Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The History of MLK Day

We weren't exactly sad to have Martin Luther King Day off from school! Especially since we spent that day finding a wedding dress for Brittany! However, we didn't want to let such an important day pass without reflecting on why we celebrate and remember such an important man in American History. Our classes joined together for a full day of Dr. King! 
The first thing we did was create a "Thinking Map" on the Smart Board. We started with our schema on Martin Luther King Jr. We used whole brain teaching to introduce "SCHEMA" earlier this year. The students use words and motions to describe what schema means. We reviewed the meaning of schema before beginning the lesson. We turn both hands out and elbows in  (as if to "what") and say "SCHEMA is something you THINK you know. It might be right it. It might be wrong. It's what you think." When they say think they move their finger toward their brain. 

Below you will see our entire thinking map. First we wrote down our schema. Every year our students think MLK is the president and/or a King. 
As we learned new facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we added our facts to new learning. Also, we discussed the word Misconceptions. We always add 'misconceptions" to our thinking maps, however, this particular lesson seemed extra appropriate since so much of what went on during this time in history was based on a lot of misconceptions. 

Next, we watched the read aloud "Martin's Big Words."
We discussed
as a class his words meant and that by BIG
words the author is always
telling us that Martin used POWERFUL WORDS. 
We did the egg activity using a white egg
and a brown egg to discuss Martin's famous quote "
 I have a dream that my four little children will one day
live in a nation where they will not be judged by the
color of their skin but by the content
of their character." 

Of course our students quickly realized
 that though the eggs were different colors on the outside,
they were the same on the inside. We were surprised by how well
they understood this concept. 
" I have a dream that Ms. Prussing will be
the principal of our school forever" haha
We asked our students to visualize and think about how Martin must
have felt when people treated him unfairly. 
After our speeches were finished
 writing our speeches, we practiced
reading them.

Later that day we created a "I have a dream..." list. We discussed
different dreams that were important to us and our world.
Teacher tip: make sure to explain that in this case
 the word dream is more like a hope
or a wish not something we do when we are sleeping. 
We finished off our day by doing some Kagan, HAND UP- STAND UP- PAIR UP to share our speeches with our classmates. 

It was touching to see how much the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. affected our first graders. They were all very upset by the way he was treated along with all of the other people who were treated so poorly because of the color of their skin. They all agreed that they are very glad MLK was brave and stood up for what was right. 

One day later... 

Today we used the story of Ruby Bridges to discuss the sadness of segregation during the time Martin Luther King. We are working on the reading comprehension strategy QUESTIONING. First we wrote down the importance of asking questions before, during and after we read. Next we made a mini anchor chart of questioning phrases.

Students wrote down the question they
felt was most important to them. They
recorded their question on a post-it note. By the middle of the story
they were able to answer their question. 
After seeing only the cover of "The Story of Ruby Bridges"
 students developed
questions the had about
the story based on what they saw on the cover of the story.

Overall, the lesson went well. we did a lot of class discussion about Ruby and here bravery. We also talked about the importance of this event in history. "What if Ruby wasn't so courageous and she stopped going to school? Would things have changed?" We could have spent the next few hours learning about Ruby and other brave people in American History. But 2:05 came all too quickly today and before we knew it, our two day history lesson on segregation (thanks to whole brain teaching, our students have mastered the meaning of that word too) had to come to a close. 

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