Martin Luther King, Jr – Communicating the Importance to your Students

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Print copies of the script for all of your students.  I was able to work in about 18 speaking parts this year.  It is easy to add another “old lady” into the church scene.  You can also add some no-speaking parts into the grocery store scene.

Ideas for Props:   Large picture of Lincoln Memorial for the last scene.  You can also use a Washington Monument picture for the opposite side of the room.   I had the kids made a “window” out of a peice of poster board for the kitchen table scene.  A cross or some other church symbol on poster board is useful, too – I put a park scene (for the sand lot) on the opposite side.

Here is a link for a very simple webquest with the basics from a student made timeline of MLK’s life.  This would be suitable for students in 3-5th grade or older special needs students.  You could even create something similar using powerpoint with your own students.

In addition to the performance of the above play, I also have the students listen to the I have a Dream speech.  I took the students into the smart board room and played the speech in its entirety, stopping occasional to sum up and paraphrase the meaning of the speech.  I provided each studnet with the text of the speech, leaving plenty of room in the margins and between lines for students to write notes about the meaning of the very poetic vocabulary.

I created an “I Am” game using the vocabulary words.  See my other Bukisa article on an I Am game using the names of types of scientists for an example.  You can choose vocabulary words appropriate for your own students,  This is an easy and creative way to get students to learn the vocab.

You can have the students view the speech again after studying the vocabulary for a while – they will hopefully be able to understand more of it.  It is a very flowery and poetic speech and it is difficult.  Even 11th and 12th graders could make a week of analyzing this speech.

Even if you don’t do this in January, it is still good for any study of the Southeast Region or Biographies.


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