Teamwork Makes the Dream Work Morning Exes

Students and teachers from Junior Kindergarten through 5th grade combined their talents, efforts and energies to develop and share two unique, developmentally appropriate Morning Ex presentations this week focusing on the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. under the broad theme of “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.”

In these gatherings, students shared their new knowledge about the many individuals whom Dr. King learned from and/or worked alongside of during his lifetime and that part of King’s greatness was his ability to listen to, learn from and be supported by those around him.

After Head of Lower School Kimeri Swanson-Beck welcomed all to the initial assembly for JK through 2nd graders, students from JK-Buehler’s class sang Sally Rogers’ “What Can One Little Person Do?” along with their teacher on guitar and shared some symbols of peace they had crafted in the classroom.

A multimedia display of student drawings and sentiments followed, extolling the special ways that moms, dads, cousins, nannies, babysitters, coaches and more help students realize their dreams each day.

Students from 2-Davidson shared work from their Freedom Hands project, which they completed after reading Barry Wittenstein and Jerry Pinkney’s book A Place To Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired A Nation. They shared that when Dr. King marched, he would often hold hands with those who joined him as a show of solidarity. At the 1963 March on Washington, where Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, many joined hands as they sang the song, “We Shall Overcome” and King spoke the words, “I have a dream where little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little white girls and white boys and walk together as sisters and brothers.” Students in 2-Washington contributed a video presenting the inherent power of words—even when spoken by young children—which you can share in below.
This initial gathering concluded with Lower and Intermediate School Music teacher Maria Foustalieraki leading all in singing, “This Little Light of Mine.”

Head of Intermediate and Middle School Vahn Phayprasert welcomed 3rd through 5th grade students to the second special gathering and invited students from 3-Przygoda to share projects resulting from their study of A Place To Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired A Nation. Student work included posters to share their ideas, peace necklaces to send a message of peace to all in a creative way and a large mural inspired by the illustrations in the text.

Students from 3-McCullom followed with original poetry they had developed following their study of A Place To Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired A Nation. In their poems, students wrote about the clergy, educators and civic leaders like John Lewis, Clara Luper and Bayard Rustin, who helped encourage them to help someone when something is not right and be an upstander.

Students in 4th grade then took to the stage to relate their recent learning about the Civil Rights Movement and agents of change, including more about Dr. King, Rosa Parks, the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Little Rock Nine, sit-ins, freedom rides and more. Leaving their audience hungry for more, students invited everyone to the 4th floor hallway in the coming weeks to see the unfolding of their timelines of the agents of change during the Civil Rights Movement.

Following excerpts from a video of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Lower and Intermediate School music teacher Maria Foustalieraki led all in singing, “We Shall Overcome.”

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.