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Five Fun Faves in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day! PLUS a FREEBIE!

UPDATE!  A fresh new FREEBIE and a great new bundle are available HERE! Get everything you need and more- an engaging, informational show, writing pages, and several of my favorite time-tested, teacher snd student-approved projects!

When January rolls around, it's always a highlight in Kindergarten to get to tell the stories of brave world changers like MLK Jr., Ruby Bridges, and Rosa Parks.  If you teach K, you KNOW what I mean!  Those little 5 and 6 year old mouths hang open and they are SHOCKED that anyone could have ever been so mean to another person!  They just CANNOT believe it (and that's the way it should be, right?!)!
Kids really identify with Ruby Bridges since she's so much like them!

Rosa Parks
Martin Luther King Jr.

If you popped over as part of the I teach K linky- welcome!  Let me quickly introduce myself... Hi, I'm Katie! I'm married to my high school sweetheart, mom to three little sweeties at home, Teacher-Author on TPT, "Mrs. Howard" to a great class of 22 Kinders... and we all live in Minnesota!  Here's a little pic from my family's Summer vacation when we drove up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park at sunrise... oh my word!  If you've never done that- add it to your bucket list!!!!  Breathtakingly beautiful!!!!
Rocky Mountain National Park with my people... LOVE!

Okay, now back to the topic! I have a couple of favorite activities I've done over the 15 years I've been teaching K and 1st and I'd love to share them with you today!  

First- a story that inspired the first project!  I had a super cute student who was definitely 110% Caucasian, but he was one of those kiddos that gets really tan really easily in the Summer.  I think he'd heard a lot of people exclaim about how dark he gets.  So fast forward back to Kindergarten and this little guy hears the story of MLK Jr. and goes home and freaks out to his dad, "Dad!  You won't believe what Martin Luther King Jr did for me!!!"  He goes on to tell his parents about how HE is black and now thanks to MLK Jr's work, he can go to the same schools as everyone else, etc.  Oh my.  It was precious.

Mix Colors to Create YOUR  Skin Color

So I came up with the idea of going out and buying a bunch of skin toned paint.
I laid it all out for the kids are let them try to mix the paints together to create a color that they felt most closely resembled their skin.  We talked about how NO ONE has "white" skin or "black" skin, but we're all different shades of peach and brown and we're all so unique.  I had them each trace their hand and then paint it with the paint they created.

The Classic "Hands as a Heart" Picture

While we wait for the paint to dry, I like to do a picture like this:
I lightly trace a big heart on the big paper and then have them all squish in (laying on tummies works best) and line their finger tips up with the line I drew. You have to stand on a chair or table to snap it (careful!) but, the picture is adorable and so meaningful.  Makes a great screen saver on your computer.  :)

Save the paper!  And then when those sweet little handprints the kids painted dry, they can write their names on them, cut them out and glue those around the edge of the heart and hang it up in the hall!  LOVE!  Great for MLK AND Valentine's Day- BOOM!  I like to put an MLK Jr. quote in the middle in January and change it in February to say "We LOVE our class!"

Gorgeous Watercolor MLK Jr. Quotes

And speaking of MLK Jr. quotes... how beautiful are these?!
I picked 26 of my faves (there are SO MANY wonderfully wise ones, right?!!) typed up and then I have the kids just watercolor over the top.   I usually mat them on black or colored paper and they look so awesome hanging in the hall. Everyone loves them!
  If you want to grab these for your class, you can have them all typed up and ready to go (in both a PDF exactly like mine AND an editable word doc so you can change the font and size if you want) in my Martin Luther King, Jr Project Pack on TpT!  (It also comes with a sweet construction paper craftivity of MLK Jr. himself, an "I have a dream!" writing page, and a writing reflection piece to accompany the quotes.)

Okay, 2 more quick ideas...

The Egg Illustration

Have you seen the powerful illustration where you take a brown egg and a white egg and talk about how they look so different on the outside... but once you crack them, you can see that they look the same on the inside?

And then of course you relate that to us as people and talk about how the inside is the most important part.

Directed Drawing

Finally, I've been wanting to publish a directed drawing of MLK Jr for years (because I love, love, love doing directed drawings with my class like this one or this one), but until I get around to that- check this out!  I've done this one for the past 15 years and it always turns out awesome.  I just look at a picture like this to guide myself:

and took them step by step through drawing him... starting with a BIG head that takes up almost the whole page, then modeled how to do football-shaped eyes, make the ears across from the eyes... and so on!  I encouraged them to draw realllly lightly with pencil so they could erase if needed.  I emphasized that theirs won't like exactly like mine or their neighbor's, but it's super cool cause they will ALL end up looking just like MLK!  And they did!

When we finished drawing, they got to add any background they wanted... a solid color or an American flag (or one girl did a Mexican flag--- LOL!) and they turned out gorgeous!  These are Kindergarteners!  I'd encourage anyone to try this with your class- K or older!  I wasn't sure my K babies could do this, but they knocked my socks off.

However you choose to celebrate, Happy MLK Jr. Day!  Let freedom ring!  Be sure to stop by and see what all my friends from I Teach Kinder are also sharing today in our linky here: