Bringing Us Together

K, 1, 2

In this lesson, students recognize that they are united with Martin Luther King, Jr. by shared hopes for a world united in fairness. Students illustrate themselves giving time, talent or treasure for the common good. They share the pictures with another class in order to spark action in the other group.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods (plus practice time in between)

The learner will:

  • compare and contrast him/herself with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • brainstorm ways to carry on Dr. King’s good work.
  • create a classroom picture book of what students can do for the common good.
  • share the classroom picture book with another class.
  • Index cards
  • 12" x 18" White paper
  • Crayons, colored pencils
  • Book binding materials
Home Connection 

Students take home their enthusiasm for doing something for the common good. Encourage them to find something they can do with their families for the common good.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the students, "What holds a book together?" Show students different ways that books are held together. Tell the students that during this lesson we will be making and binding a book. Show an example of how you will be putting together their classroom book for this lesson. Ask the students why books must be held together. Just like a book, all our separate parts can be put together into a strong unit by working together for the common good. Tell the students that in this lesson we are going to talk about actions that bring us together. We will put these ideas together in a book, and share the ideas with other classes.

    Day One:

  2. Brainstorm with the students some words that describe the person or the efforts of MLK. Write the words on individual index cards. Write the word unite on the board. Tell the students that his work helped unite people of all colors and backgrounds for the purpose of promoting fairness for all people. People were brought together by their desire to promote civil rights.

  3. Place two circles—such as hoola hoops—on the floor and gather the students around the circles. Put an index card label above each circle: "Martin Luther King, Jr." and "Our Class." Place all of the index cards with words written on them in the MLK circle. Remind the students that these cards describe MLK and his work. Now they brainstorm words that describe students in our class and the work they do. Write their ideas on new cards and put them in the second circle. When the students start to see that some of the words are the same as in MLK’s circle, unite the two circles so they intersect in a Venn diagram. Encourage them to move the cards (and add to them) so some words describe just them, some describe just MLK and some describe both sets. Reinforce the concept that they are united with MLK in a desire to promote the common good.

  4. Tell the students that Dr. King did not live a very long life and he didn’t get to finish the work of his dream: to bring people together. Ask students to think of ways they personally can continue the work of Dr. King (e.g. helping a neighbor, inviting a new student to play, playing fairly, speak up when they see unfair treatment such as bullying, cleaning up shared spaces, etc.). List the ideas on the board.

  5. Each student draws one of the ideas on the board—illustrating and labeling something he/she can do for the common good. Younger students can dictate their ideas to an adult. Tell the students to make their ideas clear and neat because they will be presenting to another class.

  6. Instructor Note: Laminate the pages, if desired, and put them into a class book.

    Day Two:

  7. Tell the students that they will be presenting to another class their ideas for carrying on the work of MLK. Discuss why presenting this to another class is an action of the heart for the common good.

  8. Prior to the day of presenting to another class, give the students time to practice reading/describing their page in front of their own classmates. Remind the students to speak loudly and clearly, using eye contact. Kindergarten students may be more comfortable presenting in pairs to pairs of other students, instead of presenting to a whole class.

  9. Day Three:

  10. Present the class book to another class in the school. First, the teacher introduces the book to the class as a project to promote the common good and extend the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Tell about how this is n act for the common good. Then, the children stand up facing the audience. In turn, each student presents his or her page of the book. You may allow students to say more about the page than what is written there in order to communicate their enthusiasm for their ideas.

  11. After the presentation, allow the other class to ask questions or share their own ideas.

  12. Back in the classroom, meet in a circle to discuss their reactions to the presentation. Students should express how they felt the other class accepted their ideas and what will come from the presentation. Do they think they may have sparked the other class to work together for the common good?


Observe book pages and presentations to assess students’ comprehension of the concept of working for the common good.

Cross Curriculum 

Students share a class book with another class. Their goal is to spread the message that working for the common good binds the students together and extends the good work of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Identify the similarities in philanthropic behavior among people of different cultural backgrounds.
      3. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.