4 Ways to Honor MLK In Your Classroom

Martin Luther King Day Activities

January is one of my favorite months to teach because we get to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. For upper elementary and middle school students, this is a wonderful time to dig deep into the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his impact on our nation. 

There are so many directions to take when celebrating MLK Day. Rich lessons on tolerance, diversity, civil rights, non-violence, and so much more. 

One of my favorite ways to introduce the topic of civil rights is with the Civil Rights Movement ESCAPE ROOM. Students go on a mission to uncover interesting and surprising information about Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, MLK Jr., the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and other key figures and moments from the Civil Rights Era. 

To dive deeper into the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., introduce students to the Martin Luther King Jr. ESCAPE ROOM. Students work together to save his famous speech, learning and collaborating along the way. Codes include ciphers, Morse code, cryptograms, and a final 4-digit code to complete the mission. 

For some cross-curricular fun, try this MLK Jr. Color by Number Reading Passage and Text Marking activity. Perfect for grades 5-9, this lesson focuses on Language Arts skills as students read, annotate text for evidence, and answer questions. It includes a before and after reading anticipation guide. Use this to test prior knowledge or as a unit review activity! 

Finally, I love to schedule a slightly more “relaxing” day for my students (and for me, let’s be honest!), while still honoring MLK. This MLK Collaborative Poster activity fits the bill. Students work independently to color their own block, and then collaborate to fit all the pieces together. The completed product really draws attention. Perfect as a door or hallway decoration!

There are so many fun and meaningful ways to teach about the legacy of MLK Jr., it can be hard to narrow down exactly what to choose for your lessons. Keep your unique group of students in mind, and you’ll be well on your way! 

What are your favorite ways to teach about MLK this time of year? Let me know in the comments.

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