Saturday, January 9, 2016

Martin Luther King and the Deeper Questions

Martin Luther King inspires beautiful display pieces about kindness and brotherhood…

Martin Luther King Writing - Renee Dawn
…and sometimes an unexpected depth.

Keep in mind, I teach kindergarten, 5-year-olds.  Yesterday something memorable happened, something rare in an age of prepackaged lessons with a timer ticking on the mini-lesson, planned questioning techniques and differentiated responses.

It’s called a teachable moment, and this was a classic.   After a brief look at the calendar, we launched into an impromptu discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr., to explain why we celebrate his birthday.  I wasn’t planning to get into the details of how he died--not just then--but someone asked and I told the story briefly.   I told it with raw emotions to a rapt audience.

Then the questions came. 

·         Why did that man shoot him?

·         Was he (the shooter) born like that? 

·         Where is Martin Luther King now?

·         Is he still on the balcony?

·         Can he see us? 

·         Why did Martin want to help people?

…and to most of those questions, my answer was a thoughtful and quiet: I don’t know; it’s a mystery.   Others chimed in with their hypotheses, as I’ve taught my kids to call on classmates and ask, “What do you think?” but the atmosphere was thick with wonder.

I told the kids that we might not always get answers, but that those are really, really great questions.

Deep questions feel like a journey without an end.  And a reminder that powerful moments can arise from organically generated questions that blossom from genuine emotions.   

I'm wishing you many teachable moments, and many questions without clear answers.

If you’d like to create beautiful photo montage display pieces about Martin Luther King, and also spark discussions on kindness and brotherhood, please take a look:

 Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Printables

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