MLK JR Art Collage

i have a dream mlk collage elementary art


One of my favorite parts about working in the classroom is having the opportunity to do really meaningful projects with my students. I have a passion for social justice and teaching about real life events. Although sixth grade social studies focuses on ancient history, I keep finding ways to sneak in topics that are of interest to my students that also relate to current events.  This project was one way to have a discussion about civil rights past and present and to talk about how anyone can ignite change and spark a revolution.


MLK Jr Collage Supplies

  • Newspaper squares
  • Crayons
  • Black paint
  • Projector
  • MLK Jr image
  • Glue

Start by cutting your newspaper into equal squares. My space was 58″ x 93″ and I was doing this project with my class of 52 students and 2 teachers,  so I needed 54 squares each measuring 9″x10″. I needed my co-teacher (the math one) to help me figure this out.

I have each of my students a newspaper rectangle and the simple instruction the they could use any combination of colors, patterns and shapes to decorate their piece. The only stipulation was that they couldn’t write words or draw pictures. Just designs and shapes.


newspaper and crayon

crayon on newspaper


After they were done, it was time to assemble it. Because this was going to be a temporary exhibit in our school showcase it needed to be easily moved. I started with two pieces of butcher paper taped together to create a 58×93 rectangle. Then using a permanent glue stick I carefully attached each of the newspaper pieces. I tried to attach them in a random order not getting any that were super similar together.


projected image on giant collage


I let it dry like that overnight. The next day I hung the whole thing up on my white board and projected my MLK image to the left side of it. I then used black paint to add the image on top of all the colorful newspaper.  I then painted the words, “I have a dream” to the right side. It needed to dry overnight, but finally the next day it was ready to be installed.

I started by attaching one corner, stapling it into place every couple of inches. I lined the sides and bottom of the showcase with black paper. I also took picture of my students and had them cut out their bodies. They were then tasked with writing their own dream on these sweet caption.


student dreams


It was a little bit time consuming on such a large scale (with so many helping hands), but the payoff was more than worth it!


mlk collage 6th grade art

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *