Martin Luther King Day reminds us all of the power of words spoken with passion and conviction. What does this have to do with playful writing? Children love to act out important roles. Setting up a podium, microphone, and tapping into their own passions encourages children to speak out for what they dream about for a better world.
What You Need: a podium or make one from a tall box, a real or pretend microphone (a child’s karaoke mic works great allow even the softest voices to speak out), dress-up clothes, and a speech!
Play! Watch and listen to important and passionate speeches. A perfect example is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech available from History. com at the following link: http://www.history.com/videos/martin-luther-king-jr-i-have-a-dream#martin-luther-king-jr-i-have-a-dream
Ask children to describe what makes the speech effective. What speeches are long remembered? What does the speaker say to make people take notice? What body language and voice do speakers use to get points across?
Children create the stage for their own speeches by setting up (or making) a podium, setting up lighting, sound, and props.
To get started, children will enjoy practicing speaking favorite lines from Martin Luther King’s speech or other other favorite speeches.
Write About It!
1. Ready to Write: Ask children to brainstorm the causes and issues that matter to them most. The topic might be a local issue of the community, school, or neighborhood, such as the need for recycling, more trees, a community garden, or more green space for play, or a more universal topic of animal protection, climate change, or peace.
2. Organize it: Once the topic is chosen, then the children write a short speeches. You can agree on a time limit (3 minutes or so as a suggestion). The following is a possible guideline for writing a short speech:
- Start the speech by describing the topic and your opinion.
- Give reasons why the topic is important.
- Share ideas for solutions to the issue using examples to support each point.
Remind children to take pointers from the speeches they have heard. What makes the words strong and stand out? Edit the speeches to make the words sing out.
3. Once the speeches are written it is back to the stage where children will have fun practicing from the podium.
4. Set up a speech day where the children dress up in outfits they feel will impress their audience and take to the stage to boldly share their own dreams for a better world.