MLK: A Man Who Had a Dream

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SWBAT view a video about the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr and build relevant higher level vocabulary.

Big Idea

Wouldn't it be terrible, wouldn't it be sad? If one single color is all the color we had?

Prepare the Learner

15 minutes

Sing Martin Luther King song


I bring students to the carpet.  We look at the words to the song.  First I read the song to the students, then I sing it.  


I then echo sing the song with the kids using My Turn, Your Turn.

  • I sing the first two lines: "Dr. Martin Luther King- A man who had a dream"  Students repeat. 
  • I sing the rest of the stanza: "D-R-E-A-M,  D-R-E-A-M,  D-R-E-A-M, His name was Dr. King."  Students repeat.


I follow this same procedure for the rest of the song.  It breaks the song up into manageable chunks and I have found that the students have an easier time both singing the song and remembering the words with this approach.  


When we finish echo singing the song, we discuss some of the information that we gained from the song about Dr. King's dreams. (peace, fair treatment) This sets the stage for the video and what it will talk about.

Interact with text/concept

45 minutes

The King and His Dream


We watch the video “The King and His Dream.”   This is a great video that gives kindergarteners some important facts about MLK with graphics and narration that is comprehensible to them. 


1st viewing:  We watch the video the first time through as an unencumbered view. I just want my kids to get the gist of the video during this view.


2nd viewing:  The second time we view the video I pause the video at the following stopping points and do step asides to clarify vocabulary.


Injustice (:34)

Leader/Icon (3:12) 

Peaceful (1:30)

Fair (1:57)


To address asking and answering questions about unknown words in text,  I prompt the kids to see if they can help define and clarify these words based on their prior knowledge or what they heard in the video.  If they cannot, then I will clarify the word’s meaning using the context of the video.  I also ask the kids to think of examples in their own lives that they have had experiences with these instances or people.  These are vocabulary words that could impede meaning, so it is important to address them with the students.  The context helps them to make the meaning and the personal connections make the words and their usage meaningful for students.



I ask: Have you ever seen or experienced an injustice?  When?  What happened?  If students have no experience with the word, I check for understanding by giving examples and non examples.  I say:  Is it fair if I only let the girls go to recess?  Why or why not?

Extend Understanding

20 minutes

Not by the color of our skin, but the content of our character


We discuss this famous phrase in MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech and this famous phrase.  I ask: What do you think he means when he says that he hopes his kids are judged not by the color of their skin?  What do you think your ‘character’ is? 


I then show kids one brown egg and one white egg.  We talk about the ‘skin’ or shell of the egg and what is different about them.  (color)  We then color the two eggs on the front cover of the step book, one brown and one we leave white.  I ask:  How is the shell of these eggs like our skin?   I guide the students to conclude that our skin is different colors like the egg shells are.


I  crack each of the eggs and we examine the inside of the egg.  I say: What is inside of us is called our character.  Everyone say ‘character.’  (students echo)  We then talk about the aspects to our character. 


I ask: What is on the inside of the eggs? (yolk, egg white)  We discuss how the eggs, much like us, can be different on the outside but similar on the inside. 


The kids then draw the inside of the eggs on the second page of the step book  to show the relationship between the text (Not by the color of our skin, but the content of our character) and an illustration.  This also helps me to check for understanding because as kids are drawing, I ask students: How are the eggs like our skin and character?