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Home » Blog » Seasonal » Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activities and Videos

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activities and Videos

MLK Jr., Seasonal, Special Events, Winter, Winter Holidays, Writing Projects

Written by: Angie Olson

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an important day to celebrate both in and out of the classroom.  There are many important lessons for students to learn not only on this day but throughout the entire year.  This post explains the different activities and videos that can be used with students to teach them these valuable, life-long lessons. And, we will break down how much time each activity takes.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activities and Videos

The main lessons that can be taught are:

  • Always be civil
  • Peace and non-violence is always better
  • You can always do the right thing
  • Make it a priority to help others
  • Never give up on your dreams

All of these lessons can be taught through the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and why he is an iconic hero in our history.

How much time do you have?

As teachers, we know time is always limited! So, how can you fit special lessons and activities, like Martin Luther King, into your busy classroom schedule? This post is broken down into time increments to be sure you have time to honor this amazing man.

20 Minute Activities

One Hour Activities

Half Day Activities


20 Minute Activities

Have just a small chunk of time? Try showing an informative Martin Luther King, Jr. video or picture book, and give students a quick quiz with our ready to go comprehension questions!

Martin Luther King Jr. Videos

The following videos are a great option to show your students to help teach them about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  The videos also feature the important things that he did when he was alive and the legacy he has left after his death.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Books

Books are a great way to teach students about the importance of Dr. King.  Some of our favorites include…

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport

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Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Bonnie Bader

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Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr., by Jean Marzollo

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The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Christine Platt

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I Am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer

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Comprehension Questions

After the students have been exposed to both books and videos I check their level of understanding with a quiz.  When I give this quiz, each student gets a whiteboard and I ask the question aloud.  The students are given time to write their answer on the whiteboard and then I say, “1…2…3…show me!”  At that time the students hold up their boards so I can check for understanding.

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One Hour Activities

Have a bit more time? Try any combination of the books and videos above with the comprehension questions. Or, try a quick art project!

I have a Dream Art Project

I Have a Dream Clouds is another fun activity for students.  They are each given a piece of paper to brainstorm a list of things that they wish to have in the world.  It can be a dream for the future, for their family, for their friends, or even personal possessions.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activities and Videos

Then each student draws a cloud on a piece of white construction paper.  They also receive a strip of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink paper.  Each strip of paper gets an idea written on it.  Have the students write with pencil and then trace with marker.  Last, students glue the strips in order to the bottom of the cloud.  Before hanging the clouds around the classroom, have the students write “I Have a Dream…” (and their name) on the cloud.  They turn out really cute!

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Half Day Activities

For a deeper dive, try devoting a half or whole day to studying Martin Luther King, Jr. Our favorite half day project? A lapbook project focusing on art and academics!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Lapbook

This project is a family favorite and makes a great keepsake for parents!  I really like them because they make a great hallway display and they are a nice way to showcase all of the learning that takes place throughout the unit.

Martin Luther King Jr. Activities and Videos

This student and teacher approved lapbook project taps into research standards and skills.

Included in this pack:

  • 3 Differentiated Levels of MLK Jr. Fact Flap Passages
  • MLK Jr. Lapbook Topper
  • 3 Ways our World was Different Long Ago
  • 3 Ways our World is Different Today
  • Words that Describe Martin Pocket and Writing Strips
  • My Dreams Flip Flaps
  • Lapbook Cover

The lapbook even includes a flip flap reading passage on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Bonus: this passage is available in two reading levels. Differentiation made easy!

Martin Luther King Jr. Activities and Videos

Writing Prompts

Included in our year long writing prompts resource is an informational writing prompt on Martin Luther King, Jr. This prompt is available in printable or digital formats.

Get the MLK Jr. Writing Prompts

Biography Brochure

Let your students become researchers as they create a brochure full of important facts.

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toothy task kits

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Get a Closer Look

Want a closer look at these ideas in action? Join Katie from Team Lucky Little Learners, as she walks you through your Martin Luther King, Jr. Day fun!

Martin Luther King Jr. Activities and Videos

6 Comments

  1. Melinda

    Thanks for the freebies. I can’t use the lapbook as MLK Jr is not in our standards but will definitely share the videos.

    Reply
  2. Amanda

    Thank you for the great ideas. I love the videos! I’m going to share them with my class, now.

    Reply
  3. AQeelah M.

    I have loved this Dr. MLK Jr. flapbook for over a year now!!! Out of respect, I just wish it had Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR printed on the cover page. There was a time when higher education was so unrealistic for minorities. Some may still think that graduate degrees for people of color is still unobtainable. I wish his professional title could have been included in this awesome resource. I so want to purchase it!!

    Reply
  4. Bailey Jordan

    Hi Andrea!
    You can download the freebie via the link within the blog post directly above the dream clouds activity photo. I hope this helps! Have a great day!

    Bailey Jordan
    Lucky Little Learners

    Reply
  5. Karen Meyer

    I am a member of ALL ACCESS, but I cannot find the MLK Comprehension sheets anywhere on the website. I am looking specifically for differentiated. Can you help, please?

    Reply

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Hey there!  I’m Angie, owner of Lucky Little Learners. Our #1 goal is to support K-2 teachers.  We provide unlimited access to over 20,000 printables that are aligned to your standards.