Every year in 6th grade, I have done a “team”/group project for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and/or for Black History Month using a graphic template and having the students put it together. This year my principal asked if I would please do that project again for Black History Month.
This year to keep it interesting, I procured several different 24 piece graphic templates of famous African Americans in history which classes in grades 3 through 6 put together as a group. While it wasn’t the most creative lesson we have ever done, the students really got into it and in a few classes actually cheered when we held up the finished product. It was a great exercise to underscore the importance of working together and that everyone’s small part plays an important role in society.
I played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s entire “I have a dream” speech before embarking on our “mystery guest” poster.
Classes sometimes didn’t know who we were putting together until the end. I found that was more fun to discuss our important person at the end when students were excited and enthusiastic to share fascinating facts about the poster we created in that class. We did MLK Jr., Ruby Bridges, Booker T. Washington, Barack Obama. I also have Rosa Parks which I will use when I’m asked to cover for other teachers next month.
In the younger classes, I cut up a number of MLK Jr. quotes and had table groups color the individual “puzzle pieces”. Then, together they built out the puzzles. We read the quotes out loud and discussed the importance of working together to make something happen and the meaning of each quote.
In all cases during closure, I asked why I would have chosen this group project in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and in all cases, we ended on the note, “Teamwork makes the dream work”.