A flurry of snow days is not stopping several schools from commemorating the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was killed 50 years ago this year, on April 4, 1968.
King, a civil rights activist who championed peaceful protests to turn back segregation laws, is remembered on his birthday, Jan. 15.
Beth Thomas, a second-grade teacher at DeWitt Elementary, said she does a reading and writing unit on King the week of the 15th.
"I introduce the unit by showing my class a clip of his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech," Thomas said. "I use a variety of books and read alouds, Scholastic News, etc. My students write their own mini 'I Have a Dream’ speeches. I culminate the unit with an amazing video called 'My Friend Martin' that is animated and mixed with real footage of MLK."
According to information provided by Catherine G. Perrow, the principal at DeWitt, the third-grade classes will have a story read to them about King, and students will work together to answer questions about him. In addition, students will complete a lesson covering King and his goal. The fifth-grade classes for social students and ELA will work together using two different Nearpod lessons and incorporate writing. In addition, the lesson will focus on King, and how not all holidays are for parties and celebrations.
Ryan Huch, the principal at Bolich Middle School, said that the theme at school for January is tolerance.
"All month long we will be pushing a message of tolerance to others, and MLK quotes will be used during our morning announcements each week as guide for students to reflect on their own behaviors and tolerance," Huch said.
Nancy Barber, a teacher at Richardson Elementary School, said her class read the book "Happy Birthday MLK." and talked about his life and ways to spread kindness.
"We then write facts about MLK and then trace our hands and create a heart to show unity," Barber said.
At Tallmadge Middle School, a group of students were scheduled to present a Kahoot online game Jan. 12 about the contributions and impact of King, said Jeff Manion, middle school principal. A short video on his speeches also was to be shown. Due to weather, school was canceled on Jan. 12; no info was available if the program was to be rescheduled.
Alyssa Weakland, a third-grade teacher at Munroe Elementary, said her students will write a biography on a human rights activist with a partner.
"They will be researching over the next few days using articles online and in print," Weakland said. "[The pairs of students] will be researching the childhood of the person they chose and then research how they influenced human rights or what they are known for. They will write a rough draft with their partner and then edit their writing. They will then type up a final draft complete with pictures drawn by them of their influential activist. In about two weeks they will be presenting the biography they wrote about their human rights activist."
Students at Evamere Elementary School "have been working on kindness throughout the school year through morning announcements and modeling how to treat everyone with respect," said Evamere Principal Beth Trivelli. Activities for the first-grade classes include teaching "Sing About Martin" to students in music class, reading a book about King, watching a video and listening to part of his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and talking about why he is celebrated.
The kindergarten classes will also read a book, followed by a lesson on how people may look different but "their hearts and feelings are the same," Trivelli said.
"The class will then each pick a name and write a compliment to that person in the classroom," she said. "The children will be encouraged to think of something they really like about another student to share by writing and drawing a picture for the classmate. The focus will be on celebrating differences and showing that everyone is unique."
Dr. Kimberly Cockley, the principal at Hudson Middle School, said the school was continuing its theme of tolerance with "No Name Calling Week" the week of Jan. 15.
"The theme of tolerance is woven into our sixth-grade curriculum where students learn about the world's regions and people," Cockley said. "In addition, we've started a Tolerance Committee to develop a comprehensive approach at Hudson Middle School to help our students continue to grow as empathetic and compassionate young people."
James Ries from the R.B. Chamberlin Middle School said that the district has partnered with the Diversity Center this year.
"We will be having training at the middle school in January from the 23 through 26, and the classes include Rethinking Labels, Diversity 101, and Bullying Prevention," Ries said. "We do a concentrated effort to celebrate Black History Month in February that will include lessons in every classroom and daily trivia with prizes. Some of these lessons and trivia will focus on the work of Dr. King."
Indian Trail Elementary School has several staff members who have plans "for recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day," said Dyanne Schoterman, who is serving as interim principal until John M. Lacoste's return from medical leave. Some plans might be delayed due to the snow days the district had to call right after winter break.
"The snow days really threw things off kilter," Schoterman said.
The University of Akron
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday will be a "day on" rather than a "day off" at the University of Akron.
The university’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Activities Fair is Jan. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., inside the Student Union Ballroom, 303 Carroll St.
The featured speaker at the event will be Jolene A. Lane, chief diversity officer and vice president of inclusion and equity at UA.
The Activities Fair — focused on children in grades K-12, as well as their families — will include jewelry making and treats, coloring and crafts, biographic information and visual displays of King, details on the civil rights movement and performers. Community and student organizations will provide activities and messages encouraging non-violence, civic responsibility, respect for differences and highlighting the importance of education.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will host the 17th annual free admission day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Rock Hall will offer a day filled with live performances, education programs and family activities that will highlight how people use music to find their voice and create a sense of community.
Entertainment on the Klipsch Audio main stage includes:
• 10:30 a.m.: Distinguished Gentlemen of the Spoken Word
• Noon: Tam Tam Magic
• 1:30 p.m.: Digital Arts High School Steppers
• 2:30 p.m.: Marie and Rosetta!
DJ Ryan Wolf will be featured all day.
Visitors are encouraged to participate in family activities including making their own protest signs in the Voinovich Atrium from 11am-4pm.
The Rock Hall will also accept new hats, coats, gloves and scarves to benefit the Providence House, a crisis nursery committed to child abuse prevention and family preservation in the Cleveland area. Make your donation when you visit.
View the full schedule at rockhall.com/mlk-2018 online.