Lesson Plan for MLK Classroom Project

Your Destination: Learn why we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day and make a collaborative poster to commemorate his legacy.

Travel Kit:

  • I Have a Dream by Kadir Nelson
  • large foam board or poster board, in a color light enough to write on
  • plain white or manila paper
  • crayons or markers, esp in skin tones
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • glue stick or white glue
  • permanent black marker
  • optional: decorate accents like glitter, crystal stickers, other embellishments

On the Path:

Step #1: Prep poster board by writing an inspirational MLK quote in the middle.

Step #2: Read I Have a Dream by Kadir Nelson. Discuss why we celebrate MLK Day each year and the kinds of activities students do to commemorate the life of Dr. King.

Step #3: Trace each child’s hand on white paper, from fingertips to elbow. Color and decorate the hand with crayons, encouraging students to look at their own skin color and try to find a crayon or marker to match the color. Add any embellishments or decorative accents.


Step #4: Help the children cut out the hands and arms and have each child glue his/her hand on the edge of the poster board, with the hand reaching towards the message in the center.


Group Tour: Continue discussion about MLK’s legacy and ask students how they can incorporate Dr. King’s dream of equality into their daily lives. Write down the suggestions and hang in the classroom for the rest of the month.

More Group Tour. Divide students into pairs, trying to pair them with a peer they do not usually work with. Hand out one large sheet of paper and one black marker, crayon or oil pastel (not a pencil, something dark and permanent) and ask them to take turns tracing each other’s hands multiple times onto the paper. Suggest that fingertips can touch, as if holding hands. Then color in the the hand outlines using the skin-tone crayons.

Vocab:   equality, Martin Luther King, Jr., dream, names of different shades of skin color

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