Today we celebrated Martin Luther King Day by focusing on one of his most powerful legacies: his words. After recalling what we learned about the Civil Rights Movement earlier in the year, we did some math to figure out that Dr. King died only 48 years ago. The students were surprised to learn that he died in 1968, not 1988, 1992, or 2001, as some of them guessed.
Next, we watched a moving presentation of the book Martin's Big Words. This video describes the significance of words in Dr. King's life and how he used them to encourage and inspire others. His own voice, along with spiritual hymns, are layered behind the story, adding to its emotional effect. You can watch the video below.
After watching and discussing the video, the students were given their own copy of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous I Have a Dream Speech. They were instructed to highlight "big" or "powerful" words in the speech. They then used those words to create a found poem that expressed the importance of the Civil Rights Movement.
The results were stunning.
Little people, big minds.