Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

Postwar America: King and the Civil Rights Movement

Kevin P. Inge

Contents of Curriculum Unit 06.03.05:

To Guide Entry

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I thank the Yale New Haven Teachers Institute for selecting me to be apart of this outstanding seminar. The Institute has helped me develop as a teacher over these years. The title of my thematic unit is Postwar America: King and the Civil Rights Movement. I'm elated to have this opportunity to put together a unit in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I find that most middle school students have a superficial knowledge of Dr. King and his accomplishments. This unit is designed to give students in depth knowledge of the work and character of King's mission. There are many units on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today. I wanted my unit to have a different twist. It was in my heart to create unit that would capture students' attention and make them willing participants. A unit that students can benefit from, and apply to their lives. A major portion of this unit focuses on leadership skills. Students will analyze the attributes, methods, and struggles that made Dr. King a great leader. This unit is also designed to build moral character among students. I hope you find this unit useful for your classroom.

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School Profile

King/Robinson Inter-district Magnet School is a K-8 school located in the Newhallville section of New Haven, Connecticut. Martin Luther King School and Jackie Robinson Middle School merged in the 2004-2005 school year. Both schools moved into a new school building during this time. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., of course, was the outstanding civil rights leader. Jackie Robinson was the first black baseball player to complete in the major leagues. King/Robinson is an International Baccalaureate school. This program provides a curriculum, which allows students to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to participate effectively in life in the 21st Century. The course objectives include skills and processes as well as a framework of concepts; the aim is to ensure that students are not only knowledgeable about a subject area, but also develop a genuine understanding of principles and an ability to apply these in new contexts, in preparation for further learning. It emphasizes the development of the whole child: affective, cognitive, creative and physical; its effective implementation depends on the school's concern for the whole educational experience, including what children learn outside the classroom. Intercultural awareness is a major part of the International Baccalaureate program. This concept is concerned with developing students' attitudes, knowledge and skills as they learn about their own and others' social and national cultures. It not only fosters tolerance and respect, but also leads to empathy and understanding. The International Baccalaureate program takes a holistic approach to education. It inspires teaching and learning that includes and extends traditional school subjects. The program emphasizes disciplined study of traditional subject groups. Students learn to see knowledge as an interrelated whole.

King/Robinson is a uniform school. Our school mascot is the jaguar. The school colors are maroon and yellow. It has a student population of about five hundred students. The student population is 90% African-American, 7% Spanish-speaking, and 3% other. Many of the students who attend King/Robinson come from impoverished backgrounds. I grew up in the Newhallville section of New Haven and can relate to many of the struggles inner-city children encounter. Many of the students are faced with tremendous obstacles in their lives, whether real or perceived. They often do not know how to successfully approach or handle the adverse situations they find themselves in. Some students are not even aware of their plight. Frustration and anger are frequently a part of their daily lives. Many of these students cannot see beyond their circumstances or environment. Many of the students have misconceptions about their future and they are discouraged with their present. A good percentage of these students excel academically. We have before school, after school, and Saturday school programs to enrich academic achievement. The staff at the school is committed to the betterment of the children.

I've recently completed my fifth year of teaching. I've had several teaching assignments over this time span. In my first year I taught 6th grade language arts and science. During my second year I taught a 5th grade self-contained classroom. In my 3rd year I taught 6th grade science. In my 4th year I taught a 6th grade self-contained classroom. Finally, this past school year, I taught a 7th grade reading intervention program called Read 180. Read 180 consists of a software program, audio book station with classroom library, and a small group instruction area. The students rotate from station to station. Students spend approximately twenty minutes at each station. Before the program begins I usually read to my class for about five minutes. As I model for the students they demonstrate reading strategies such as predicting or inferencing. The software program monitors student activity throughout the school year. Students begin the program by taking a scholastic reading inventory test. This test determines the student's reading level. Once this level is identified differentiated instruction begins. Students are given a list of books they may read/listen to from the classroom library. The computer program begins students on reading exercises on their level. This usually alleviates the frustration many struggling readers encounter when they read. Before the students even read a passage the computer shows a video to ensure that students will have prior knowledge about the topic. There are nine disks the students can go through. Each disk has four segments. A student must complete the video zone, reading zone, the spelling zone, and success zone to go from one segment to the next. The video zone, as mentioned before, is a video to activate and build prior knowledge. During the reading zone students read passages silently and vocally. The computer records and monitors their readings for accuracy and fluency. Each passage has a set of spelling words the students must master before going to the next level. Students must be able speak and spell the words accurately. Finally, the success zone assesses the students' comprehension of the information read. This is very helpful information to the teacher as well as the student. Teachers are able to give students more adequate support. We're able to differentiate our instruction to meet the needs of all our pupils. Students are often motivated by their scores and work diligently to increase them. Our school's annual reports showed a major improvement in reading scores across the board.

