In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we chose to highlight one of PBS Teachers thematic teaching units for today: The Civil Rights Movement in American Literature.
This series of activities are designed for students in grades 3-5. Two or three book suggestions are included in each activity. The first book in the list is at a lower reading level than the second or third. You also may choose other books in order to adjust the activities to your students’ reading level.
Each activity is accompanied by additional online resources to explore The Civil Rights Movement deeper. Here’s just one activity that explores the power of speeches:
Have students read and/or listen to the following speeches (either in small groups or as a class):
- Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”:
- Lyndon B. Johnson signing in the Civil Rights of Act of 1964
- Fannie Lou Hamer on the roots of her activism
- Philip Randolph, African-American civil rights and labor leader:
- Malcolm X, the Ballot of the Bullet
Instruct students to analyze the speeches with some of the following questions (see full activity for complete list):
- Who is the orator’s intended audience?
- What is the purpose of the speech? What is its primary message?
- What aspect(s) of the Civil Rights Movement does the speech address?
- What does the speaker encourage the audience to do and/or consider?
- What was the impact of the speech? Or, how do you think the intended audience and other listeners received and reacted to the speech?