Many students learn about civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King in their classroom. It is a rich history lesson for students beginning in kindergarten and for teachers it’s all about making this part of our history relatable to kids from a different generation.
In this 5th grade class at Teague Elementary School, in the Central Unified School District, teacher Alexis Freeman, works to get her students to understand the impact of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.
“I think that it is important that they understand that the way things are now is not the way it always was,” said teacher Alexis Freeman.
Getting her students to understand how segregation might impact them was having them write a thank you letter to king for being able to attend any school they want.
“I thanked him for standing up because without him I would not have meet my friends, I would not be here,” said student Claire Aguba.
Freeman had her students draw pictures of what life looked liked before Dr. King and after the civil rights movement he led.
For young people who have always lived with the rights Dr. King fought and died for, teachers say you have to show them how it relates to their own life
“Whenever kids can relate to a specific concept or even to a significant person in the past it’s just so much stronger and it really sticks with them.”
Through the artwork and the essays students came to have a better understanding of the importance of Dr. King.
“He and other people protested so everyone can be equal and everyone can vote and no one can be treated differently.”
Teacher Katrina Roubedeaux says what she wanted her students to take away from their lessons on Dr. King was understanding the sacrifices he and others made for the rights they enjoy today.
“The kids they can attest to what racism is and they can attest to the way our society is today but to understand segregation, to understand where it was that’s foreign to them, said teacher Katrina Roubedeaux. “My biggest thing is I wanted them to come in valuing the sacrifices that were made and understand how far we’ve come but the work that we still have to do.”