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Summary of King's Life

Martin Luther King Jr. was an important figure of the postwar America (1950's) era. His writings, lectures, dialogues and spirituality touched the heart of a nation. His leadership encouraged people of all walks of life to reevaluate their lives for the better.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents were Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams. Martin grew up in a Christian household. The spirituality demonstrated by his parents influenced Martin's on beliefs. He also had three siblings.

King was an outstanding student as a youth. As a child people realized he was intellectually advance beyond his years.

He always kept books around him. He skipped both the 9th and 12th grades and entered Morehouse College at the age of 15. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a B.A. degree in sociology. Soon after he enrolled at Cozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. King achieved a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Cozer in 1951. Later that year he began his doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University. After receiving his doctorate degree from Boston University he moved back to Atlanta, Georgia. Martin's first job after graduation was at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He became the pastor of this assembly. Montgomery was a town of racial tensions and great discrimination in the 1950s. Because of the racial tensions King became a member of the local NAACP. Shortly after he was elected to its executive committee. The American Civil Rights Movement was pushed into full swing after an incident that happened in Montgomery on December 1, 1955. A forty-two year old woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man who came on the bus. Mrs. Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white person. Mrs. Parks was a member of the NAACP and was well known in the Montgomery community. When the NAACP became aware of her arrest they posted bail for her release. This incident sparked a bus boycott by African-Americans. The Montgomery Improvement Association was formed to oversee the bus boycott. Dr. King was elected as the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association. In November of 1956 King was informed that the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the lower court decision that declared Alabama's laws on bus segregation unconstitutional. This ruling sparked new hope into the movement. Dr. King released the following statement:

This is the time that we must evince calm dignity and wise restraint. Emotions must not run wild. Violence must not come from any of us, for if we become victimized with violent intents, we will have walked in vain, and our twelve months of glorious dignity will be transformed into an eye of gloomy catastrophe. As we go back to the buses let us be loving enough to turn an enemy into a friend. We must now move from protest to reconciliation…With this dedication we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man's inhumanity to man to the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.

The Supreme Court decision did not come without resistance. The Ku Klux Klan and other racist gangs increased their assaults against African-Americans. Buses were shot at and passengers were frequently attacked. Several Black churches were bombed in the area as well. Dr. King would receive many threatening letters and phone calls concerning his life. One day someone fired a shotgun through the front door of his house. Bombs were placed on his front porch on two different occasions. One bomb did not ignite, the other did major damage to the porch area.

In 1957 Dr. King advanced further as a leader for civil rights by creating the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. On May 17 of that year he spoke to 15,000 in Washington D.C.

King became interested in nonviolent resistance. His ideas about nonviolent resistance came from his Christian foundation and Mohandas K. Gandhi's perspective. He frequently addressed values such as brotherhood, justice, human rights, and human dignity. He encouraged people to live by the highest standards of ethics and morality. King went to India in 1959 to learn more about Gandhi's teachings.

In 1960 King and his family moved back to Atlanta, Georgia. Due to his dedication, segregation was outlawed on all interstate transportation in 1961. All public transportation that went from one state to another could not segregate. While at a demonstration to desegregate public facilities in1963, he was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama. While confined to this jail King wrote his famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". This letter was sent to several white ministers who felt King was going about things in the wrong fashion.

"Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promise land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent-up resentments, and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides--and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist.

But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Banyan: "I will stay in jail until the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…" So the question is not whether we will be extremist, but what kind of extremist we will be. Will we be extremist for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists."

In August of 1963 the largest civil rights demonstration in United States history was held; nearly 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial. It was at this demonstration that King gave his famous "I Have A Dream Speech". This speech gave hope to many African-Americans. It touched the conscious of America.

"And when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children--black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants--will be able to join hands and to sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was the youngest person to ever achieve this honor. Soon after receiving this award congress passed legislation that helped African-Americans to vote. Before this legislation many states prevented blacks from voting by making them pay a poll tax. Most blacks were unable to pay this tax. Congress did away with this practice by establishing the 24th amendment. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 stopped this practice and gave African-Americans the freedom to vote.

