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Classes in Conversation

In all, four classes participated in an e-mail exchange in 1996 — Ms. Jones and Ms. Rotter led classes for Meadow Ridge Elementary in Kent, and Ms. Bibbs and Ms. Cox led the third-grade classes in Birmingham.

This page contains the e-mail exchange between the classes led by Ms. Jones and Ms. Cox.

Read the other two classes' conversation.


Jan. 10, 1996

Dear Ms. Cox's 3rd Grade class,

Greetings from Washington!! We are very excited to be participating in this wonderful and unique project. Now that the holidays are over and school is in session, we find that our lives are back to normal.

Both Mrs. Jones' class and my own have begun our study of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We started the week by brainstorming both, "What we know about MLK Jr." and "What we want to know about MLK Jr." Our facts are as follows:

  • He was an African American.
  • He had a dream.
  • He was shot and killed.
  • He fought for freedom for all people.
  • He believed in equality for all.
  • He helped many people.
  • He was a very nice and caring man.
  • He believed in non-violence.
In our class, Mrs. Rotter's, we want to find out the following things:
  • "Did he become a minister?" asked Brittnee.
  • "Who shot him?" wondered the class.
  • "How old was he when he died?" asked Sonya.
  • "When was he born?" asked Kayla.
  • "Did he have any other dreams?" wondered Peter.
  • "What kinds of jobs did he have?" asked Justin.
Some of our questions were answered as we read a book entitled, Martin Luther King Jr., by Rae Bains. We eagerly await answers to our additional questions as we continue our research of this great man.

Today, in Mrs. Jones' class, we discussed Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech. After a productive brainstorming session talking about our dreams for the world, we wrote our own ending to "I Have A Dream....." Here are a few of our dreams:

"I Have A Dream....."

  • people will stop fighting. by Amber
  • everyone will have a home. by Rebekah
  • everyone will live in Peace. by Austin
  • there will be no violence. by Keith
  • more people would believe in Dr. King's dream. by Nick
  • people will take care of their environment. by D.J.
Here are a few projects we will be completing with our children. They include constructing a Peace Chain, building a class quilt consisting of important pieces of his life, celebrating with music, and creating an art project entitled, "Children of the World." We look forward to sharing these projects with you and learning about your studies of Dr. King.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Jones' 3rd Grade
Mrs. Rotter's 3rd Grade
Meadow Ridge Elementary
Kent, Washington


Jan. 12, 1996

Dear Ms. Jones and students,

We enjoyed your letter and were very excited to hear about all of the interesting activities you've been working on in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. We have had a busy week as well, and have really learned a great deal about this famous leader.

We were introduced to Dr. King and his work by two books, A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr., by David Adler, and Martin Luther King Day, by Linda Lowery. Both books gave information about Dr. King, from his early childhood up until his tragic death. Our class knew many things about his life and were able to add to the discussion with even more facts.

We also made "I Have A Dream.." mobiles to hang in our classroom. After brainstorming our dreams for our community, the country, and the world, we each made a mobile with three of these dreams written on clouds hanging from strings.

Some of our dreams included, "that there would be no more violence and shooting", "that there would be no more drugs" and "that there would be an end to drinking and driving".

Our biggest project was a Big Book about MLK, Jr. We wrote many facts about Dr. King during his life. Then, we worked in pairs or groups of three to copy our facts onto the big pages. The pages were then beautifully illustrated, and we were able to publish the book the very same day. Sharing the book with other classes will be one of our projects for next week.

Today we watched two videos: Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Peaceful Warrior, and Fighting Fair, which was about how to solve everyday conflicts without fighting. Our music teacher, Mr. MacPhereson, taught us some songs about freedom. One was called "Old Freedom". Next Wednesday we will be visiting the Civil Rights Institute with Ms. Bibb's 3rd grade class. We will write and tell you about it when we get back!

Birmingham has plenty of activities this week in honor of Dr. King's birthday. There are poetry readings, concerts, lectures and meetings that anyone can attend. Monday is, of course, a holiday, and the city will host a memorial march as well as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Love Feast for The Homeless and Senior Citizens. Many of our families will be involved in these activities.

We hope that you enjoyed studying the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as much as we did. We are looking forward to your next letter. Have a nice weekend and holiday!

Sincerely,

Ms. Cox's Third Grade
Inglenook School
Birmingham, Alabama


Feb. 1, 1996

Dear Mrs. Cox's Class,

This week and last week has been CRAZY!! We've had a few days off due to inclement weather and a few late starts. We don't get a lot of snow here, but when we do, it seems everyone stays inside and everything shuts down. Thank goodness tomorrow is back to the regular schedule!

We were all so happy to receive your letter. Sorry ours has been so delayed. We have a beautiful bulletin board outside our room. It is entitled, "Dr. King's Quilt of Dreams." Mrs. Rotter's class worked with us to complete this fabulous project. For this project, we brainstormed words and ideas for pictures that described Dr. King's beliefs and dreams. Then we each got a paper quilt square. In the middle we drew Dr. King's face. On the four triangular shapes next to the middle, we drew two pictures and wrote two words. Some important words we thought of were:

  • Peace
  • Freedom
  • Love
  • Hope
Some pictures we drew were:
  • Hands shaking in brotherhood
  • A heart
  • A cross
  • Dr. King and his family
We also completed a project called "A Circle of Friends." We drew faces and clothing on four children holding hands in a circle. They are hanging in our room and have been admired by many passers by. Our "Facts we know about Dr. King" we completed in the computer lab are proudly displayed on our gallery wall in our classroom. We are keeping Dr. King's dreams alive in our room by working together and being accepting of each other's differences.

In other parts of the curriculum, we are learning about subtraction with regrouping, practicing for a musical performance, reading tall-tales, and always practicing our spelling!

Once again, sorry for our letter's delay. We're just starting to thaw out and get back to normal! Hope to hear from you soon.

Mrs. Jones' Class




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