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INBOX Ideas - Previous Revision

Honor Martin Luther King Jr. in Your Classroom
from NCTE INBOX 1-15-13 

Keep King's legacy alive in your classroom and throughout your school with these resources from NCTE and

Martin Luther King Jr. and Me: Identifying with a Hero (E) encourages students to explore the connections between King and themselves in journals and inquiry-based research. For a follow-up, try Living the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness (E) or How Big Are Martin's Big Words? Thinking Big about the Future (E), both from

Nikki Giovanni's poem "The Funeral of Martin Luther King Jr." is paired with King's "I Have a Dream" speech, taking students on a quest through time to the civil rights movement, in the lesson Entering History: Nikki Giovanni and Martin Luther King Jr. (M). Also check out Living Voices: Multicultural Poetry in the Middle School Classroom, the NCTE book that inspired the lesson plan.

In Every Punctuation Mark Matters: A Mini-Lesson on Semicolons (M-S), students first explore King's use of semicolons and their rhetorical significance in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and then apply the lesson to their own writing.

Encourage your students to explore the ways that passionate words communicate the concepts of freedom, justice, discrimination, and the American Dream in King's "I Have a Dream" speech, with the lesson Exploring the Power of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Words through Diamante Poetry (S).

For more details on the ways that King's word choice shapes his message, consider the Teaching English in the Two-Year College article "Using 'I Have a Dream' to Teach Strong Repetition (What Works for Me)" (S-C).

In "Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' in Context: Ceremonial Protest and African American Jeremiad" (C), King's "I Have a Dream" is presented as the product of African American rhetorical traditions of ceremonial protest and jeremiad speech-making, rituals that had crystallized long before King was born.

See the calendar entry for King's birthday for additional online resources.

African American Read-InStay tuned in the coming weeks for more ideas leading into Black History Month and the NCTE African American Read-In.


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