What's In A Dream?

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SWBAT examine MLK’s work and its affects on our society. SWBAT create their own ‘dream’ art .

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

We watch the “The March on Washington” video and discuss.

I ask:  What did Dr. King want?  Students answer using the linguistic pattern “Dr. King wanted ___”  If students cannot discuss what Dr. King wanted, I rewind the video and have them just watch the part that talks about what he wanted. (equal treatment for all people)  I stop the video right after MLK verbalizes what he wants.  Limiting the amount of ‘text’ the kids have to digest helps them to focus and extract information.  Because my kids are beginning English speakers, I almost always have to allow them several experiences with the video to give them a fair shot at extracting information.


I want students to listen for information about MLK, paying particular attention to his "I Have A Dream" speech so they can make a personal connection to that speech and concept of 'dreaming' in the sense of a want rather than just something they do when they sleep.  They will also need to know this for their writing that comes later in the lesson.


My second language learners really struggle with multi-meaning words.  This is a great one to address because most of them are familiar with ‘dream’ as being ‘thinking during sleep.’  


Interact with text/concept

45 minutes

Art Dream Project


This is a fun art project that helps kids make the abstract concept of ‘having a dream’ (one that addresses a desire that you work to make a reality as opposed to ‘thinking while sleeping’) more concrete. It also prompts kids to make a personal connection with the video.  They are thinking about dreams that they have for their world just like Dr. King did for his!


Instructional moves for guided art:

  1. Begin with a large sheet of construction paper. I used a 12”x18” sheet.
  2. Cut rectangle (blanket) and glue at the bottom of the paper. You can also pre-cut pieces for them.
  3. Trace & cute pillow pattern. You can angle it  or glue it in the center of the paper.
  4. Trace & cut head pattern. Then glue the hair onto the head.
  5. For girls, you can add ribbon or strips of construction paper for “ponytails”.
  6. Add facial features.
  7. Trace & cut bubble pieces. If you have a circle puncher handy, you can use that instead of cutting small circles out.

Extend Understanding

20 minutes

We now contextualize the art by giving it purpose through writing.  


I ask:  What is a dream?  Most kindergartners will tell you it is something you do when you sleep.  I clarify:  It is something you do when you sleep.  It is THINKING while you are sleeping.  Everybody say 'thinking while sleeping.'  (students echo)


I continue: Do you know you can dream while you are AWAKE too?!    When what you are thinking about is something you want to make happen...it isn't happening yet...that is also a dream.  I clarify that a dream isn't the want for an object.  It is the desire for something to HAPPEN.


After discussing Martin Luther King Jr. and the dream he had for peace & equality, ask students to write or draw a dream they have in the thought bubble. It can be a dream for their school, their community, the earth, or the world.  In kindergarten, students may write or draw and idea and supply information about that topic.  In this case, students are writing or drawing about their dream and the details in their picture or details in their writing give the reader the information about their dream.


As we all do, I have varying levels of writers in my classroom.  I encourage all students to try to write and my more capable students will.  My struggling students will need more support from me and I ask them for the best they can do with their writing.


After they are done drawing or writing their dream, have them glue the bubbles onto the paper & display.


I like to have a few students share their dreams.  I model talk moves like Can you tell me more about that?  Or I agree with that because___.  I also ask the group if they have any questions or comments about the shared dream.  This gives me an opportunity to guide collaborative talk and give kids a chance to hear and see what meaningful talk looks and sounds like!


 The last thing we do is sing the MLK song