Who better to help teach character education than Martin Luther King Jr.? My class had a meaningful discussion about one of the most famous quotes from his “I Have a Dream” speech:
“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.”
We spoke about what character meant and gave examples, and the kids came to the conclusion that it is more important to be seen for who we are on the inside rather than on the outside. I then asked them to think about what qualities make up their own character, and what non-physical traits they would most want to be known for by others.
I provided them with a few sentence frames on the board (which were later used to help them create sentences for a writing craftivity):
I have a dream that others will see me for ____________________.
I have a dream that people will know me for ____________________.
I have a dream that I will be known for ____________________.
I have a dream that I will be remembered for ____________________.
As a whole group, we brainstormed ideas for character traits to fill in the blank. Some of the answers they came up with were being kind, being a good friend, making people laugh, being helpful to others, etc.
Students chose one of the sentence frames (or created a similar one in their own words) and wrote it on the paper showed below. Here is the sample I made ahead of time and showed them:
Just like in my sample, the kids also illustrated a picture to go with it, and colored and cut out a picture of Martin Luther King to attach to the top and bottom of the paper.
Here are a few that were created by my kids. I had a hard time choosing which ones to take pictures of to show you, because I seriously loved them all. I just adore the ideas they came up with and am so happy with how they turned out!
I hung them up in the hallway outside our classroom. They make for a beautiful display for January (and February too, since it’ll be Black History Month). I’m never one to complain about being able to leave something up on the wall for as long as possible!
And if you’re looking for additional resources for MLK, here’s another one that is very versatile and can be used to supplement just about any other lesson or activity on Martin Luther King. It includes a close reading passage, comprehension questions, and MLK writing paper. You can click here to get it.
I hope these resources are helpful for you during the busy month of January. I don’t know about you, but I have a dream that the MLK 3 day weekend will be here soon!