Reply To: Songs for MLK Jr. Program

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Hi Mara,
It’s sounds as if you have this under control. If you would like to add a little something special, I have a lesson that results in a performance piece. This song is definitely not an anthem, but I have used it with both my school chorus and my church choir. I start out with some type of pre- assessment to find out what the students know about Dr. King. Next, I find a nice picture book about MLK with lots of information in it. Martin’s Big Words, My Brother Martin or a Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. are pretty straight forward. After reading the book, we add the new information to the pre-assessment that we developed earlier. I then let the students know that they will be using their knowledge to write new lyrics for a song about MLK. The next step is to teach the melody to the song, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands using the following lyrics.
He Was a Great Man an American, He was a great man an American. He was a great man an American. His name was Martin Luther King.
The students should then use their information to create verses to this song using the same melody.
This is a great lesson for developing higher order thinking and integrating curriculum with language arts and social studies while still addressing many of the national standards in music.

All the Best!
Anne Smith
Vocal and General Music Teacher
Alexandria City Public Schools

Have the students use their information to write