REMEMBERING MLK JR.
Today we remember a brave man who stood up when others did not. My husband writes,
Though mine and my children's generation never knew him, we are the beneficiaries of his work. I admit, other than the brief summaries we read in high school and the once-a-year holiday, I didn't know much about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Not until college when we were required to Strength to Love, a collection of MLK sermons on racial injustice, and Stride Toward Freedom, the first-hand account of Dr. King and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, did I begin to grasp the impact of his work. But what made him remarkable was not so much his charisma as his sense of community. Less his eloquence as his appeal to non-violence. Less his choice of words as his choice to be fearless. As we celebrate this weekend, I pass on these words, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
To celebrate an outstanding man we learned about his biographical information, his dream, and how he and his team changed the landscape of America. Our week-long activities includes making a portrait, discovering our own dreams, and learning about MLK's work through apples. Yes, apples. Here's what we did:
MLK PORTRAITS | To begin our MLK portraits we mixed brown paint and played with saturation using black paint. We talked about pigmentation - meaning the more melanin you have, the darker the skin you have. It was a great bridge to science and genes.
We painted various colors of paint onto white butcher paper. Then we allowed it to dry overnight.
While we needed for our paper to dry, we worked on another project - I Have a Dream. We watched this clip, a quick biography about MLK. Then we watched MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech and discussed dreams. Young children need clarification between dreams (a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep) vs. MLK's definition of dream, or to contemplate the possibility of doing something. After spending five minutes talking about dreams, each student created their own dreams: to be an army man, to surf in my pool, to be a firefighter, to create a better world, to be a teacher, to be a miner. Then they wrote their dreams inside a bubble graphic organizer which we'd use later with our MLK portraits.
On Wednesday we finished our portraits using basic shapes (circles for eyes, two small rectangles for his mustache, a triangle for his nose, and a crescent for lips.)
We then finalized our art projects. To make his hair we glued a third of the oval shape onto black construction paper, traced a .5 inch around the top, and cut it out. To top it off, we pasted the bubble and MLK's portrait onto yellow construction paper and displayed them on our bulletin boards, reminding us to always dream.
Fridays are usually spent cooking easy recipes with my students. For today's lesson we learned about varieties using apples. To prep I bought seven various apples (Fuji, Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Opal, and Gala). After washing them I wrapped them with paper towels. During circle time, together we unwrapped each apple and compared them. We noticed each apple had a unique color, size, and feel. I related it to our physical appearances - from the outside we all look different. but when we look inside, we're not much different. How?
I cut the apples open. Together, we tasted each apple, commenting on its flavor, taste, and texture. Then we observed the inside or the flesh of the apple, noticing that it was all the same color inside. Finally, we realized that inside each apple, although different on the outside, all carried stars inside. Although we may look different on the outside, each one of us - like the apples - holds a special, star-like quality. It's a lovely, innocent way of closing this little unit on revolutionary man who left a legacy of justice, equality, peace, and love for the rest of us to learn, share, and live with the world around us.