I believe that we should be teaching our children about diversity, equality and justice all throughout their education. We can do this by including a diverse range of materials and opportunities, but I also think it’s important to stop every now and then and be intentional in our teaching. Martin Luther King Jr. Day offers us the opportunity to stop and celebrate the impact he made on our country and the lives of minorities everywhere.
Start with the Speech
If you or your children haven’t yet seen the I have a dream speech, it’s a short 17 minutes long and worthy of taking the time to watch it.
This is an audio recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving the “I Have a Dream” speech during the Civil Rights rally on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. (32 minutes long)
If you are looking for a few easy activities to go along with your Martin Luther King Jr study I have made several printables to help get the discussion and learning going. You can download them here.
When I was teaching in public school we would read a picture book every day for a week leading up to MLK day. There are so many great books that you can read on the life of Martin Luther King Jr, here are a few of my favorites.
I was introduced to Our Friend Martin when I was in school, and then when I was a teacher I showed it to my students every year as well. I have continued the tradition with my own children because I feel like it allows for some great discussion and shows the reality of this time in a way that children can understand. The movie fluctuates from cartoon to real life scenes. There can be some difficult images so you will either want to watch it with your younger children or skip it altogether.