Everyday Lesson Plans
learn about the life, dream, and actions of Martin Luther King, Jr.
make connections between Dr. King's dream/actions and personal dreams/actions
Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes (one or two sessions)
- Gather books about Dr. King for class library. Choose one to read aloud.
- Prepare discussion chart titled: Dr. King's Dream.
- Print a class set of the "Dream Cloud" activity sheet.
- Prepare bulletin board paper banner.
- Place banner on floor or wall, so students can hang clouds when finished. (Have glue or tape available)
- Complete "Dream Cloud" for Dr. King. Include a picture if possible.
- Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King or My Dream of Martin Luther King
- chart titled: Dr. King's Dream for class discussion and dictation
- copies of the "Dream Cloud" activity sheet
- bulletin board paper for banner (large enough to hold one cloud for each child) Tip: Make the banner long enough to include space between clouds.
- glue or tape
Ask students to tell you what they know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Read selected book to class.
- After reading, ask students what Dream refers to in the story: a dream can be a hope, a wish or a goal you would like to reach.
- Write definition of Dream on chart, as students retell the definition.
- Discuss Dr. King's dream from the story. If needed, explain that Dr. King's dream was about making the world a better place in which all kinds of people would live together, peacefully.
- Discuss the actions Dr. King did to work toward making his dream come true. Write responses on the chart.
- Discuss how a person's actions help to make a dream come true. Use student examples of dreams and actions for discussion.
- Ask children what dreams they have for the world, their neighborhood, school, playground, etc. Write responses on the chart.
- Ask children what actions they could do to make each of the dreams on the chart come true. Write responses next to the appropriate dream.
Stopping Point, If Needed
- Show Dr. King's completed "Dream Cloud" to the class. Have class read the "Dream Cloud" aloud.
- Hold up a blank "Dream Cloud." Point to each section as you talk.
- Show them where to write their name.
- Tell children they are going to write their own dream for a better world on the "Dream Cloud." (Younger children will need to dictate.)
- Tell them they will then write or illustrate (depending on level of student) the actions they will do to work toward making their dream come true.
- Take time to model your own "Dream Cloud," if necessary.
- Show students where they will glue their "Dream Clouds" on the class banner when they are finished.
- Make sure to edit each one Before they are glued to the banner.
- While children are working, place the "Dream Cloud" for Dr. King in the center of the banner.
Prepare a Parent Note to tell parents about the lesson, along with questions to ask their child. The note would be taken home as homework. As part of the discussion, have students ask their parents to tell about their dreams for a better world and the actions the parents are doing to work toward their dreams.
Assessment of Skills and Knowledge
Have students gather around the finished banner. Ask each student to tell about his/her dream and one action the student listed or drew.
Have students tell about one action Dr. King did to work toward making his dream come true.
- Read What Is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? by Margaret Friskey and Margot Parker (Children's Press, 1990)
- Read All the Colors of the Earth, Sheila Hamanaka
- Listen to Martin Luther King recite his "I Have a Dream" speech on Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia
- Participate in the kindness and justice challenge offered through the Do Something Web site.
Teacher Reflection About Lesson
- Did children find the book you selected engaging?
- Did it provide clear and sufficient information about Dr. King's life?
- Did students understand the use of the chart to organize their ideas?
- Did students make solid connections between King's dreams and their own dreams for a better community?
- Did students make solid connections between the dream cloud activity and the discussion about Dr. King?
- What other resources could you have used to help children understand the relevance of Dr. King to the idea of making the world a better place?
- Was enough time allotted for reading and discussing King's life before students embarked on the dream cloud activity?