King believed that injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere. The Civil Rights Movement was changing things in the South, but little change was taking place in the North. Although they were not segregated, African-Americans had fewer opportunities than their white neighbors. In 1966, King moved to a slum apartment in Chicago, Illinois and began to organize protests. He wanted the city's discrimination against blacks for jobs, housing and schools to cease. In November of 1967 King announced the Poor People's Campaign to help the poor of all races to obtain jobs and equality. He announced a march to be held in Washington D.C. for the following year. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend this march.

Dr. King did not support the war in Vietnam. He felt that this war was unnecessary and the money spent on weapons could have been used to increase the standard of living among the poor. King once stated, "The promises of the Great Society have been shot down on the battlefields of Vietnam." He went on to say, "The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America. Some people thought that his attention to the Vietnam War took away from the Civil Rights Movement.

In March of 1958, Dr. King led a march in March in Memphis, Tennessee. It was the first of his marches that was met with violence. It was at this march that he delivered his famous "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. On April 4, 1968 King was assassinated by a sniper's bullet as he stood on the balcony outside his hotel room. His death shocked the nation and put it in a state of turmoil. Riots erupted in over one hundred cities across the nation. King was buried in Atlanta. Within a week of his assassination Congress passed the Open Housing Act. In 1977 he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Metal of Freedom for his outstanding work. No one has done more to advance civil rights in North America than Dr. King. His persuasive ability and charisma united many people for the better. He was a surgeon who operated on the heart of a nation. A nation whose heart was diseased and beating irregularly. Not only did he operate…he gave our nation the prescription of love to prevent complications from arising.

"Let nobody fool you, all the loud noises we hear today are nothing but the death groans of the dying system. The old order is passing away; the new order is coming into being. But whenever there is anything new there are new responsibilities. As we think of this coming new world we must think of the challenge that we confront and the new responsibilities that stand before us. We must prepare to live in a new world."

Martin Luther King Jr., August 11, 1956

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Summary of Featured Book

(I'm in the process of reading Martin Luther King Jr. On Leadership

--Inspiration & Wisdom For Challenging Times by Donald T. Philips)

A major portion on my unit will be on developing leadership skills in my students. This book will be very useful in establishing many principles regarding leadership skills. Philips touches on several essential components that make for an outstanding leader. As Philips goes through the Civil Rights Movement he focuses on the leadership skills of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The first chapter of this book discusses the importance of listening skills. The skilled art of listening has basically 4 benefits in helping people who want to be leaders:

1) It builds trust
2) Facilitates understanding of the people's aspirations and expectations
3) Enables learning
4) Fosters connection and rapport with others

Chapter 3 focuses on the importance of being a life-long learner. "In general, great leaders anticipate setbacks. They expect to make mistakes because they understand that when an individual is out in front making things happen, events will not always turn out perfectly. People who are not continuous learners tend to keep making the same mistakes. And when that happens, nothing of value is ever achieved. The innate capacity for continual learning is, in fact, a tool for achievement. And achievement must be part of a leader's constitution because people will not long listen to or follow an individual who is unable to accomplish something over the long term."(Page 82)

Chapter 8 addresses setting goals and creating a detailed plan of action. It is important that our youth ponder the wisdom of this chapter. Many youth/people are living lives without any true direction. Students need to realize that success is a process and one can get there despite their circumstances. There's a need for all of us to surround ourselves with people of wisdom and integrity. We must be dedicated and committed to the positive agendas we're inspiring to achieve.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, while recruiting for their organization, required future members to sign the following "Birmingham Pledge":(Page 158)

I hereby pledge myself--my person and body--to the nonviolent movement. There I will keep the following ten commandments.

1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2. Remember always that the nonviolent in Birmingham seek justice and reconciliation--not victory
3. Walk and Talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
9. Strive to be good in spiritual and bodily health.
10. Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

Chapter 15 deals with having the Courage to lead. Dr. King once stated, The people are looking for leadership--and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter." It takes courage to be a great leader. "Martin King defined courage as 'the power of the mind to overcome fear" and "the determination not to be overwhelmed by any object.' He believed that courage was 'an inner resolution to go forward in spite of obstacles and frightening situations': that 'courage breeds creative self-affirmation'; and that 'courage faces fear and thereby masters it.' As a result, he constantly preached to people in the movement that 'the forces that threaten to negate life must be challenged by courage.' 'We must not permit adverse winds to overwhelm us as we journey across life's Atlantic,' he told the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1967. 'We must be sustained by engines of courage in spite of the winds. This refusal to be stopped, this courage to be, this determination to go on in spite of, is the hallmark of great movements." (Page 306)

I look forward to reading and discussing Philip's book with my students. I believe it will help inspire my students to have no alternative but to keep moving with determination towards their dreams.

