Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" Argument - Part 1

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SWBAT analyze a written speech for meaning and purpose.

Big Idea

Analyzing the dream speech.

Warm Up

5 minutes

When students enter the classroom, the daily agenda will instruct them to respond to the following question in their journal.

"What is the American Dream?" Answer this in your own words.  Then, use the dictionary.com link on your desktop to check your explanation.  

Where you correct? Explain.


20 minutes

As students finish up the warm up activity, I will begin a conversation about Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.  I'll ask students to identify King's most famous speech.  Many will say "I Have a Dream." So, I'll respond with "What was his dream?" Do we know...?

Next, I'll ask students to take a copy of the article "King's Dream" from the caddy.  (The article is available for free on the Scholastic News site.) To ensure that we are all on the same page, we'll read the article together and discuss.  As it fits with the content of the article, during the reading -when appropriate -I will share on the SMART board my own photographs of the King Memorial in DC.

I'll ask students to consider how King's "dream" and the American Dream are the same.  Then, to help us have a more clear view of his dream and the argument he made for that dream, I'll ask students to take a copy of the famous speech from the caddy.


Independent Work

25 minutes

To get students started, I'll ask how many have ever read the speech and know what it is actually about.  I expect little to none to have any direct knowledge of the content of the speech outside "I have a dream..."

So, I'll instruct students to read and both answer the questions in the margin and use text coding to track their thinking. I'll also encourage them to use their dictionary.com link to look up unfamiliar words.



Wrap Up

5 minutes

To wrap up class today, I'll allow students to share concerns they have with the text.  Many will say the vocabulary is too difficult or they aren't sure what he is talking about in certain sections.

I'll point out that they should notice that Dr. King using a lot of literary devices -metaphors, similes, hyperboles, allusions, etc. and invite them to think more figuratively as they read.