Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr!

Today, the kids and i had some friends over, and i decided to do an actual MLK lesson. First, i handed out snack: some kids got crackers and others got chocolate. My kids didn't like that too much! Next, i had them write how that experience made them feel (did they feel good to get the "better" snack? or did they feel bad to get the "bad" snack?).

Then i introduced Mr. King. We talked about who he was and what he saw growing up black in the South during the 1930s. We talked about segregation - separate water fountains (and the conditions of each), separate schools, Martin losing a white playmate when school started, and Blacks being forced to give up their seats on buses to Whites. i explained that being discriminated against doesn't feel good or fair, and we talked about their feelings during the "discrimination" snack.

Then we read the story "The Crayon Box That Talked," which is about diversity, and we discussed how important it is to have all different kinds of people in the world. They each colored a paper crayon however s/he wanted to represent how s/he thought s/he would look if s/he were a crayon, and we discussed the positives of each.

The last thing i did was have my eldest read 2 paragraphs - one was written with improper grammar, poor spelling, and no punctuation; the other was written with proper grammar and spelling, words that flowed, and appropriate punctuation. We then discussed the different ways we would respond to and expect others to respond to the two different types of communication. Both messages were the same, but the delivery was quite different. I explained the importance of a proper education if you want people to take you seriously in life. We discussed how easy it would be to have a VERY RIGHT and GOOD idea, but be ignored because you sound like an uneducated person. Then i explained how well-educated Mr. King was, and how he traveled outside of the South to get higher education than what was available in the South to black people.

Overall, i think it was a successful lesson about discrimination and how even one person can make a difference. We had art, creative writing, history, and civics. We'll do math tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Junior, and thank you for your contribution and sacrifice.

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