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Re: MLK Day on Monday

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Thanks for the link to the speech and audio. We listened and followed along. One of my boys said, "It's a very inspiring speech!" The other said, "I like how poetic Martin Luther King was." My husband doesn't get this day off so we usually just do our regular school day, and I've never really done anything for it. Today, I added it to our history time (we had just read about Benjamin Rush and how he formed the first Abolition group in Pennsylvania, so it was very fitting).
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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Julie - Staff
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Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:52 am

Inauguration Day on Friday

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Inauguration Day – The 20th of January following a presidential election

Another national tradition this month - ceremonies surrounding the Inauguration which happens this Friday. If you are looking for a little something to do, here are a few ideas to choose from for different ages or interests. Feel free to add more!

Books Books Book?

I can't believe that a bibliophile like me does not have a single book in mind for Inaugurations! Please help - share if you have read a good one! Here is one that came up on a quick search, but I have NOT read it: Democracy's Big Day by Jim Bendat.

Getting Creative

(1) Write a letter to welcome the new president and/or thank the old one.

(2) Watch or even try reciting a previous inaugural address.

For younger kids, our first president gave the shortest speech at his second inauguration: ... ceremonies

FDR's famous line that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" is from his inaugural address:
This is the full transcript and a *part* of the original audio. He pretty much starts right out with his famous phrase.

For older kids, Kennedy’s address has many famous lines.
His address starts at about 1:30
His “ask not” lines are near the end, around 13:55
His “pay any price… oppose any foe” – reflecting the Cold War - happens at about 3:35

Don't try to memorize President Harrison's address, as it was 8,500 words and may have led to his death from pneumonia!

(3) Of course, we can write our own great speeches!

(4) How about graphing something - maybe the presidents' ages at inauguration?!

(5) Copy The Oath of Office:
Article II, Section 1, United States Constitution wrote:"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Info - Learn About the Events of Inauguration Day

(1) Outline of Friday’s events, beginning with prayer. The Oath of Office is shown
(Events also include a ceremony at 3:30 on Thursday to honor veterans. There is supposed to be more info added to this page soon: )

(2) What happens on Inauguration Day? Includes some clips of previous presidents, by the History channel: (2 min.)

(3) A 3-minute video on the history of the day:

(4) About the first inauguration, by CBS News, featuring quite a bit on the original Bible: (4 min.)

(5) Drama honoring the amazing accomplishment of transferring power (slightly different theories about the original Bible): (4 min.)

(6) For older kids, a historian chats about inauguration details over time - differences and sameness. ... -artifacts (8 min.)


Presidential Inauguration Bingo Game Printable - A fun way to listen to a speech! ... ingo-game/

For the architects among us – a platform must be built to hold 1,600 - wow!

MFW tie-ins:
4littlehearts wrote:This week we are reading about the swearing in of the first President of the US in week 11 of Adventures.

I'd love to hear more ideas for Inauguration Day!
Julie - Staff
Posts: 1081
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:52 am

MLK Day... And Black History Month in February

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Martin Luther King Day – The 3rd Monday in January
AND Black History Month – February

(AKA National African American History Month)

We always spent some time on MLK in January. Or, some folks like to include Black History Month activities in February. If you are looking for a little something to do, here are a few ideas -- new ones and old.

Bible Connections

Museum of the Bible gives a quick, 1-minute overview of the role the Bible played in music and speeches of the Civil Rights era in their video, “Martin Luther King and the Bible”:

Here is a list of Bible references in the I Have a Dream speech (and a link to verses used in other MLK sermons): ... am-speech/

Books Books Books

I Have A Dream illustrated by Kathleen A. Wilson.
Just the Dream speech, with impressive illustrations. We've read this many times.

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr., by David Adler.
Or watch the Reading Rainbow guy read it aloud while showing the book's illustrations. It seems fitting that this story of a pastor's life is filmed at Dr. King’s church, begins with the Golden Rule, and plays Amazing Grace in the background. (9 minutes - actual reading starts at 2:15)

Martin’s Big Words, a longer picture book by Doreen Rappaport.
This has been recorded by several people on youtube, but this old-fashioned version may be my favorite, with its deep-voiced narrator and choir in the background. Younger kids might prefer one of the more upbeat, mom-type readings. (11 minutes)

Speech, Composition, Art

(1) I love the I Have a Dream speech, and we would often follow up by drawing or writing our own dream. I would put it on the fridge for a while and then in my son’s notebook. Here are some of the types of ideas I have used, but you could easily make a page yourself.
(2) Reading speeches aloud with a lot of enthusiasm can be fun. You could even take turns, practicing some of those public speaking skills. The transcript of the Dream speech is on this website: ... adream.htm

(3) Listening to the speech aloud is also meaningful - the link above also has the original audio recording of the Dream speech.

