Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.
Last Friday I began my lesson by asking the kids to look at the colors on their clothes. Then I asked anyone who had red or pink on to go sit at their seats. The rest of the students remained on the floor by me. I told the students on the floor that today we were going to do some different things and have extra fun, but the kids who were wearing red or pink weren't allowed to join us-only WE were going to get to do these special things! So we marched around and danced and were acting silly. We stopped for a minute and I asked a few of the kids who were at their seats why they had mad or sad looks on their faces. Two different students said, "it's not fair" and "you are being mean, we want to have fun too." I explained that they had red or pink on so they weren't allowed to join us. I waited one more minute and then asked everyone to come and sit back on the floor. I asked everyone who liked the activity we just did to raise their hand. As expected, everyone who sat at their seats and didn't get to participate didn't raise their hand. Interestingly, one or two students who did get to participate in the fun didn't raise their hand either. When I asked one of them why they didn't like the activity they said they didn't have fun because it wasn't fair that the other kids didn't get to have fun too! I explained that the activity was just a pretend exercise but that years ago this was how people felt because the rules/laws were that people with black skin and people with white skin weren't allowed to do some of the same things-they couldn't go to the same schools, restaurants, bathrooms, etc. We talked about how this doesn't even make sense to us, but it was the rule/law years ago. We talked about Martin Luther King Jr and how he worked so hard to stand up for what was right, just like the student in our class that tried to stand up for the kids who wore "red and pink." I think the kids did a great job at understanding how lucky we are to be able to go to schools, churches, restaurants, playgrounds, etc. no matter what color our skin is. They also did a great job at realizing the importance of standing up for what is right! Our follow up activity was to draw and write about a dream that they have to make the world a better place. Their dreams ranged from saving the wildcats from being extinct, to stop people from smoking, to not littering, and not bullying. It's very ironic that at 5 or 6 years old kids already see the amazing potential to take a stand and change the world! Watch out world-these amazing kids are going to do amazing things!