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National Standards

Language Arts/English

NL-Eng.K12.1 Reading for Comprehension

NL-Eng.K12.4 Communication Skills

NL-Eng.K12.8 Develop Research Skills


NM.5-8.2 Mathematics as Communication

NM.5-8.5 Number and Number Relationships

NM.5-8.13 Measurement

Social Studies/Civics

NSS-C.5-8.1 Civil life, Politics, and Government

NSS-C.5-8.3 Principles of Democracy

NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen

United States History

NSS-USH.5-12.9 Era 9: Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970's)

Fine Arts

NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes

NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and other Disciplines

NA-T.5-8.1 Script Writing by Planning and Recording Improvising Based on Personal Experience and Heritage, Imagination, Literature, and History

NA-T.5-8.2 Acting By Assuming Roles and Interacting In Improvisations

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Implementing District Standards (Grades 5-8)

Social Development:

Performance Standard 1.4

Students will develop skills in using anger management.

Performance Standard 1.5

Students will develop skills in using conflict resolution.

Performance Standard 2.1

Students will develop pro-social attitudes and values.

Performance Standard 2.2

Students will develop an effective approach to their work and responsibilities.


Performance Standard 1.1

Students will demonstrate strategic reading skills that ensure success in reading.

Performance Standard 1.2

Students will demonstrate strategic reading skills before, during and after specific reading tasks.

Performance Standard 1.3

Students will demonstrate fluency when reading.


Performance Standard 2.1

Students will develop strategic writing skills that ensure successful communication.


Performance Standard 3.1

Students will demonstrate strategic speaking skills in order to ensure success in verbal communication.


Performance Standard 1.4

Students will interpret percent as part of 100 and as a means of comparing quantities of different sizes or changing sizes.

Performance Standard 1.5

Students will reason proportionally to solve problems.

Performance Standard 1.6

Students will order numbers.

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Overview of Unit

The purpose of my Postwar America: King and the Civil Rights Movement, is two-fold. I want students to gain a better understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. I also want them to develop stellar character and leadership skills.

The title of my unit is Postwar America: Civil Rights. My unit will focus on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. It is designed for 5-8 graders, although it could be adjusted to meet the needs of younger and older students. It is a thematic unit that will take approximately fifteen 1-hour class periods to complete. Language arts, math, science, social studies, music and art will make up the thematic spectrum. This unit will be taught around the time of Dr. King's birthday or Black History Month. There will be a special wall in the classroom dedicated to this unit. This wall will project thematic nature of this unit. Dr. King once stated, "Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education. This unit was designed to develop student character and set them on a course to be life long learners.


· Students will gain an increased awareness and appreciation of Dr. King's fight for equality and justice.
· Students will appreciate the benefits of living a life of integrity.
· Student will develop and demonstrate leadership skills that will help them better our society.

The language arts component will take up the majority of the unit. Students will begin this unit by discussing anticipation guide statements. These statements, no more than five, are designed to build background knowledge and focus students to the unit at hand. Anticipation guide statements should always be debatable. Students enjoy debating these types of topics and shall enjoy this activity. I have developed my anticipation guide statements mainly from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., On Leadership by Donald T Philips. I will read and discuss a chapter of this book to my class 10-15 minutes a day. This book is inspirational and motivates people to be good leaders. It focuses on how King developed his leadership skills throughout the Civil Rights Movement. You can use the anticipation guide statements listed in lesson number one or develop your own to suit your focus .Be sure to monitor the time wisely. Sometimes students can stay on one statement for a whole class period!

The teacher concludes this lesson by recording student responses and questions to the "K" and "W" sections of a K-W-L graphic organizer. The student writes: What I know, what I want to know, and what I have learned. This l gives the teacher a chance to assess the students' background knowledge of the civil rights movement. The KWL charts will be kept in specialized student folders for this unit. I will provide the folders for the students. Each class will have a distinct color.

