Teaching students about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was always one of my favorite things to do. When you’re discussing Dr. King, you get to have some real and honest conversations with students about important social topics. It’s also a great opportunity to touch on some character traits. Everyone benefits from that. Not only did we focus on how we can be better as individuals, but we also got to learn about each other, which helped build community in our classroom.
When I taught about Dr. King in my classroom, I also incorporated a character education lesson about courage and bravery. Dr. King’s life is the exemplification of these traits. His life story has so many great examples of courage to draw from. In this post, I’m going to share some free resources so that you can have these amazing discussions with your students as well.
To start your lesson, choose a Martin Luther King Jr. mentor text that your students will enjoy. Below you will find some of my top choices for picture books that teach students about Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as his bravery and courage. Click HERE to download the PDF with clickable links to each book.
If you have access to a few of the picture books here, you can split students into small groups and rotate the books through the groups so that students get the opportunity to read a few books.
After you read a book with your students, have a discussion with your students about courage and bravery. Discussion points can include:
- What is it?
- How do you show it?
- What are examples of it?
Once you’ve had the opportunity to talk about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s courage and bravery, hand out the Courage Doodle Notes found HERE. With these doodle notes, you can have students complete them individually, or you can have a conversation with students and work together as a class to fill these out.
Students will answer the questions to show their understanding of courage, how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was courageous, and how they can show courage in their own life.
If you are teaching virtually or want students to complete this assignment digitally, I’ve included a few different options for you.
First, I’ve included some of the picture books in this lesson as virtual read alouds.
You can click each link below to listen and view the book.
Let the Children March
By: Monica Clark-Robinson
Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.?
By: Lisbeth Kaiser
Martin’s Big Words
By: Doreen Rappaport
I Am Brave
By: Brad Meltzer
Next, you can have students visit this site to learn a bit more about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Last, I made the color version of the Courage Doodle Notes digital. You can digitally send this to students and have them complete it on their personal electronic devices.