Teachers using MLK Day to improve student academics

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News 12 This Morning/Monday January 20, 2014

(WRDW)--Martin Luther Kind Jr. Day is more than just a celebration at Wheeless Road Elementary.

"We're bringing history, social studies events...as well as reading [and] writing," said Jennifer McKinney-Evans.

McKinney-Evans, the school's instructional coach, tells me teachers are working to use MLK Day as an learning opportunity.

"They're going to be building the background knowledge this week, that's what they did," she explained." They had discussions about his non-violent solutions and we're doing writing with that."

Students are also participating in a "Readers Theater" reenactment, where instead of memorizing lines, students read aloud, which McKinney Evans tells me can help them make significant improvements.

"If it's done with fidelity, Readers Theater is can help improve them with fluency as well as comprehension," she said. "And, it's said that students who do Readers Theater in the classroom have been proven to improve a whole grade level in their reading."

She tells me in learning about his past, they're tackling today's tough issues.

"Dr. King believed in non-violence and, you know, we have a lot of bullying going on in the schools. And so we show them about how he believed in peace," said McKinney-Evans.

And now, she's hoping the lessons will help them in future inside and outside of the classroom.

"Our teachers are explaining that Martin Luther King was a visionary and that he saw things way before time so we want to hope that we encourage some of these students that they're going to be future visionaries just like him," she said.

Students there will continue with cross-curriculum lessons as Black history month continues.

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