Powerful Words Unite Us in Service - elementary

K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Analyze quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr, about being loving and inclusive. Design posters to encourage action and diverse community building.  

PrintOne 45-Minute Session, plus time to make and share a poster

The learners will be able to

  • analyze the meaning of a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • collaborate on a vision for a better and more just community.
  • access to the Internet and YouTube
  • art materials, including poster board
  • What is the impact of your project on you and others?
  • What would you like to do next to continue growing love and respect in your community?


  1. Anticipatory Set

    We can be friends with many different people. We may like things about them because they are like us or because they are different from us. Watch this Kid President video about making friends and talk about what makes our differences a good thing about friendship.

  2. Talk about what it means to be loving and respectful to people of all races, backgrounds, beliefs, and ableness.

    • Tell about a personal example of when you got to know something or someone better and your thinking about that person or thing changed for the better. It is easy to be kind and welcoming. Getting to know someong takes time, and we have to give each other tha time.
    • Talk about character traits that make people who they are.  For example: kind, hard-working, shy.
  3. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said some of the most incredible words. We are going to take the time to talk about what he was trying to tell us. Working in small groups, read aloud and discuss the meaning of one or two of the following quotes of Dr. King:

    • “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.
  4. Look at the quotes from Dr. King again. Choose a couple of these words that communicate that it is important to create a community in which all are welcome. 

  5. Service Project:

    Use words, love, and light to unite people in the community. Make a racial and social action poster following the three guidelines in the video below: few words, strong image, positive message telling a way we can transform the world.
    Share the poster in a public area or in social media and spark conversations about justice and inclusion. 
    Note: The video uses the language "political poster," but the suggestions are great for any poster that educates, inspires, and moves people to action.

  6. Procedure:

    • Provide poster board and markers. Design a poster with a few words and a strong picture/symbol to spread justice, love, and kindness to create a better community.
    • As a group, determine where in your community or on what social media platforms the posters should be displayed.
    • Share the posters and engage people in discussion on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.