Saturday, January 19, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

As a first year teacher (am one of those "career-switchers") I am always thinking of how I will do it differently next year. My lessons on Martin Luther King, Jr. is a great example. After 2 days of talking about MLK and reading a couple of great books, my kids told the music teacher that MLK "had a gun and shot people." Nooooooooooooooooooo! This is where I made my first mistake - I forgot they were 5. My second mistake - I talked to them about MLK before discussing "equal," "different," "African-American," and "fair." My third mistake - the first time I talked about MLK I jumped right into his adult life and was asked if he was still alive. I answered that he wasn't and that this happened a long time ago. My curious Kinders asked how he died... and I told them. From the get-go my kids were obsessed with how MLK died and had little interest in the good work that he did. Totally my fault. They wanted to talk about guns and that made me launch into a lecture (always a good idea with Kinders right?!) about guns. You can see why this was spiraling into a disaster. All of sudden all my angst about my kids' video games and TV watching came out in an ugly way. Mistake #4.

So I had to regroup. After music class I showed them a clip of MLK and his famous speech. I wanted my kids to see what he looked and sounded like. They were in awe, "is that really him?" Yes my lovies, it is. Isn't it amazing? Isn't he amazing? "Does he die now?" Hurrumph. Lesson learned. Hopefully their 1st grade teacher can repair my damage. As for next year... I have it all planned out.

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