Grow Involved!

Lessons for MLK Day of Service and Beyond
Grades K-12

Image Upload: 

MLK Day of Service Participants

Grow Involved! comprises generationOn's K-12 signature toolkits to engage kids and teens in thoughtful service and service-learning around the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.  Now more than ever, youth need outlets to explore the complexities we face as a diverse society and ways to channel these questions into action in their local communities.  

Toolkits are available in four grade bands (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) and feature an introductory literature-based lesson on the life of Dr. King, as well as service project ideas to engage youth in service to honor and foward his legacy in the 21st century.  Through engaged learning, students participate in developing a strategy using service, nonviolence, and activism to combat community issues. This opens the door for students to make a difference in their classroom, school, and community, transforming themselves in the process.

Access the guides through the links below:

K-2 can be found here.

3-5 can be found here.

6-8 can be found here.

9-12 can be found here.

A family service project based on Grow Involved! can be found here, and the family guide in Spanish can be found here.  

Grow Involved! Implementation Guide

Need ideas for how to start?  Check out our Grow Involved Implementation Guide for recommendations. 

Expanding MLK Day 

Want to expand your Grow Involved! experience into a longer lesson or unit?  Check out these resources from generationOn's curriculum partner, Learning to Give.

White Papers about People and Concepts Related to Civil Disobedience

Sunderlal Bahuguna

Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Henry David Thoreau 

Teaching Tolerance 

The Civil Rights Movement 


Youth Activity

Stereo What?

This youth activity has students exploring personal biases and ways to combat prejudice.


Literature Guides

The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric

This book and guide promote attitudes of tolerance and inclusion - not just toward new kids at school, but for all children who feel misunderstood or left out.

The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss

This cautionary tale provides motivation to solve problems and respect differences in others.  The message of peace is universal to all types of intolerance.

Shattering Glass by Gail Giles

This unsettling teen novel about bullying, and the student-written literature guide, explore the power of coming together for positive or negative change.  


Additional Lessons

Learning to Give has many lessons at all grade levels K-12 to explore these themes. Search for lessons related to "justice" or "civil rights" here to find lessons like these:

Reaching to the Clouds for Equality (Grades K-2) 

In this lesson, the students experience unequal treatment in a simulation and discuss fairness. Children reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. Through this activity, the students personalize a way to act out his dream.

Growing Like Dr. King (Grades 3-5) 

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

Practice Peace (Grades 6-8) 

Students will learn about the life of Gandhi and will promote peace in their community. They will compare and contrast the philosophies and work of Dr. King and Gandhi. They will determine service they can provide to promote peace and nonviolence.

A Person of Honor (Grades 6-8) 

Students explore the character of Gandhi to reflect on the benefits to the community of truthfulness and straightforward actions. They analyze traits and actions of someone who has built a "good reputation."

Taking a Stand for the Good of Others (Grades 9-12) 

Individuals can make a significant contribution to the common good. Students read about Rosa Parks who promotes the welfare of individuals and community through inaction in the form of protesting unjust/unfair situations. Students analyze violent situations and propose nonviolent solutions.

Selma to Montogomery March

Are you talking with your students about the Selma to Montgomery march? Click here for a Learning to Give teaching unit to guide their discussions and service.