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Simple Martin Luther King Day Activities for Middle School

Updated on January 20, 2014
Bring King's message of peace, brotherhood, and kindness into your middle school classroom
Bring King's message of peace, brotherhood, and kindness into your middle school classroom | Source

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!

Looking for some quick, hassle free ways to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday with your students this year? Your pupils will engage and enjoy learning about Dr. King and his beliefs.

Here are five ways to observe the birthday of Dr. King and to spread the message of service, peace, and kindness for all mankind.

  • Acrostic Poetry
  • Video Skit
  • Peaceful Hands
  • View and Discuss MLK Youtube Videos
  • Create Group PowerPoint Presentations

According to www.corestandards.org, these suggestions meet the Common Core State Standards for grades 6-8 in literacy and technology (RL.6.1,2,7 SL.6.1c and many others).

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Acrostic Poem for the word DREAM

Students can create an acrostic poem using the letters from the word “DREAM”. Students can then decorate their poem with symbols for peace, love, and unity. For example, D is for determination, R is for respect for all, E is for excellent speech, A is for acceptance and admiration, and M is for the mighty man that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was and always will be.


What is your favorite part of MLK Day?

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Video Skit

Upon permission to online publish from the student's parents, teachers can ask students to create a two-minute skit about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to be recorded and posted online for others to view. Recorded skits would make a nice addition to the classroom website or can be viewed by others during an organized assembly with their peers.

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Peaceful Hands

Students can trace and cut out construction paper hands. White, beige, and brown construction paper can represent many different races. Then form a large peace sign with the cut-out hands. On each hand, students can express their dreams for world peace through words, phrases, or Dr. King quotes. This should be displayed in a main corridor for all visitors to see and reflect upon. Create a banner above the display that reads “I HAVE A DREAM FOR PEACE”.

“King Holiday” by King Dream Chorus & the Holiday Crew

MLK YouTube Videos

“Our Friend, Martin” - http://youtu.be/ROracLAcRSc

“King Holiday” by King Dream Chorus & the Holiday Crew - http://youtu.be/ZSPpQsUQy0E

“Happy Birthday (Happy Birthday To Ya)” by Stevie Wonder - http://youtu.be/hrIrEgEX2hU

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - The Man and the Dream - http://youtu.be/KJOV-rUPGCE

“Martin Luther King - I Have A Dream Speech on 8/28/63” - http://youtu.be/smEqnnklfYs

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - The Man and the Dream

Analyze and Summarize Videos

Above is a list of YouTube videos (with their links) that your middle school students will enjoy. Afterwards, you can ask students to reflect on the video by writing a summary. Make this a compare and contrast exercise if you would like to choose more than one video to watch. Create a T-Chart or Venn Diagram to help students organize their thoughts.


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Create Group PowerPoint Presentations

Allow students to work collaboratively in groups to research the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and create a PowerPoint presentation of their findings to be presented to the class. Be sure o provide specific directions and a rubric for the best results.

Add Your Ideas and Positive Experiences

I would love to hear about your Martin Luther King lessons. Do you have ideas to share with me and other readers? Have you had any positive experiences with these or other MLK activities in your middle school? Have you participated in any successful "Day of Service" activities that you would like to highlight? I am always looking for fresh ways to deliver Martin's message of peace and kindness to my middle school students.

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