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Encourage students to think about what Martin Luther King, Jr. Day means

Students don't have school on Monday, January 18th, but that doesn't mean they have to stop learning. There are several ways that teachers can help students learn more about the reason we have this holiday.

History teachers many want to consider encouraging students to attend one of the many events taking place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the Baltimore area. Even if students can't go to an event, the local news stations will be covering the annual parade, which begins at noon on Monday. 

For English teachers, writing prompts about the holiday are a good option. There are so many great journal topic ideas for Martin Luther King Day. This man's personal courage, vision and determination are all traits that can lead to any number of writing prompts that can get students thinking about what the holiday means. Many students end up writing the same thing every year - an "I have a dream" speech of their own. They have some wonderful ideas and it is certainly a great writing prompt, but teachers who want to dig deeper into the holiday and to encourage students to be a bit more original may want to try one of these ideas:

  • Martin Luther King put his life in danger to fight for something he believed in. Would you have the courage to stand up for what you believed in if you had to pay the same price?
  • What would the world be like today if Martin Luther King, Jr. would have decided to just ignore all the injustices he saw and live a quiet life on the sidelines?
  • If he were alive today, what injustice would Martin Luther King, Jr. be fighting against?

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