Students learn lessons of King
by Mark Andrews
Jan 16, 2012 | 1863 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bryson Shiflett, a third grader at Taylorsville Elementary, shares quotes with fellow students from the March on Washington Martin Luther King Jr. “I have a dream ...” speech. Please see page 12 for another photo of this event.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Students across the country are out of school today in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, and on Friday, Jan. 13, students at Taylorsville Elementary School learned about the civil rights leader and discussed his ongoing contributions to society.

Leisa Boulange's third-grade class, for example, discussed how a group of people can make a change through the power of voting, citing times in which the class has voted for a change compared to voting struggles during the civil rights movement.

She said to the class, "However, rules that discriminated against blacks made it very difficult for them to register [to vote], so the people who needed to vote were not --," and paused, being met with a loud "Heard!" from the room full of students.

Students read from cards based on a timeline of King's accomplishments from birth until death, noting his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and the march to Selma from Montgomery. When Boulange told students the march took five days, the class emitted a harmonized "whoa."

"He did things you and I would never do," Boulange said.

Isaiah Bagley said he liked the lesson of treating everyone equally regardless of race.

"They might be mean or they might be good," Isaiah said. "It doesn't matter about your skin, it matters about your attitude."

Chloe Harring made a character assessment during the lesson.

"The interesting thing I learned was that the Ku Klux Klan would disguise themselves and would go out to scare people in [their] disguises, but Mrs. Boulange has said if you disguise yourself as someone, you aren't proud of the job you're doing," Chloe said.

Boulange said she wanted students to apply the lessons learned about equality to their daily lives inside and outside of school.

"I think it's just so timely, even though these struggles went on so many years ago, it's such a good lesson for us," Boulange said. "Even as third-grade students, we see that we don't need to judge, we need to be accepting, and even though Dr. King died many years ago, we still have a ways to go with that struggle."

Fourth-grade teacher Joyce Hudson said she wanted students to learn to use their communication skills when dealing with confrontation. Student Chloe Hendrix explained what she had learn from the lesson.

"[King taught] communication is the key and he did not want us to be violent," Chloe said.