We spent almost a month on our MLK unit study and lap books.
During that time we read books about MLK, watched several videos about him, and did a number of activities using materials from Enchanted Learning (some I had to adapt).
The kids learned about his life, and we read about his growing up years as well as his fight for Civil Rights. Using a map of the U.S. we found places that were important in MLK's life and color coded them. (Where he was born, went to college, lived with his family... where the bus boycott was, where Ruby Bridges integrated her neighborhood school, the March on Washington, etc) We also made a timeline of important events from his life, and added a picture of MLK to the big timeline in our classroom.
Rather than talk about the Civil Rights movement in general, we focused on three main events... Rosa Parks and the Alabama bus boycott, Ruby Bridges and school integration, and the March on Washington and MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech. We read books about each of those events, watched videos about them, and watched a video showing MLK actually giving his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington before the crowd of marchers. (That was amazing for me... I don't think I've ever seen him giving the entire speech.... incredible!)
We worked on a few vocabulary words (segregation, integration, equality, civil rights, racism, boycott, etc), which I"m continuing to review.
The kids read short summaries of MLK's life and then compared their own lives to his (number of siblings, place of birth, even goals for their lives...) and put together a book (from Enchanted Learning) that summarized MLK's life then asked them to write about their dream for the world, what steps they could take to help make their dream a reality, and how the world would be a better place if they accomplish their dream.
We also talked about MLK winning the Nobel Peace prize, and completed a mini-poster of important events in his life.
I thought is was a good unit study, although it was stressful and triggered anxiety for R. I think it was worth it though, I believe strongly that she needs to have at least a basic understanding of that part of history.
Here are the books and other materials we used:
Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr. By Jean Marzollo
The Story of Ruby Bridges By Robert Coles
Read About Martin Luther King Jr By Stephen Feinstein
Martin Luther King Jr and the March on Washington
By Francis E Ruffin
Dr Martin Luther King Jr By David A Adle
Books I used for resources (didn't read to the kids)
Through My Eyes By Ruby Bridges
Dorling-Kindersly Reader, Free at Last: The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin's Big Words By Doreen Rappaport
My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers By Christine King Farris
Disney's Ruby Bridges Video
Martin Luther King Jr. Great Americans for Children series, DVD
I Have a Dream Video (video of MLK giving I Have a Dream speech in Washington DC in August of 1963
Here are some pictures of M's lapbook... (he doesn't like to color, R's is a lot more colorful)