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Lesson Plans

Lesson plan: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech as visual text

January 19, 2019

Full Lesson



English, Social Studies, Government, Civics

Estimated Time

One 50-minute class

Grade Level

Middle School


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Students will examine why the speech was a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement and explain their analysis through a visual drawing or illustration.

Warm Up Activity  

Facts about the speech

    1. Watch on History’s Vimeo channel: “Bet You Didn’t Know — March on Washington” by (2:33) CLICKING HERE. Give students the I HAVE A DREAM” FACT PAGE to gauge their knowledge about the speech.
    2. Once they have finished answering the questions go back and read the correct answers to them from the ANSWER KEY.

Main Activity

“I Have a Dream” speech

    1. Hand out a copy of the “I HAVE A DREAM” speech to each student in class. Tell them to follow along as they listen to Martin Luther King Jr. give his famous speech and try to picture the rich imagery from his words in their head. To listen to the speech CLICK HERE.
    2. After the speech is over give students the following assignment:

Your Task:

    • Select your favorite phrase or line as your title…THEN illustrate it!
    • Use color, creativity, design…try to express what that phrase means or why it is so powerful or important.
    • Use of technology and digital work are encouraged.
    • Be prepared to explain it to your teacher or classmates.

By Tina Yalen, NBCT, Early Adolescence: Social Studies/History 

Media literacy education

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Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

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