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Amazing ideas for teaching in January 2009

January 2009 has a different feel about it compared to most Januarys, doesn't it?  A new President with immense historical significance will be sworn in a day after we honor what would have been the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s  80th birthday. And despite the ongoing pessimism about our economic forecast as a country, a stronger feeling of renewed optomism permeates communities all across America. I just couldn't imagine a more poignant month to be a teacher! 

I searched around and found two great activities that we all should consider for this very historical month.  Connected to history, poetry, great speeches, and financial literacy, these activities hit the mark with signifying to students that they are living during an incredible period in US History.

Activity #1: Inaugural Poetry

http://www.teachervision.fen.com/poetry/lesson-plan/4414.html

This activity is related to the three previous inauguration poems that were read for Kennedy's, and Clinton's (2) Presidential Inaugurations. What is impressive about this activity is that the political landscape that provided the background for Robert Frost, Maya Angelou and Miller Williams for their archived poems is investigated.  Students analyze the elements of the three previous poems, as well as the politics of their time and compose poems that speak to the past, present and future of our country.

As an extension, I suggest investigating the works of Elizabeth Alexander, who President-elect Obama has selected to be the 2009 Inaugural Poet.

Activity #2 Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech and financial literacy "vision boards"

http://lesson-plans-materials.suite101.com/article.cfm/martin_luther_king_day_project_idea

I LOVE this activity because it speaks to the ongoing message of Dr. King's speech of self-advocacy.  The website lays the activity out so succinctly and I think it will have lasting impressions on any school-aged child: "During this time of economic challenges, one way to help children to move beyond adult fears of economic uncertainty is by encouraging them to think ahead to their own futures. This is especially true for populations that have traditionally been underserved by the financial system. Helping children to make the connection between educational attainment, fiscal responsibility, and achieving their life goals is an important strategy for ending the cycle of poverty in struggling communities.

Vision boards can be a meaningful take on Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech. Vision boards are visual representations of a person’s life goals. Simple to create, vision boards are made by pasting images and words on a poster board. The finished product represents a child’s dreams for the future."

Any others?  Please feel free to recommend a great lesson!

Happy New Year and Happy Teaching!

-P

Comments

Leigh Hopkins

Thanks for the props, Patty! As a former teacher, I'm always pleased to hear that my articles appeal to other teachers. I'll be doing this activity with about 300 kids on MLK Day in Philadelphia, and highly recommend doing a service project on that day, wherever you are!

Patty Blome

Thank YOU, Leigh, for posting such meaningful activities for all grade levels for such a meaningful day. I am looking forward to creating vision boards with my freshmen once we dive into the deep messages that Dr. King delivered back in 1963. Best wishes on your "Day On, Not a Day Off" service project!

Cindy

Check out Alpha Mom on how to make some cupcake toppers for the upcoming Presidential Inauguration. All the printables are free and the toppers are oh so simple to make.They even can be made into cute stickers! It is a great way to get the kids thinking about our new President and taking part in our political system!

http://www.alphamom.com/holiday/2009/01/inauguration_party_ideas.php

Cindy

Check out Alpha Mom on how to make some cupcake toppers for the upcoming Presidential Inauguration. All the printables are free and the toppers are oh so simple to make.They even can be made into cute stickers! It is a great way to get the kids thinking about our new President and taking part in our political system!

http://www.alphamom.com/holiday/2009/01/inauguration_party_ideas.php

Comments are closed. Please see Classroom Solutions, our new blog for the 2009-2010 school year. And stay tuned for Teaching Matters with Angela Bunyi and Beth Newingham.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Inside Patty's High School Grade Classroom are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.