Monday, January 5, 2015

Martin Luther King's Legacy for Kindergartners

A Lesson in Life

This was first posted for a blog hop...and now I'm linking with Comprehension Connection for a Thematic Thursday!  I was so excited she decided her Thematic Thursday would be about Martin Luther King, Jr.  In Virginia, Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the famous people kindergarten students need to know about.  Unfortunately, it's a hard subject to teach kindergartners.  I hope this Thematic Thursday post makes it a little easier.

Dr. King’s LegacyDr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a perfect example of a great American. He is also part of the Virginia's Standards of Learning. Here are a few ideas for sharing this American with our earliest learners.

This is one of the hardest lessons to teach kindergarten students.  You see, kids don’t see color.  There are many examples of this, as each teacher can attest, but kids see people.  They know who is nice and who isn’t, but they don’t categorize by color.  As part of the Kindergarten Social Studies curriculum in Virginia, this lesson poses a hard decision.  You have to teach about color to then teach why we shouldn't look at color.

I typically start by telling students about a terrible time in the United States, a time when people looked only at the color of your skin.  I explain it didn't matter how nice you were or how much you helped people or how nice you treated other people…it was a sad, sad, time when everyone was judged on the color of their skin.  Then, I tell about a man named Martin Luther King, who decided these laws that segregated or separated people by their skin weren't fair.  It is also important for students to understand Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted to change the laws by peaceful means.  We've even had our own Peace March.  The kindergarten students in our school made posters about peace and love and fairness and walked quietly in a line throughout the halls and around the cafeteria silently.  It sounds so simple and so easy, but it turned out to be a little moving.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a perfect example of a great American. He is also part of the Virginia's Standards of Learning. Here are a few ideas for sharing this American with our earliest learners.
There are many wonderful stories about Martin Luther King.  Most are artfully written so that the text can be discussed on many levels. One of my favorites has always been Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo.  The illustrations are beautiful and unique to kindergartners.   I wrote a little poem years ago to try and make this BIG person and event in history understandable to our smallest learners.  The poem is introduced as the shared reading and is in the Art Center, Poetry Center, and Pocket Chart Center in following weeks.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a perfect example of a great American. He is also part of the Virginia's Standards of Learning. Here are a few ideas for sharing this American with our earliest learners.

In honor of Dr. King’s birthday, I have created a pack about Martin Luther King and his legacy.  I am including a FREEBIE for this hop (9 pages).  If you'd like the FREEBIE, CLICK HERE.
If you would like the full packet (37 pages), please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store, CLICK HERE.

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14 comments:

  1. You are so right about teaching this skill to such young little people. They don't see color. They just don't notice these things. They barely even noticed when I was 8 months pregnant!! It is just not important to them. They are more concerned with how people behave and how they treat others. I often wonder why we introduce such a concept to such innocent little minds. He was a great man and deserves to be recognized but it is just so hard sometimes. I feel like I am taking a little bit of their innocence! =/

    But you have a wonderful poem here. I will definitely be using this next week! Thank you for simplifying it so that our little ones can understand!

    Welcome to our group! So good to have you!
    Jessica
    Hanging Out in First!

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  2. Thank you for this - it will come in handy next year and looks great!
    Growing Little Learners

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  3. Thank you, Cathy ! The Martin Luther King Jr. freebie is perfect for my Kinder Kids in reading.
    Welcome to Adventures in Literacy Land !

    Wendy D.

    Ms. D's Literacy Lab

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  4. I love this little MLK reader! Thank you for sharing and welcome to Literacy Land!

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  5. Welcome to the Adventures in Lit Land group! We are so glad you came aboard!

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  6. My Martin Luther King, Jr. unit is one of my favorites to teach! Your simple poem has a BIG and important message! Thank you for sharing!
    ~Jennifer

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  7. Thanks, Jennifer! I LOVED teaching kindergarten...but it's all about making it understandable to a kindergartner.

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  8. Thanks, Wendy. I'm really excited to be a part of the group!

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  9. I'm glad you like it! I'm excited to share on Literacy Land!

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  10. Thanks, Wendy! I'm excited to be a part of this group! I hope your students enjoy it!

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  11. Thanks! I hope your students like it!

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  12. Thanks, Jessica! I completely agree...it's such a tricky subject. He was wonderful and his legacy is great, but we need to consider 5-year-old thoughts when we decide a 5-year-old curriculum. Then again, I think the people creating the curriculum don't always realize they are 5. I hope your students enjoy the poem!

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  13. Thank you so much for this resource. I love that the text is simple yet full of information. It is something that I can use with my students. They need these simple texts right now. Welcome to Literacy land!!

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  14. Thanks, Em. I love kinders and giving them the simplest way to understand the most complex of subjects is a challenge. AND it's fun!

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