Our school completed a MLK Jr Day Bulletin Board Activity last week. We organized a collaborative display in honor of Martin Luther King that involves kindergarten through eighth grade. At the beginning of the week, my sixth grade class made a presentation about MLK Jr Day during our school assembly. We included some general information about Mr. King. Then we asked the students if they knew the way Ronald Reagan and MLK were connected. We shared the fact that Ronald Reagan was the president who signed the bill creating the federal holiday we have today. That connection between the 40th president and Martin Luther King Jr. kicked off our schoolwide activity.
If you are looking for a MLK Jr activity that works for elementary and middle grade students this week, make a collaborative display. Give each class a topic that relates in some way to King. The goal is to have each class create a path from their topic back to MLK. We finished our display board Friday, and my school is so excited about all the connections we can see between a wide variety of people and places. It clearly illustrates ways Martin Luther King impacted others.
Prepare the MLK Jr. Day Activity
- Create a list of topics. The list should include very basic topics like Atlanta, Georgia (MLK’s birthplace) to more difficult topic like Elvis Presley (he recorded a song in memory of MLK). To download a sample list, visit my original BLOG POST HERE.
- Gather articles and books that will help with information for each topic. I wrote a general biography that provides ideas for several of the simpler topics. To get a copy of the biography, visit my original BLOG POST HERE. For the more advanced topics, complete Google searches with the keywords, “MLK” and the topic name. When you find an article, print a copy. My school library also had a good section of picture books and biographies for younger readers. Below is a list of a few we used.
- Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
- A Place to Land by Barry Wittenstein
- A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David A. Adler
- National Geographic Readers Martin Luther King, Jr. by Kitson Jazynka
- I Have a Dream paintings by Kadir Nelson
- Assemble materials in a manila envelope. In each envelope, place 5-6 notecards, a long piece of yarn, a small handful of thumbtacks, the topic list, and a printed article or picture book. Each classroom teacher received an envelope with an article or book that fit the topic they were assigned. You can also supply both an article and a picture book. The teachers at my school really appreciated having the information provided for them.
Organize the MLK Jr Bulletin Board
- Kick off the activity at an assembly if you can. Give general information about MLK Day and share some sample topic connections. We shared the path between Ronald Reagan and King first. Then we showed a second connection between Michael King Jr. and Martin Luther King Jr.
- Back in the classrooms, teachers and students worked together to learn about their assigned topic. Once they recognized the connection, the class created one set of notecards that showed the tie between the topic and Mr. King. The notecards are pinned to the group bulletin board, so everyone can see all the ways King’s ideas influenced others. Some of the topics showed how people had an influence on King. The finished MLK Jr Day bulletin board is a great visual representation of all ways we continue to learn from MLK Jr.’s actions.
If you are looking for more ideas to help honor Martin Luther King, visit my TeachersPayTeachers store HERE and download a winter paint chip poetry activity for free. You can also see a blog post about the winter paint chip activity HERE.