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Lesson Plan by Lauren Martin M.Ed.

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings civil rights to life with comics and storyboards.

Make civil rights come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map
  • Poster

Your students will create amazing images like these in no time!

Pixton Lesson Plan on Letter from a Birmingham Jail
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings civil rights to life with comics and storyboards.
Pixton Lesson Plan on Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Featured Props

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Bench
    Bench
  • Building
    Building
  • Church
    Church
  • Flag
    Flag
  • Gavel
    Gavel
  • Handcuffs
    Handcuffs
  • Heart
    Heart
  • Jail
    Jail
  • Pen
    Pen
  • Skyline
    Skyline
Print this Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

Before reading Letter from a Birmingham Jail, students should be aware that the document was written by Martin Luther King Jr. while he was imprisoned for peacefully protesting racial inequality on April 12, 1963. He is writing the letter as a response to an open letter that eight clergyman had written to him. The clergymen had criticized King for his nonviolent protests, who advocated patience and restraint while waiting for the courts to decide the laws. Martin Luther King Jr. writes the letter to acknowledge the clergymen's point of view while explaining why nonviolent protest is necessary.

Opening Discussion

As a class, read aloud King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail, which can be found in multiple forms online.

Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Storyboard or Mind Map
    Themes

    Complete after reading Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

    View Activity
  • Make a Storyboard or Mind Map
    Rhetorical Strategies

    Complete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Make a Storyboard or Mind Map
    Literary Devices

    Complete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Comic Strip (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Comic Strip to summarize the main ideas of Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

  • Extension / Modification
    Mind Map (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Mind Map to illustrate the elements of transcendentalism in Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

  • Extension / Modification
    Poster (Extension / Modification)

    Display a Word Wall by creating a Poster for every new vocabulary word from Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Discuss the following:

  • What are Martin Luther King Jr.'s main points?
  • What rhetorical strategies (ethos, logos, pathos) does he use to persuade his reader?
    • Ethos: Establishes credibility or trust by citing credible sources or using professional tone.
    • Logos: Appeals to reason or logic by referencing studies, statistics or logical analogies and arguments.
    • Pathos: Appeals to emotions or values using stories, vivid imagery and inspirational quotes.
  • What elements of transcendentalism does the letter contain?
    • Nonconformity
    • Nature
    • Spirituality
    • Simple lifestyle
    • Self-reliance
  • What literary devices (personification, alliteration, metaphor, etc.) does King use in his letter?
  • What is King's overall purpose or theme?
Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Letter from a Birmingham Jail 1 Themes

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Intro

As a class, read aloud King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail, which can be found in multiple formats online.

Instructions

Identify four major themes from the letter and depict examples in a Mind Map or Storyboard:

  • Identify the theme in the panel title
  • Include an appropriate quote that fits the theme.
  • Create an image that summarizes the theme.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Letter from a Birmingham Jail 2 Rhetorical Strategies

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Intro

As a class, read aloud King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail (can be found in multiple forms online), and discuss the use of rhetorical strategies:

  • Ethos: Establishes credibility or trust by citing credible sources or using professional tone.
  • Logos: Appeals to reason or logic by referencing studies, statistics or logical analogies and arguments.
  • Pathos: Appeals to emotions or values using stories, vivid imagery and inspirational quotes.

Instructions

Create a Mind Map or Storyboard to give examples of ethos, logos and pathos:

  • Identify the element of rhetoric in the panel title.
  • Cite an example of the element.
  • Include appropriate illustrations for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Letter from a Birmingham Jail 3 Literary Devices

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Intro

As a class, read aloud King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail (can be found in multiple forms online), and discuss the use of any of the following literary devices:

  • Personification
  • Alliteration
  • Metaphor
  • Allusion
  • Imagery
  • Parallelism
  • Simile

Instructions

Create a Mind Map or Storyboard to give examples of literary devices used in the letter:

  • Identify the literary device in the panel title.
  • Cite an example of the literary device.
  • Include appropriate illustration for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

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