I Have a Dream Speech Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

In this lesson, we will take a close look at Martin Luther King, Jr., and his famous speech. Students will also practice developing their own speeches for causes that they believe in.

Lesson Objectives

In this lesson, students will:

  1. Describe Martin Luther King, Jr's famous speech
  2. Define related vocabulary
  3. Write a speech in support of their cause


50-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.


Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.


Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.



Begin by introducing the related lesson, I Have a Dream Speech: Lessons for Kids.

  • Read Discrimination in America.
    • Discuss the term discrimination.
    • Ask students to share examples of what could be considered discrimination.
    • Discuss how discrimination makes people feel.
  • Read A Man Named Martin.
    • Discuss the Civil Rights Movement with students and allow them to share what they know.
  • Read ''March On Washington'' and ''I Have a Dream Speech.''
    • Discuss why this one specific portion of the speech is considered most inspiring.
    • Ask students to put themselves in the place of someone listening to the speech and discuss how they might feel.
    • Discuss why Washington D.C. may have been chosen as the place for this movement to happen.
  • Read Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • Discuss the term legacy.
    • Ask students what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy might be beyond just his speech.
  • Complete the reading with Lesson Summary.
    • Review the vocabulary words and terms: discrimination, Civil Rights, and legacy.
    • Ask students to share a summary of what they have learned from the reading.

Next, do a reading of the full speech.

  • Give each student a copy of the full speech.
  • Read the full speech to students. Allow students to listen and follow along on their own copies.
  • Once you are finished reading the speech, ask for comments or questions from students.
  • Allow time for discussion if there is any.


To check for understanding, have students complete the quiz.

''I Have a Dream'' Quiz

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