Since I started teaching, we have celebrated Martin Luther King's birthday on January 15th with a presentation of The Crayon Box That Talked. I introduce Martin Luther King by reading Martin's Big Words by Bryan Collier. This is a wonderful book for kindergarteners and pre-kers.
The next day we read The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane DeRolf. The story is actually a simple poem about a box of crayons that doesn't get along. After a little girl buys the crayons and colors a drawing, the crayons decide that they do like each other and that while "each one (is) unique, when (they) get together the picture is complete." We talk about how at the beginning of the book, the crayons didn't like the other colors. At the end of the story, they realize that it is much better to have lots of different colors in a picture and that they do like and need each other. The kids right away make the connection to people not liking each other because of the color of their skin.
This was the 7th year I have used the same costumes. I simply took pieces of bulletin board paper and folded them in thirds into large rectangles. I then used another narrow piece of the bulletin board paper folded in half to make the piece that goes around the child's neck and holds the "crayon." The hats are laminated pieces of construction paper made into a cone with a piece of elastic stapled on to it to hold the hat on. Very simple, but very effective. For the last few years, I have thought about making new costumes by simply cutting a piece of poster board in half (a few of my originals do have an awful lot of staple holes:). Maybe next year…
I start by making a list of all of the colored costumes I have. I let each child pick the color they want. (I usually end up making one or two new ones each year so that everyone is happy:). After everyone has a color, I put their names (and color if necessary) into the Crayon Box That Talked poem that I have typed up.
I uploaded a copy of the poem to dropbox here. I then line up the kids in the order they will speak in the poem. Each child has one short line (depending on numbers, sometimes 2 kids speak together). The kids can get in line correctly and remember their line after one or two practices. It really is a perfect little play for young children.
|This is a page of the script.|
|The poem ends "We are a box of crayons each one of us unique but when we get together the picture is complete." The kids pick up this long picture they painted on the back of bulletin board paper when they say "complete."|
After the play, we recite the poem we learned about Martin Luther King:
I have a dream said Martin Luther King
We're going to make that dream come true.
Let freedom ring said Martin Luther King.
It's up to me and you!
It's not the color of your hair,
It's not the color of your skin,
It doesn't matter what you wear.
It's the character within.
I'm not sure where I first found this poem but I use it as another opportunity to talk about character. I loved that this year, one of my kiddos said that the poem reminded him of Katalina Matalina. Katalina Matalina is a Dr Jean song about a funny looking person with a heart of gold. Makes a teacher's heart happy to see the kids making these text to text connections. :)
One last thing we always do is talk about the fact that Martin Luther King followed in his father's footsteps to become a leader and a preacher. We talk about what kind of people we want to be like and each child draws a picture of someone they want to be like when they grow up. These are always very sweet (and cute because I add the child's footprint to their drawing).