Ferguson and Martin Luther King Jr-Chatting in Advisory about Past and Present

After a fabulous meeting with the 2nd grade teachers where we discussed developmentally appropriate practices, Martin Luther King, Michael Brown, Ferguson, responsibility to discuss current events, and embrace the uncomfortable, I sat down alongside our Director of Community and Inclusion to create a 3 day lesson plan for advisory. 

Using our Developmental Designs protocols we set our meeting up to have a sign in, greeting, share and activity as appropriate. 

Day 1:  

Boys come in to the classroom and sign in with something they "wonder" about MLK.  I asked my team to do their best with familiarizing themselves with relevant facts on MLK.  

I really liked these 5 facts about MLK.  

After sign in, we did our morning greeting. The boys shared a silent peace sign with one another.  

My advisory group decided that as an activity/conversation we would talk about our I wonders.  While some of the boys wondered about facts, some of the boys went a little deeper.

"I wonder if Martin Luther King would be excited to know his dream came true" -Jonas

We began by brainstorming questions in response to this I wonder in an appropriate manner.  Here are a few of the highlights.

  • Did his dream come true?
  • Just because their are laws for civil rights, does this mean that they are put into action in society?
  • Does civil rights means only race?
  • Is California more liberal than other parts of the country?

After gathering these questions we began discussion.  The conversation was intriguing, I hated that at 20 minutes we needed to say goodbye, but we carried on to Day 2. 

Day 2:  


After a quick greeting we read the following message from Kareen Abdul Jabbar.

 It fit right into our conversation from yesterday and was a spokesperson that many of the boys look up to as an athlete.  It also made me think of a professional growth activity from MOSAIC we participated in a few weeks back, sometimes when we aren't involved in the problem, we forget that it even exists.  The boys ended the day feeling that while it is important to appreciate the fight MLK put up for civil rights, that we need to look deeper and not forget that unfortunately the dream is not complete.  And this of course led right into our connection to Ferguson. 

Day 3:  

After a quick hello and a sign in that acknowledged what was "On their mind" the boys watched Maya Angelou and Anderson Cooper speak about MLK and the current state of civil rights in this country (we watched til 2:36).  Who doesn't like to listen to Maya Angelou? The boys listened intently and then I gave them space to talk about their feelings in regards to Ferguson, and other current events in regards to the civil rights movement.  

I posed the following questions:

  • In light of Ferguson, Michael Brown, and the peaceful and non-peaceful demonstrations happening in the country, what do you think Dr. King would say if he was alive today?  
  • Do some of the issues/rights that MLK fought for in his day still exist today? How?
  • What other options, other than public (and sometimes disruptive and non peaceful) demonstrations are their if you are compelled to act? 

I encourage a look at the following sites to assist.


Other resources: http://africanamericanempowerment.blogspot.com/search/label/MLK

Cool Website: http://colorlines.com/tag/infographic

In the end, "I wonder if Martin Luther King would be excited to know his dream came true?"  We aren't really sure whether his dream did come true or what he would do right now, but we do know that we have some work to do!