Historic Sites

(1) The National Parks Memorial in D.C.: ... morial.htm
(2) The National Parks Historic Site in GA: ... center.htm
(3) Virtual tour of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN, where MLK was shot, and it's the 50th anniversary this year (April 4, the day MLK was killed, is a city holiday in Memphis):
(4) Nobel Peace Prize Q&A (and other links): ... g-faq.html
(5) A new Civil Rights Trail covering over a dozen states with potential field trips:


(1) A 3-minute cartoon with "fun facts" about MLK, including how he and his father ended up with Martin Luther’s name:

(2) A cute young boy narrates a bio of MLK on youtube: (3-1/2 minutes)

(3) A simple biography that explains segregation etc. (6 minutes)


Scroll down the page to find a brief timeline (plus other possible activities):


In Memphis, there is an emphasis on doing service to commemorate these events.
Poohbee wrote: Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:33 pm I have a VHS copy of an animated movie called Our Friend, Martin. It's a time-travel adventure, but it has actual historical footage. My kids and I enjoyed watching that each year until our VHS player broke down. Now, I get out all of my books about MLK, Jr. (I've collected quite a few), and have the kids look through them and read a few each year. It's good to remember both him and that period of history.
hsmomof5 wrote:Last year, We watched the I Have A Dream Speech on the History
We checked out Library books and created a MLK notebook on his life. We got a lot of printouts for our notebook from
The year prior to that, we took a visit to the Civil Rights Museum.
I don't have any big plans this year. We are going to view some documentaries on his life. ... 253#p46253

I'd love to hear more fun traditions for this Federal Holiday!
Julie - Staff
Posts: 1081
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:52 am

Memorial Day for Parents and Kids

Unread post by Julie - Staff »


Memorial Day formally began in 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War. The day was originally called "Decoration Day."

"Mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery."
(Source - 1868: Civil War dead honored on Decoration Day ... ration-day)

Facts at a glance:
• "Memorial Day originally honored military personnel who died in the Civil War (1861-1865).
• Roughly 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War — making it the deadliest war in American history. About 644,000 Americans have died in all other conflicts combined.
• It wasn't always Memorial Day — it used to be known as Decoration Day.
• Red poppies are known as a symbol of remembrance, and it's a tradition to wear them to honor those who died in war."
(Source - 10 historical facts about Memorial Day ... /27817017/)

Video for middle grades:

More details:
  • Choosing the date
"According to legend, Logan chose May 30 because it was a rare day that didn’t fall on the anniversary of a Civil War battle, though some historians believe the date was selected to ensure that flowers across the country would be in full bloom."

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 moved "Memorial Day from its traditional observance on May 30 (regardless of the day of the week), to a set day—the last Monday in May. The move has not been without controversy, though. Veterans groups, concerned that more Americans associate the holiday with first long weekend of the summer and not its intended purpose to honor the nation’s war dead, continue to lobby for a return to the May 30 observances."
  • Expanding the holiday
"For more than 50 years, the holiday was used to commemorate those killed just in the Civil War, not in any other American conflict. It wasn’t until America’s entry into World War I that the tradition was expanded to include those killed in all wars."

"Memorial Day was not officially recognized nationwide until the 1970s, with America deeply embroiled in the Vietnam War." It became a Federal Holiday in 1971.
  • "One of the earliest commemorations was organized by recently freed slaves.
As the Civil War neared its end, thousands of Union soldiers, held as prisoners of war, were herded into a series of hastily assembled camps in Charleston, South Carolina. Conditions at one camp, a former racetrack near the city’s Citadel, were so bad that more than 250 prisoners died from disease or exposure, and were buried in a mass grave behind the track’s grandstand. Three weeks after the Confederate surrender, an unusual procession entered the former camp: On May 1, 1865, more than 1,000 recently freed slaves, accompanied by regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops (including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry) and a handful of white Charlestonians, gathered in the camp to consecrate a new, proper burial site for the Union dead. The group sang hymns, gave readings and distributed flowers around the cemetery, which they dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
  • "Soldiers plant flags in front of every tombstone on Memorial Day weekend.
At Arlington Cemetery, the site of the first Decoration Day, "every Memorial Day weekend since 1948, troops in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment—the Army’s official ceremonial unit known as the “Old Guard”—have placed small American flags in front of all of Arlington’s tombstones. Each flag is planted precisely one foot in front of a grave marker and perfectly centered. This year, 1,700 soldiers participated in the tradition known as “Flags-In.” They planted approximately 220,000 flags on the Thursday evening before Memorial Day, and they will be removed at the holiday’s conclusion."

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers is among the Arlington graves honored on Memorial Day. However, "advancements in DNA testing may mean that all future remains will be able to be positively identified and no future interments at the Tomb of the Unknowns will occur.

Video teaching about the Tom of the Unknowns:
Arlington video (somber):

(Sources - ... morial-day ... sing-facts)


The poppy specifically became the symbol of rememberance when later, in 1915, the poem In Flanders Fields was written in Britain during the first World War.

Two years later, in 1917, an American composer based a song or hymn on the poem.

Learn more:

Ideas for commemorating Memorial Day with Kids ... ldren.html

Little ones: Memorial Day Surprise, storybook read aloud about all the parts of a Memorial Day Parade, including (spoiler) a grandfather who was a veteran:

Any other ideas you've found or traditions your family has shared?
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