Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - Ideas and Resources

Dr. King mosaic in the lobby of MLK Elementary School in Providence created by mosaic artist Jess Regelson and MLK students. Image source:
It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and many of you are planning ways to learn more about the life, legacy, and lasting impact of Dr. King with your kids and community. If you're getting ready for the day and need some practical inspiration, here you go.

Today, the kids and I are going to do three MLK Day-related activities:

1. We're going to the Providence Children's Museum for its annual MLK celebration with performances and special civil rights exhibits. We've never done this before, somehow, so today's the day.

2. As we have in the past, we're going to watch and listen to this video of Dr. King delivering the "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Of the various video versions available, I like this one from the National Archives' documentation of the March on Washington. It contextualizes the speech with video of the marchers and the scene in ways that provides hints of what it might have felt like to be there.  Based on past years' experience, I am going to give the guys the option to color/draw during the speech; this version is only 10 minutes but that can be a lot of a four-year old to sit through. Some coloring to channel squirminess helps those of us who want to focus and I figure that hearing Dr. King's words is what matters. I have downloaded images of Dr. King ready for coloring from here, and you can find many more by Googling MLK + printable coloring.

This video of "I Have a Dream" is the third of three parts from the National Archives on the March. Maybe not today, but soon, I want to watch parts one and two with the kids, too, and get their thoughts on what they think the event was for and what it felt like to be there.

3. Inspired by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, and in particular the MLK 25 Challenge, we're going to make our own list of the ways we as individuals and a family want to help people around us. I am super-curious about what the boys will come up with and will share when we've made our list.

Other resources and ideas:

As in past years, Kidoinfo has links to local events and books on Dr. King's life and work. In addition to the three wonderful books that Kidoinfo suggests, Doreen Rappaport's Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Bryan Collier, is a wonderful resource.

The ProJo features a link to listings of MLK Day events around Rhode Island and south-eastern Massachusetts, some kid-oriented, some not, and the ProJo has an article on Rhode Island-based MLK Day events here.

Use today with your kids to honor and think about Dr. King, and please share how you're planning to spend the day, or what you did, in the comments.

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