Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Advanced Level Lesson Plan

Thanks to Sarah Nelson, ESL instructor, for sharing this lesson.

The purpose of this lesson plan is to introduce learners to the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King as well as to the Civil Rights Movement.  Learners will also reflect on their own experiences and opinions of discrimination and equality.  Note: http://mlkonline.com  has a great photo gallery if classroom has computers.

Pre-reading activity 1 (30minutes):

  1. Students free write in response to the prompt:

What do you know about Martin Luther King or the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.?

  1. A small group or whole class discussion follows. 

On the board, make a list of things students know.

  1. Make a list of questions students have about MLK or the Civil Rights Movement.

Pre-reading activity 2 (15 minutes):

Assign students one underlined vocabulary word and phrase from MLK biography.  Students report back to class with definitions/explanations.

Reading the biography (45 minutes)

Source: http://gardenofpraise.com/ibdking.htm

  1. Students listen as teacher reads aloud. 
  2. Students read silently. 
  3. Students read aloud with a partner or small group.

Small group or whole group discussion for comprehension (30 minutes)

Explore more analytical and opinion-based questions such as:

How do you think segregation affected people of color?

Why do you think the people involved in the Civil Rights Movement had to work so long for equality?

Do you agree that non-violent resistance is the best way to challenge injustice?

Do you see racial discrimination still happening in the U.S.?In your lives?In your home countries?In what ways?

How can we keep Dr. King’s dream alive?

Post-reading activities (45 minutes)

  1. Put following quote from I Have a Dream speech on the board. 

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, 1963

Students free write in response to the question: what does this quote mean to you?

  1. Give students a short excerpt from the speech.  Listen to the speech on YouTube and read along.  The complete speech is 17 minutes and 28 seconds.  Start play at 12:14.
  2. If possible, you might also want to show the very beginning of the video that shows clips of the march on Washington and the crowds gathered on the mall to hear Dr. King.
  3. Discuss for both meaning and reflection.
  4. Final free writing prompt: What is your dream for the future?
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