Growing Like Dr. King

3, 4, 5

Children listen and respond to a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They discuss the importance of kind acts and service to others. They reflect on a quotation by Dr. King and apply it to their own lives.

PrintOne 30 Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define service and discuss the value of serving.
  • discuss the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his commitment to service.

Rappaport, Doreen. Martin’s Big Words. Hyperion, 2007. ISBN: 978-1423106357


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Say the big words biography, nonviolence, segregation, and philanthropy. Explain that some words are "big" words because they are long and hard to pronounce, but at other times, words may be called "big" because they are about big, important ideas. These words are about "big" concepts. Today they will be reading a book called Martin’s Big Words, about the life of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and they will learn about and discuss these "big" concept words.

  2. Show the cover of the book Martin's Big Words and ask them to listen while you read for the examples of services performed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Define service as a helpful action done to benefit others. 

  3. Focusing on the line, “Martin went wherever people needed help,” facilitate a discussion about ways people help others. When does helping feel good to the helper and to the person who needs help? 

  4. Write the word philanthropist and define it as a person who gives their time, talent, or treasure for the common good. Dr. King was a philanthropist. He was generous with his time, voice, connections, and talents in order to make a better world. Dr. King said “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” Reflect together on what the quote means to us today.

    What are ways we can each speak and act to work toward justice and fairness? 

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.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.10 Give an example of an action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
      2. Benchmark E.9 Describe how philanthropic activities can bring about social change.
    3. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark E.2 Give an example of an individual who used social action to remedy an unjust condition.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Identify positive philanthropic historic acts or events that helped build the community, state, and nation.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.