time.

Research Civil Rights Leaders

My evil (so my students would say) mind immediately jumped at the idea of directing our regular in-class research assignments toward Civil Rights leaders. We’re using the report forms from Montessori Made Manageable for the first time. I like them, but for my students, I think I prefer more direct, specific questions. For example, the first part of the form asks for basic information (birthdate, place of birth, etc.), but then the questions get broad and vague. I find that more specific questions work better for my age group–“List three injustices that Martin Luther King fought against” rather than “Why is the world a better place because of Martin Luther King?”

Listen to the “I Have a Dream” Speech

The most inspiring of all the aforementioned activities. Let Martin Luther King impress your students with his own words.

Whatever you do, I hope you celebrate January 19 as a day on–just as Dr. King would have wanted.

 

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