Author: Charity V. Blau

Leaders of the Past

Grade Level: 4


1. After reading the story about Martin Luther King's life students will be able to summarize the story by filling in the blanks about his life on the storyboard handout.

2. Each child will be able to express one of their dreams about how life should be on a piece of paper.

Materials Needed:

1. A computer that has the internet.

2. Copies of the Martin King Jr. story and picture outline for each student in the class. This information can be found at this address:

3. A sheet of white piece of paper for each student.


1. Play the "I have a dream" speech that was given by Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963. A record of Martin Luther saying this quote can be found at this website:

2. As a class discuss what they think of when they hear this quote. Write what they say on the board.

3. Now tell the class if they have not already come to this conclusion that the speaker of this quote is Martin Luther King Jr.

4. Next talk to the kids and see if there is something that goes on in the world that they do not feel is right, just as Martin Luther King Jr. did not feel that segregation was right.

5. Put the class into groups of four that were already assigned. Have the student move their desks together to form a square so that the children are all able to look at each other.

6. Pass out the two attached worksheets, the story of Martin Luther King's life and the picture storyboard that goes along with it.

7. In the groups the students will read the story together, and then they will fill in the blanks of the storyboard as well.

8. As a group have the students discuss these questions:

How would you feel if you were required to sit in the back of a bus?

Suppose you were denied the right to eat in a restaurant because of the color of your skin.

What would be your reaction?

Why did Martin Luther King deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

What do you think Dr. King was referring to when he spoke of the "promised land" the evening before his death?

9. If the groups start to go wild change the discussion into a class discussion.

10. Have the students move their desks back to their original positions.

11. Tell the class that now that they have discussed several ideas and feelings that they have about their rights to sit and eat where they want, that this may have caused them to think about what freedoms they value in life.

12. Now tell the class that they are going to be able to create a writing piece that will help them express the feelings that they have about their rights and freedoms.

13. Pass out pieces of blank white paper to each student. Have each student write one or two sentences on the paper that summarize their feelings about how life should be, or what they dream about. With the students consent you can create a wall of dreams with their clouds.


1. Assess storyboards for understanding of the Martin Luther King story.

2. Assess written assignment on dreams.