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Martin Luther King Milestones

Create a time line with colorized copies of photos of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Organize small groups of students to research the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Each group could research a different aspect of King's life: family events, education, career, political involvement, speeches, historic moments. As a group, children combine information about key events to understand how King's work propelled the Civil Rights Movement.
    2. Once research is complete, ask students to create a pictorial timeline of King's life and work on a long sheet of roll paper. Encourage students to show each aspect of King's life with a different color of Crayola® Washable Markers. Remind them to include a key to the meaning of the colors.
    3. Students use Crayola erasable Colored Pencils to fill open areas with key phrases from King's public addresses. To make his inspirational words resonate, fill in lettering with closely-spaced parallel lines in bright two-color combinations.
    4. Students seek out photographs to add to their timelines. Colorize them with Crayola Crayons. Mount photographs on construction paper with a Crayola Glue Stick. Trim, as needed, with Crayola Scissors.
    5. Students tape yarn to each photo. Glue photos to the roll paper. Run yarn from photos to the appropriate places on MLK's timeline.
    6. Once timeline is complete, students view their work and discuss their learning. Ask students how they might have participated in the events of this era.
    7. If time permits, invite parents and grandparents to view the King timeline and have students discuss their learning. Students ask questions of parents and grandparents that lived during the era about their experiences with The Civil Rights Movement.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

    LA: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text.

    LA: Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    SS: Give examples of how government does or does not provide for the needs and wants of people, establish order and security, and manage conflict.

    SS: Identify and describe factors that contribute to cooperation and cause disputes within and among groups and nations.

    SS: Recognize and give examples of the tensions between the wants and needs of individuals and groups, and concepts such as fairness, equity, and justice.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David A. Adler; Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport; I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr.; If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold; Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton

    Students expand research to other topics from the American Civil Rights Movement such as Brown v. Board of Education; Montgomery Bus Boycott; Ruby Bridges; etc. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.

    What was President John F. Kennedy's part in the Civil Rights Movement? Research his presidency and the steps he took to integrate schools and eliminate racial bias in the United States.

    Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., carried on his work after his death. What has been her on-going participation in this movement?

    If you were a Freedom Fighter today, what would you do to continue the fight for equality? Discuss this question with your teammates.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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