Monday, January 16, 2012

Following In His Footsteps...

Most kids enter fourth-grade knowing who Martin Luther King Jr. was and why he was famous. Today we reviewed MLK Jr.'s courageous fight for equality for people of all skin colors. As students enter immediate grades, I think it becomes important to not just talk about why MLK Jr. was famous, but to take it a step further and truly analyze King's character - his courage, his determination, his passion. He knew what was right for all people, so he spoke up, and his actions impacted the lives of millions. Isn't this what we want our students to do in their own lives?

I used the website to help us establish the basic rights of ALL human beings. (If you scroll down half way down the site, you'll see the 30 human rights clips.) We watched a handful of these short clips - each demonstrating the violation of a human right. We discussed the right to believe, the right to education, the right to own things, the right to be innocent until proven guilty, the right to be equal and not stereotyped, the right to move, the right to privacy, and the right to not be detained unfairly.

We didn't watch all of the clips on the site, as I don't feel all of them are appropriate for 9 and 10-year-olds, but there were several excellent examples that created some great discussion and helped my students understand that what we can do and have in our lives are basic human rights that ALL people should have. We also discussed how not all people have these basic rights honored. Not all kids can go to school, not all people can say what they want to say, not all people can believe what they want to believe, etc... We discussed how a lot of what our military does is help innocent people who live in countries where the government takes away a lot of these basic human rights.

Martin Luther King, Jr. stood up for what he believed in. When he saw something that wasn't right - he spoke up, even when there were a lot of people who tried to bring him down. In our own lives, we need to follow in MLK, Jr.'s footsteps and stand up for what we, too, believe in and know is right.

Consider checking out the link. It's a good one!

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