Powerful Words Unite Us in Service

Grades: 
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Students examine things they fear and how they feel about them. Then they talk about moving beyond fear by learning more about something. They analyze quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr, about being open and inclusive. They design posters to teach others about what they learned. 

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
Print45-Minute Class Period plus time for a service experience
Objectives 

The learners will be able to

  • describe the relationship between fear and hate.
  • interpret the intent of a famous quote..
  • create a visual display that persuades others to see differences in people as strengths.
Materials 
  • access to the Internet and YouTube
  • art materials, including poster board
Reflection 
  • What is the impact of your project on you and others?
  • Write a paragraph about how a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote related to the project you did.
  • What would you like to do next to continue growing love and respect in your community?

 

Bibliography 
  • The Compliment Guys on the Purdue Campus became a campus phenomenon through the power of their words. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqsgP5vAOkg
  • Next, the Kodak company put the Purdue duo on a bus to spread their message of positivity and uniting people with kindness. https://vimeo.com/6537171

Instructions

Print
  1. Anticipatory Set: (10 minutes)

    Write this quote on the board: “We only fear what we do not understand” -Author Andrew Smith

    Questions for discussion:

    1. What are some things we fear? (war, people we don’t know, spiders, failure, bullies)
    2. What is an example of reducing fear by increasing our knowledge? (ex., I was afraid of water, so I learned the skills and practiced swimming.)
    3. What is the difference and relationship between fear and hate?
  2. Part One: (10 minutes)
    Discuss the concept of being open to people who are different from us.
    • Share a personal example of when a first impression changed with experience or when you got to know something or someone.
    • Discuss how a frightening incident may cause us to fear or hate people or groups of people.
    • Help students to make the connection that first impressions and fear come from limited experience or lack of knowledge. When we personally know more about something or a group of people, it’s difficult to feel fear or hate.
  3. Variation for older students: Revisit the original quote and challenge students to write a new inspirational statement (bumper sticker or button slogan) that says the same thing in their own clever words. Examples: “The more you know, the less you fear” or “knowledge = love”

    Variation for younger students: Brainstorm ideas of Random Acts of Kindness kids can do to bring a smile to someone’s face. Go to the website https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/ for ideas.

  4. Part Two: (5 minutes)

    Give students time in small groups to read aloud and discuss the meaning of the following quotes of Martin Luther King, Jr.:

    • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
    • “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
    • “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
    • “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” 
    • “The time is always right to do what is right.” “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
    • “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
  5. Part Three: (15 minutes)

    Tell the class that two students from Purdue University took the above quotes to heart and experimented with the impact of giving compliments and sharing kindness. Watch two videos and be ready to talk about the impact of kind words on a community.

    • The Compliment Guys on the Purdue Campus became a campus phenomenon through the power of their words. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqsgP5vAOkg
    • Next, the Kodak company put the Purdue duo on a bus to spread their message of positivity and uniting people with kindness. https://vimeo.com/6537171
  6. Have student groups look at the King quotes above again and identify words from the quotes that are reflected in the project of the Compliment Guys. Discuss the following questions in small groups or the whole group:
    • What words from the quotes were reflected in the project?
    • What was the impact of their service project?
    • What similar project could you do to share the message of Dr. King and open the hearts and minds in your community?
  7. Service Project:

    This service project may be started in class and completed on Martin Luther King, Jr, Day, either with the class or, if your school has the day off, students may complete it with friends and family.
    Project Overview: Student teams bring a decorated poster into a public area, and use words, love, and light to unite people in the community.
  8. Procedure:
    • Provide poster board and markers. The students design a poster to spark kindness and connections with diverse people in their community. They may make a poster that offers free compliments or contains an inspirational quote. Encourage ideas that reflect their community.
    • Together they brainstorm ideas for things to say and do while they hold the poster.
    • Discuss and plan what locations in the community will be good for this kindness experiment.
    • Decide how they will capture the impact of their experiment. Suggestions: pictures, video, counts of people, interviews, a narrative of people’s reactions, or a blog.
    • Talk through all of the elements and be sure students are prepared to carry out their plan on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day whether you have school or not.
    • On Monday, MLK Day, students take their posters out and implement their plan.