"I Have a Dream," Dr. Martin Luther King
Lesson plans and teaching resources for high school

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This video runs 17:29. It resides at YouTube.

"I Have a Dream"
Text of the speech with audio and photograph. Runs about 17 1/2 minutes.

Analyzing Persuasion
Students identify and explain the persuasive devices used in "I Have a Dream." This lesson includes procedure and assessment but not a copy of the speech.

Exploring the Power of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words through Diamante Poetry
This lesson asks students to explore the ways that powerful and passionate words communicate the concepts of freedom, justice, discrimination, and the American Dream in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Students read, listen to, or view King’s speech and pay close attention to his word use and use of literary devices. They analyze King's definitions of freedom, justice, discrimination, and dreams as demonstrated by the details in his speech. After a thorough exploration of the power of the speech, students choose powerful words and themes from the text and arrange them into original diamante poems.

Eyes Worldwide on the Prize: Viewing Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" Speech through a Global Lens
Students learn about the ways in which the words of Dr. King have impacted the Chinese people and government. They then examine cases of discrimination around the world and respond to Dr. King's famous 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech from the perspective of these marginalized populations. The suggested lesson time is 1 hour; depending upon student research and writing needs, it could take longer.

Figurative Language in King's "I have a dream" speech
A list of 30 words drawn from the speech, presented in context and with definition. Click on a word for pronunciation, examples of recent usage, more. This list focuses on King's use of figurative language.

How much progress have we made towards the dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Students study excerpts from the famous "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. and use images to show progress (or lack of) towards that dream.

"I have a dream"
A list of 80 words drawn from the speech, presented in context and with definition. Click on a word for pronunciation, examples of recent usage, more.

"I Have A Dream" Speech Analysis Lesson Plan
Students review literary terms, rhetorical devices and figurative language with a scavenger hunt. Adaptable for elementary through high school.

King's Dream Revisited
Students follow links to learn about King's life and legacy. As a final activity, they use a current newspaper to find examples of people exercising civil rights today and consider the success of the civil rights movement. Designed for grades 6-12.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" Speech
Students will be asked to "read like a detective" and discover what Martin Luther King Jr. was speaking about by knowing what is explicitly stated, drawing logical inferences, and demonstrating these skills by writing a succinct summary using the author’s words and then restating that summary in the student's own words. This unit plan (3-5 days) is designed for middle school and older.

Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" Speech Video Writing Prompts
Writing prompts by grade level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.

Speech Analysis: "I Have a Dream"
Video and text of the speech with 5 key rhetorical strategies emphasized: emphasize phrases by repetition, repeat key themes, use appropriate quotations or allusions, use specific examples, and use metaphors.

Related Resources

The Dream Continued
"Students explore the impact of Martin Luther King Jr.'s words forty years after his death by creating found poems based on his 1968 obituary published in The New York Times."

Front Page History: Teaching About Selma Using Original Times Reporting
Students read original Times reporting on the Selma marches and uncover important distinctions between primary and secondary sources.

Then, in the Going Further section, we provide opportunities for students to make connections between Selma and today, and help them look more closely at the decisions made by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In King's Words: Examining the writings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Context and Texture
Students "students will explore the value of writings by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and create mixed media collages contextualizing one of his texts or speeches."

A lesson on Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" Speech in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
This lesson is designed for social studies but develops close reading skills. 4 pages, Adobe Reader required.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement
This extensive collection of articles and photographs from the Seattle Times includes texts of speeches and some brief audio files. It also offers more recent perspectives on the impact of the Civil Rights Movement.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Words that changed a nation
This site explores Dr. King's writing in the context of the times.

Slide Show: Times Photographs of the Civil Rights Era
A collection of 17 photographs from the New York Times in the 60s and a link to a lesson on how to analyze them.