Students will study King's "I Have A Dream" speech and discuss the rhetorical influences of this speech. They will look at the oratorical devices King used to add vitality and force to his speech. After studying King's "Dream" speech, students will create their own "I Have A Dream" speeches. Students who need addition support will be given an outline to follow to complete their speeches. Student work during this unit will be posted on a designated wall in the classroom to reflect its thematic nature.

Students will write 5-paragraph persuasive essay on what it takes to become a great leader. They will utilize information read and discussed within the classroom to help them come up with ideas. The process of writing a persuasive essay will be reviewed for the students. Students will compete in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest.

Students will also be responsible for knowing the definitions and spellings of many vocabulary terms. Terms like segregation, boycott, equality, justice, Jim Crow, prejudice, discrimination and culture to name a few. Students will strengthen their dictionary skills during this time.

Students will watch 2 movies about the civil rights movement. Both of these movies are based on true stories. The first movie is called Glory Road, the second, Ruby Bridges. Glory Road is the story of a 1966 college basketball team that changed college basketball and nation. They were confronted with tremendous racial obstacles on their way to a national title. Ruby Bridges is a story of a black family's pursuit of educational equality during the 1950s.While watching these movies students will do a "scavenger hunt". They will copy down important information from the films. They will be encouraged to write down as many things as they can. Upon viewing both films students will compare and contrast them. I will make a Venn diagram using butcher paper and stick it to the white board. A Venn diagram is a graphic organizer that helps students compare and contrast information. Usually they are two circles that overlap to their centers. This creates 3 compartments. In the middle section the students write what makes the things the same. In the outer sections of the diagram information is recorded on how two things contrast. Each circle will have a title of the movies viewed. Students will compare and contrast the two movies as I record their responses. The Venn diagram will be hung in the classroom for students and visitors to reflect upon.

I would like to include a play of some kind depicting civil right challenges. Students will utilize the timeline they come up with to create a play or skits to be performed at Multicultural Night at or school. Most of the rehearsal for the play could be done before or after school. I think I have a title already…The Dream. Students could act out scenes like the bus boycott, the Sit-in Movement, the Albany Movement, the Birmingham Letter and Campaign, and the March on Washington. Students would conclude the play with a rendition of the I Have A Dream speech.

For an art assignment students will create a stamp in King's honor. Teachers may want to collaborate with their school's art teacher on design materials and strategies to enhance this project. They will also create a moral dedicated to King's legacy. Students will draw pictures and write quotes. Students will display their artwork in a hallway area of the school. I would love to have the local news station interview students on their accomplishments.

For the math segment students will complete word problems that pertain to state standards. Students will solve problems like: Dr. King was born in 1929 and died in 1968. How old would he be if he were alive today?

Teachers may find it beneficial collaborate with one of your schools math instructors or coaches to enhance this lesson The timeline I mentioned earlier would be included in this segment.

Students will play the game, "Who Wants to be A Civil Rights Expert?" This is a game I came up with based on the TV game show, "Who Wants to be A Millionaire?" The game starts with students putting events in chronological order. I use the overhead projector to show events labeled a) to d). Students have to say the correct order of sequence using only the letters. Like b,d,a,c or a,d,b,c for example. The student who answers correctly first comes down to play the game. A student must answer 6 questions to become a "civil rights expert". All questions are copied onto transparencies to be placed on the overhead.

The questions get harder as we go along. Contestants can ask a friend and request a 50/50. If it's a true or false question the student may poll the class. If a student answers all 6 questions correctly he/she will win a prize and certificate. Students who do not become "experts" receive a consolation prize.

All students are required to complete a book report on Dr. King during this unit. The book report will is a major part of the homework section of this unit. Each book most be approved by the teacher. This will enable the teacher to differentiate the instruction to some degree. Students will have two weeks to complete this homework assignment. Students should be given a book report guide to follow.

Teachers should assess students using various methods during this unit. I will use scoring rubrics, journal entries, oral presentations, tests and quizzes, and general classroom participation. The unit will conclude with students completing the "L" section of their KWL charts.

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Lesson Plan I


· Students will analyze and discuss anticipation guide statements.
· Students will brainstorm what they know about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.
· Students will state what they want to learn about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.

