How we honored Martin Luther King Jr.

by becky on January 12, 2013

Well, like most of you, I’m sure it was back to the grind this week. I don’t know why, but by yesterday (Friday), I felt like we had been back for a month. I really missed my goobers, so I was glad to see them and we had a great (albeit loooongg) week. 🙂

Before I get into how my class and I honored MLK Jr., I wanted to post the picture of my Rockin’ Resolution Bulletin Board. I LOVE it! I don’t know if it’s the neon colors, but it makes me smile when I walk past it.

Here is a picture of one of the funniest resolutions I read.

Oh, the honesty of children!

Also, I’ve had so many emails and questions about my “Tackling Math Workshop” post, that I wanted to post about the math “packets” I use. Back in the dark ages when I started teaching, I was strongly encouraged to give mad minute multiplication and division tests. I didn’t know where to get these and TpT and GoogleDocs had yet to be started, so I went to my local teacher store and found these books.

They had the timed test component but even more than that, they had several kid-friendly worksheets for each basic math fact. Over the years I stopped giving the timed tests, but I eventually tore these books apart, and copied them into packets. I made them into 4 packets total. The first one focused on x-facts 1-6, the second x-facts 7-12, the third division 1-6, and the last 7-12. As the students finish one packet, they turn it in, and after I check them over, they get the next one.

I did find a link online that sold them, and I’m not going to lie… I’m very tempted to purchase the books for Multiplying and Dividing larger numbers. I’m still thinking about it… While I contemplate my next purchase, if you are interested in these books or other books in this series, click here.  I hope this helps!

So, for reading this week, my class and I discussed the life of Martin Luther King Jr. In one of my upcoming posts, I’m going to explain my approach to reading instruction this year, but for today I just want to talk about how I actually liked using the basal (gasp!). The next story in our basal is My Brother Martin.

 It’s a story written from the perspective of Martin’s sister, Christine. It was a great introduction for talking about civil rights and the role Martin had in acquiring the rights for all. Over the week, along with doing skill and strategy practice, my goobers and I read a few more books about Martin. They included:
We did a couple role playing experiences to let them see what our class would look and feel like if Martin (and others) hadn’t dedicated their lives to establishing fair and equal rights for all. The most powerful one was when I moved their desks into new groups based on their skin color. You could feel the comfort  level lower immediately when one of my goobers was completely alone. I only kept them like this long enough to do some reflective writing on how they felt in their “new” groups. When I moved them back to their original spots, you could just see the tension lift.
To wrap up the discussion (and the week), I introduced the following activity to them. In my never ending Pinterest searches, I came across the following idea. Like most ideas, I tweaked it for my classroom, and luckily it turned out great!
 Here is the original idea:

I LOVE Andy Warhol, so I was excited to apply his idea with the activity. The idea is to have students draw a picture of themselves and then color their faces with different skin tones to show that even with different colors, they are the exact same person.

For about a minute I thought about having my students draw a picture of themselves. But, I quickly decided that if I wanted this to be a recognizable activity, I would have to help them. Yes, I know, it takes the creativity away from them, but I know my kids. Some will take their time and put their heart into it and make a beautiful drawing of themselves, while others will literally draw their picture in 10 seconds and say they are done. Sorry, controlling teacher it is.

Anyway, because I liked the idea of the drawing, but because I have control issues, I decided to meet the project half way. I found a fun and FREE website called Be Funky where you can upload your pictures and then play around with them by adding different effects, changing colors, fixing errors, etc. I decided to apply the “charcoal” effect to my students’ pictures. It gives the photo the look of being drawn. Here is how my picture looked after I added the effect. 

Isn’t that cool?

So, using pictures of my goobers, I did this to each of their photos. Then, I copy/pasted three more of them so they had four total charcoal effect pictures of themselves. I showed them how I colored my pictures with different  realistic (key word) skin tones and we discussed the meaning behind the project. Then, they got to work. For the future, I may invest in multicultural colored crayons or colored pencils (do those even exist?) because Crayola doesn’t quite fit for this. Most my kids only had the regular 24 pack so their choices were limited. Since I wanted this to be a quality project and not an excuse for them to give themselves punk rocker hair, when I saw a few pictures being colored to look like Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompa’s, I printed out new ones for them to recolor. Once they understood Ms. Furlan wanted this to be appropriate, we had smooth sailing.

They then glued their projects to black construction paper and glued a whimisical (took me about 2 hours to hand trace each one with a black marker and my fingers, wrist, and forearm were covered in marker ink) frame around their final project. It added a touch of class, ha!

Here is our final board. I love it! The class is very proud as well. They just kept staring at it. 🙂

And here is a close up of my final project so you can see how it all came together. I normally don’t hang my projects up with the class’s projects, but one of my Goobers was absent and I didn’t want a “hole” in my board. Issues, I know. When she comes back and completes hers, I’ll switch them out.

Finally, to reward my class for doing such an AWESOME job on their long division test this week, (EVERYONE scored a C or higher, yay!!!), I decided to let them watch Our Friend Martin.

What a great video with the voices of so many famous actors and actress that shows what life might be like today if Martin Luther King hadn’t had the courage to stand up for what’s right. Great way to end the week!

I’d love to hear what you think! ‘Til next time!!!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzy January 13, 2013 at 3:04 am

Your board is great! I just bought skin tone crayons this fall, so they exist! I bought six packages, one for each table. (I bought mine from Lakeshore Learning. )


Becky January 16, 2013 at 1:19 am

Thank you!!! Lakeshore to the rescue. I am definitely going to purchase some on my next trip. Great suggestion of one for each table. 🙂


Deanna Iverson January 13, 2013 at 4:48 am

You have the greatest ideas and fabulous bulletin boards. My class completed your rockin’ resolution board as well and I love it! This art project is another relevant and unique idea. Thanks!


Becky January 16, 2013 at 1:20 am

You are so sweet! I’m just glad someone can find my ideas helpful. I’m so excited your class enjoyed the rockin’ resolutions. It was a total last minute idea that worked out perfectly! 🙂


Molly January 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Oh my goodness, that project is AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for sharing!! Our character value this month is diversity, and with black history month coming up, this will be perfect!!

Lessons with Laughter


Melissa February 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Love, Love, LOOOVE how these turned out!!! My students love when I say to stop at your bulletin board because they can stare at them all day. (So can I!) 🙂
See you tomorrow!
Melissa 🙂


Amy September 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this lesson and I want to do this as a diversity lesson for some of the classes I work with … I am wondering how did you print these pictures once you put the charcoal effect on them … when I try to print it takes me to a page to buy products … it totally could be operator error but I can’t seem to figure it out so any help would be fantastic!!!


Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: