Martin Luther King Quotes & Activities

January and February are the perfect time to teach your students about Martin Luther King Jr. because we celebrate not only his birthday, but also Black History Month. These holidays provide the perfect platform for sharing about noteworthy African Americans who stood up for what was right.

I've compiled some resources to help simplify your lesson planning.
First of all, here is an awesome quote poster graphic from the Freehold Dodge dealership in New Jersey
Aren't these quotes awesome? I love sharing thought-provoking quotes in the classroom and seeing the discussion that unfolds. Hearing the direct words that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke make him more real to students. These words capture the heart and spirit of what Dr. King sought to accomplish during his fight for equality.
Thanks to Erik from Freehold Dodge for sharing this graphic!

To kick off our study, I always loved to read a couple of
Martin Luther King books:
and one of my all-time favorites, 
Martin's Big Words
One of the best things about this book is the powerful words and the incredible illustrations:
 To accompany this book and extend my student's learning about the power of words, I have created a Poster Packet of important quotes from the story:
 You could use this activity either before or after reading the story. I use it after reading it through once. I hang the quote posters around the classroom and have the students walk through and read them. Then, I have them think about what the quote means and how it could be used to influence and encourage people to pick up the cause of civil rights.
 Here's the preview of the posters plus a student activity sheet to use:
You could also divide your students into groups and assign each one a quote. They could focus in one what the quote means and then prepare a short presentation for the class.
These posters could also be used as a
thought-provoking bulletin board.

Note: This packet is included in my MLK Mega Packet and is also sold separately in my TpT store.

Speaking of, heres my MLK Mega Packet:
Here's a preview of what's included in the 55-page MEGA Packet!
This ready-to-use packet that will inform, challenge, and edify your students as you learn about Dr. King's legacy and the lasting impact he made on our world.

Inside the Head of a Leader
And then to continue our unit, we will discuss what made Martin Luther King, Jr. a great leader. 
{Here is the example of an activity we did last year}
We listed the qualities of leadership he exhibited and things he was passionate about inside his "head."
Disclaimer: I am by NO MEANS an artist, so don't judge my poor representation of MLK :) 
I told the students that Martin wasn't the only leader in history. We discussed various examples of other heroes and their characteristics (many of which over-lapped). I then told them I was staring at FUTURE leaders. 

"Inside the Head of a FUTURE Leader"
We repeated the exercise, only this time each student got a profile of a boy or girl and filled it's head with leadership qualities they have and different things they are passionate about. They turned out SO well!
It was an awesome opportunity for the students to not only learn about what makes a great leader - but for them to then see what it will take for them to become a future generation of leaders.

1 comment

  1. I love everything about this unit. The classroom walk through to read the quotes on the walls instead of reading it to them is really powerful. Then to write about what they meant to them as the read them is really thought provoking. Discussing them after, really brings some depth to the words and I believe that is what they were originally meant to do when they were first spoken. Great idea.

    I love the month of February because we get to talk about wonderful people who fought for others with their words and actions, not violence. I would love to take your idea of a poster of Martin Luther King Jr. and laminate it to fill his head with his leadership qualities. I also teach about character traits during this time and think it would be great to make posters of those other American Heroes we discuss to fill their heads too. Great idea!

    I too, call my students the world's future leaders and to bring that to life with their own silhouette portraits that they fill with their future leader qualities is very powerful.

    I would love to know the other leaders you discuss during this unit in your classroom. Thank you for inspiring me and for sharing all of your hard work.


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