Duration of Lesson: 2 class periods


· K-W-L Charts
· Overhead projector
· Transparencies
· Overhead Markers

Classroom Activities:

· Teacher will show anticipation guide statements one at a time from an overhead projector. Here are a few anticipation guide questions you may want to use with your students: 1. You don't need a good education to be an outstanding leader. 2. When people mistreat others they should always fight back. 3. People are better off if they just stay within their cultures. 4. If you don't have a lot of money and support you can forget about becoming a great leader. 5. You can't really blame African-Americans for their present condition in America.
· Students will complete the K and W sections of a K-W-L chart. Students will respond and ask questions


· Students will complete exit-slips. They will write 2 sentences about what they learned or liked about the day's lesson.

Lesson Assessment:

· Classroom participation

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Lesson Plan II


· Students will identify people, things, and emotions from a civil rights photo.
· Students will create Martin Luther King stamps.

Duration of Lesson: 1 class period


· Overhead projector
· Transparency photo of civil rights activity
· Art paper
· Scissors
· Glue
· Glitter
· Crayons
· Paint

Class Activities

· Students will actively listen as the teacher reads a chapter from Dr. Martin Luther King jr., On Leadership. (Approximately 15 minutes)
· While analyzing a civil rights photo from the overhead projector students will record whatever they see in the photo. Students should work independently while making their recordings. This task should take 3 to 5 minutes.
· Teacher selects students in order to come up to the overhead screen and point to one thing they've notice in the picture. This activity continues until all the things seem exhausted. Teacher records the responses of the students using butcher paper.
· Students create Martin Luther King stamps


· Students will briefly discuss the day's reading on leadership skills.


· Class participation

· Artistic dedication

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Lesson Plan III


· Students will analyze and discuss Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
· Students will create their own "I Have a Dream" speeches.

Duration of Lesson: 2 class periods


· Recording of King's "I Have a Dream Speech
· Video tape of King's I Have a Dream Speech
· Internet/Microsoft Word
· Butcher Paper
· Television/DVD player

Anticipatory Set

Explain to students that they are about to do a thorough study of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech. Ask students what their memories are concerning this speech and what they mean to them.

· Play the audio version of King's "Dream" speech
· Teacher records and discusses student responses using butcher paper
· Students will create their own "I Have a Dream" speeches. Students will write about their own dreams for society. Student who need addition support will be given outlines to follow as they complete this project. These speeches must be eventually typed out on a computer. Students will be required to read their speeches to the class. These speeches will be posted in the classroom or hallway for people to read. Students may also read their speeches at the school's King Day Celebration. Exemplary speeches can be recommended for the school newspaper.
· Have students complete the ThinkQuest "I Have a Dream Too!" work sheet at http://library.thinkquest.org/10320/starter.htm


Students will be assessed for this lesson using a scoring rubric. Students will be made aware of the grading process before we begin the lesson. Students can gain up to 100 points for this lesson. The scoring rubric will read as follows:

· Up to 40 points for listening to, watching, and classroom discussion concerning King's "I Have A Dream" speech
· Up to 30 points for creating and typing their own "I Have a Dreams" speeches
· Up to 30 points for presenting their speeches to the class.

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Lesson Plan IV

Martin Luther King Timeline


· Students will identify important events in King's life
· Students will sequence important events by date
· Students will create art representations of important events

Duration of lesson: 2 class periods


· Clothesline/string and clothespins
· Index cards
· Transparencies and overhead projector
· Books and other resource materials
· Internet

Anticipatory Set

Ask students if they have ever seen or create a timeline before. Allow student time to share their experiences before explaining the lesson.

Class Activities

· Teacher's daily reading
· Students will work in small groups to complete this timeline. There will be four groups, or time periods, that students will be placed in. The time periods will be 1929 to 1954, 1955 to 1958, 1959 to 1963 and 1964 to 1986.
· Each group does a class presentation on the time span they were designated.
· Students will display this timeline on the classroom clothesline MLK.


· Students will share the methods/strategies they used in constructing their timelines.


· Evaluation of key dates and events on timeline

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Lesson Plan V


· Students will solve basic mathematical word problems.
· Students will reason proportionally to solve problems.

Duration of Lesson: 1 class period


· Word problems
· Pencils

Class Activities

· Teacher will read from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., On Leadership for 15 minutes.
· Students will solve example civil rights word problems with the guidance of the teacher.
· Students work in pairs to develop civil rights word problems. Students will share their word problems for the class
· Students will work in pairs to solve civil rights word problems. These questions can be generated from any aspect of this unit. The majority of the word problems were developed to reinforce the timeline information they've produced. Here are some word problems that could be used: 1. In March of 1956 Dr. King stated, "Press on and keep pressing. If you can't fly, run; if you can't run, walk; if you can't walk--CRAWL." How old was Dr. King when he made this statement? 2. During the Montgomery bus boycott 99 percent of African-Americans refused to ride the city buses. If the bus fare were a quarter one way, how much would it cost 100 people to go to work and back home? How much would it cost for 1,000 people?
· Word problems can be constructed pertaining to geographical area, map destinations and timeline outlooks.

