Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky
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Lesson Plan: Respect

Suggested Grade Level

Primary (lesson can be modified for other grade levels)

This lesson could be taught within a unit on the civil rights movement or a unit on showing respect among family members, friends, or classmates.

Academic Expectations

1.4 Students make sense of the various messages to which they listen.
1.11   Students write using appropriate forms, conventions, and styles to communicate ideas and information to different audiences for different purposes.
1.15   Students make sense of and communicate ideas with movement.
2.16   Students observe, analyze, and interpret human behaviors, social groupings, and institutions to better understand people and the relationships among individuals and among groups.
2.17   Students interact effectively and work cooperatively with the many ethnic and cultural groups of our nation and world.
2.20   Students understand, analyze, and interpret historical events, conditions, trends, and issues to develop historical perspective.

Program of Studies

  • Describe and illustrate historical concepts or events through symbols, slogans, songs, poems, and passages.
  • Recognize the roles individuals have in various groups.
  • Examine concepts of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.

Core Content

  • SS-E-1.3.1
  • SS-E-1.3.2

Objectives of Lesson

  • Student will define what having respect or showing respect means.
  • Student will distinguish between a respectful and a disrespectful situation. Student will role-play examples of showing respect and disrespect to others.


Display a picture of the civil rights march that took place at the Kentucky state capitol in Frankfort in 1964. Ask students: If you were speaking to a crowd of this size as Dr. King did, what would you say to the people regarding respecting others?

Suggested Scoring Criteria

In order to involve students in creating a rubric for assessment, ask your students as a class to develop the criteria for scores of 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0.

Materials Needed for Lesson

  • Video:
    Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky
  • Web site:
    Photo of the 1964 March on Frankfort from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (

Additional Resources/Materials

  • Books:
    Martin Luther King, Jr. by Linda Lowery (Scholastic Books; ISBN 0-590-42379-7)
    Martin Luther King by Rae Bains (Troll Books; ISBN 0-8167-0161-X)
    Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Stephen Alcorn and Andrea Pinkney
  • Song:
    “Respect,” performed by Aretha Franklin

Description of Lesson

Show students the segment on public accommodations from the video Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, with class discussion afterwards.

Ask students to reflect on the previous discussion and role-play the following situations:

  • A black person is asked to give up his or her seat on a public bus. Explore what would happen if the person complied and what would happen if he or she resisted.
  • Demonstrators picket a restaurant that refuses to serve black people. Students may want to actually make picket signs to use in this scenario. Remind them that blacks and whites would often picket an establishment together.
  • An African-American shopper visits a retail clothing store wanting to make a purchase but is not allowed to use the dressing room to try on selections.

Play a recording of Aretha Franklin singing the song “Respect” for the class. Ask students to reflect on this song and write down their reflections. As a class, record all the responses on chart paper or the chalkboard.

Place students in cooperative groups. Using the responses regarding respect from the previous exercise, each group will cooperatively create a song about respect. Students may want to use a familiar tune, but they must create original lyrics to fit it.

Choose one of the previously mentioned books to read aloud to the class. Follow up with a discussion of the principles that Dr. King stood for.

Ask students to draw a picture of a person displaying respect among friends or family members within the home or school on the left side of a piece of paper. On the right side, have them draw an example of a person showing disrespect within one of those settings. Students will share their drawings with the class.

Additional Activity

Have students create an acrostic of the word “respect” with entries that reflect what it means to them. An example:

R being responsible for our actions

Teacher Contact

Kristi Wilkerson, Peaks Mill Elementary, Franklin County

Living the Story > For Teachers > Respect Lesson Plan