Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the Elementary Classroom

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day resources for elementary classrooms
No need for the #sundayscaries this week because Monday is a national holiday! It is the day we honor the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If you are like me, this holiday comes real fast-just as you are getting back into the routine of school and the kids are finally ready to work again  after the break. We need to approach this day with care. It seems like our world could use a little more reminding of Martin's peaceful ideas for sure! We want to be mindful to actually teach the importance of freedom and rights, rather than allowing a teachable moment to pass us by. Respect and attention to this day can be given in age appropriate ways-while keeping on track with routines and standards as much as possible. There's a freebie below so keep reading-you don't want to miss! 
Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities for kids
I always love incorporating social studies into other subjects. It comes very naturally to me as an educator to integrate so when my daughter came home talking about the famous Georgians, I knew I was ready to collaborate with her on a few printables and resources for MLK Day. As a second grader, she's very excited about multiplication so we made a little mystery quote with the most commonly missed multiplication problems. Next, she's into place value and that's something many kids from second to fourth grade still need some review with this time of year. So we used some Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs clipart and got to work creating this little pack! It includes 6 different activities (vocabulary crossword, word search, multiplication mystery, place "values" with Dr. King, a fact and opinion sort, and a word study "color by part of speech" that uses abstract nouns from Dr. King's "I Have A Dream Speech"). These are all able to be completed independently after a brief review of the skills. Check out a preview video for one of the activities and to see a bit more of what's included here. I'd say these are best suited for advanced second graders through fourth grade, or for differentiation in most elementary classrooms! 
Martin Luther King Jr. elementary activities
Abstract nouns can be a challenge to distinguish between verbs & adjectives at times, so we really enjoyed going on a scavenger hunt through the "I Have A Dream" speech for those-hooray for use of primary sources! You can find the actual speech with subtitles here, or I really love this kid-spoken version one here. After *really* discussing abstract nouns, we listened to the speech and read through the "I Have a Dream" book that I discuss in the next paragraph....keep reading. Then, we listed all of the abstract nouns we found. Such an opportunity here! If you'd like a printable version of this anchor chart, along with a generic anchor chart for abstract nouns. Click here to download it and be sure to leave feedback so that other teachers can find this resource.abstract nouns in the I Have A Dream Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Abstract Nouns Free Anchor Chart Bow Tie Guy
Next, we looked through our books to see what kinds of texts we have about Martin and Civil Rights. Honestly, I thought I had a few more (#teacherprobs and #bibliophile) but these are what we could find! Her personal favorite was A Picture Book About Martin Luther King, Jr. but I really love Martin's Big Words and March On! If you teach fourth through sixth grades and your standards cover civil rights, I highly recommend "What Was The March On Washington" as a read aloud! Read my post about Helping Struggling Readers With Audio Books for more info about the Storybook Treasures/DVDs shown here! To shop for these books, I've got them all added here! (*Affiliate link=Amazon might give me 2 cents for taking the time to add sharable links here-thank you!) I also really like the "I Have A Dream Speech in translation" because it really breaks the entire speech down into kid friendly language. The photographs, vocabulary, and other nonfiction text features are fantastic! 
Martin Luther King Jr. printables for kids
Looking for rich texts to use to teach with? Check out this list-there are some really great ones to add to your library. (Be sure to check with Scholastic first to make sure you are getting the best deal!) Need an activity you can share out to students in Google Classrooms or use as a time filler? Download this Martin Luther King, Jr. video to give your students some background information about his mission and why we don't have school on Monday. I also love this video by Kid President about Dr. King. 
If you are interested in diving deeper, I recommend using our differentiated passages in guided reading centers/literacy stations. We have sets for MLK, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, Civil Rights, Rosa Parks, and many more. Using these texts will allow your class to continue the study of civil rights in a meaningful way that saves you time!
I hope you and your students enjoy a lovely day off on Monday, knowing why we get that day to celebrate and honor the important contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr!
martin luther king jr. activities for kids