· Students will discuss which problems were the most difficult and why.


· Class participation
· Word problem s

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Lesson Plan VI


· Students will demonstrate how to write a 5 paragraph persuasive essay


· Pre-typed writing prompt handouts with adequate writing space
· Pencils
· Microsoft word

Duration of Lesson: 3 class periods

Class Activities

· Review with students how to write a 5 paragraph persuasive essay. Have students share strategies they use while writing a persuasive essay. Have them give examples. You may want to show an exemplary essay from the overhead projector for students to analyze.
· Students will write a five paragraph persuasive essay using the prompt, "Your local newspaper wants you to write an essay on what made Dr. King a good leader." Write a persuasive essay to inform them of the best attributes or characteristics a good leader must possess. Students must write a first and second draft before handing in their final copy.
· Student will read their essays to the class.
· Students print out final drafts to be displayed in the classroom or hallway bulletin board.


· Students will share concerns or successes in their writings.


· Students will be scored on the districts 6-point scale.

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Lesson Plan VII


· Students will compare and contrast two civil rights movies

Duration of Lesson: 2-3 class periods


· Television/DVD player
· Butcher paper

Class Activities

· Day1: Students will watch the movie Glory Road.
· Day 2: Students will watch the movie Ruby Bridges.
· Students will individually compare and contrast the 2 movies viewed using a Venn diagram.
· Students will share their findings with the class. The teacher records the responses on a large Venn diagram drawn on butcher paper.
· Venn diagram is placed on the

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Lesson Plan VIII

Who Wants' to be A Civil Rights Expert?


· Students will place events in sequence of order.
· Students will identify important events during the Civil Rights Movement.

Duration of Lesson: 1 class period


· Overhead projector
· Transparencies
· 2 chairs/stools
· Game questions
· Certificates/prizes

Class Activities

· Teacher goes over the rules on the game
· Teacher shows a typed transparency statement from the overhead for students to solve. Example statements: 1.Put these numbers in order from greatest to least. A) 7 B) 27 C) 17 D) 47 2. Put these months in order from first to last. A) March B) August C) April D) July The student who responds first gets a chance to become a "Civil Rights Expert".
· Each contestant will answer questions displayed from the overhead projector. They will use their lifelines if the need arises.
· Teacher will ask students if it is their final answer in tough moments to add to the fun and intensity.
· All contestants and audience receive some kind of prize for their participation.

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Photo exhibitions compiled by Life Magazine


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Timeline


Learning activities for young children available through

National Park Service's Martin Luther King, Jr. Online

Information Center


The Seattle Times page on Martin Luther King Jr.


Text of "I Have a Dream": Printer-friendly PDF version

And full audio: (http://www.historychannel.com/speeches/archive/speech_167.html)

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Student Bibliography

A Man With A Dream

(Martin Luther King Jr.) Sande Smith 1994 Brompton Books Corp.

I've Seen the Promised Land

The Life of Martin Luther King Jr.

By Coretta Scottt King and Walter Dean Myers 2004

Martin Luther King Jr., America's Great Nonviolent Leader

(In the Struggle for Human Rights)

Valerie Schloredt 1988

Martin Luther King Jr., and the Freedom Movement

Lillie Patterson 1984

Meet Martin Luther King Jr.

By James T. DeKay

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Teacher Bibliography

Martin Luther King Jr. On Leadership

(Inspiration and Wisdom For Challenging Times)

by Donald T. Phillips

Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can't Wait

Harper and Row, 1964

Gandi, Mohandas K. The Story of My Experiences with Truth:

An Autobiography. Boston: Beacon Press, 1957

King, Coretta Scott. My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr.

New York, 1969

Young, Andrew. An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.

Gardner, Howard. Creating Minds. New York: Basic Books, 1993.

Extraordinary Minds. New York: Basic Books, 1997.

Leading Minds. New York: Basic Books, 1995.

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

New York: Harper & Row, 1964

Garrow, David J. Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. New York: William Morrow, 1986

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