|By Fredrick L. McKissack,Jr. and Lisa Beringer McKissack|
Friday, January 17, 2014
4 ways to implement Martin Luther King, Jr. beliefs in your classroom
The purpose of this guide is not to make your students remember the words below, but to give them information to better understand what Martin Luther King, Jr. was all about, and to also provide them with new vocabulary words to work with, along with projects to help them further understand the words.
Some teachers are afraid to introduce new words like these to their students for fear that it might overwhelm them. But, keep in mind that introducing new words to your students expands their vocabulary, so, use those words for that reason only; it will be a less fearful task. Some students might remember the words and what they mean and others may not, and that’s okay! Introducing new words enriches literacy skills. You don’t need to introduce them and then use them as a test to see if they are remembered.
1. Equality- Explain to your students that equality means equal. When they allow all of their friends to play together in a game, they are showing equality. But when they play a game and only allow certain friends to play, they are not showing equality.
Then have your students play a game that involves all of the students, like hitting balloons around in observation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday.
2. Non-violence- Explain that non-Violence means not hitting even when you are upset. Try this scenario with your students. You can substitute the names with the names of the students in your classroom so that they are more involved in the story.
Sarah is on the playground playing with Pam and Natoshi. Lee is running very fast even after Ms. Darla told him to slow down. While running, Lee runs into Natoshi and knocks her down.
Lee stops and says “I’m sorry, are you okay?”
Natoshi begins to cry, her leg is bleeding and her beautiful Pink dress is ruined.
Lee feels very bad so he tries to help her up, but Pam pushes Lee to the ground, and tells him to be careful next time.
Ask your students if Pam is using non-violence, then ask them what Pam could have done differently. This would be a good problem solving activity, which we should encourage our students to do whenever possible.
3. Peace- Explain to your students that peace is when no one is hitting, or saying unkind words to each other. Some people are working alone and others are working together, like when they are in center time.
4. Unity - Explain to your students that unity means working together.
Then, have your students work to put a floor puzzle together or some other activity which requires team work.
In general, what Martin Luther King Jr. wanted, was for everyone to work together, whether they were friends or not, and to not hurt each other even if they were different.
It is something that we try to instill in our students every day, so that students learn how to respect each other regardless of their differences.
Darla the Teacher*