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Activity Overview


Another great way to engage your students is through the creation of storyboards that use vocabulary from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the letter, and an example of a visual vocabulary board.


Example Vocabulary Words from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

  • negotiation
  • self-purification
  • civil disobedience
  • moral
  • moderate
  • oppression
  • demonstrator
  • segregate
  • tension
  • scintillate
  • categorize
  • humiliate
  • precipitate
  • commend
  • relegate
  • integrating
  • sanctimonious

In the vocabulary board, students can choose between coming up with their use of the vocabulary word, finding a specific example from the text, or depicting it without words.



Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in Letter from a Birmingham Jail by creating visualizations.


  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.

Lesson Plan Reference


Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)


Visual Vocabulary Assignment
Define, illustrate, and give an example sentence for any three vocabulary words.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Word 1 - Sentence
Vocabulary word is used correctly in the example sentence in both meaning and context.
The meaning of the sentence can be understood, but the vocabulary word is used awkwardly or in the wrong context.
The vocabulary word is not used correctly in the example sentence.
Word 1 - Visualization
The storyboard cell clearly illustrates the meaning of the vocabulary word.
The storyboard cell relates to the meaning of the vocabulary word, but is difficult to understand.
The storyboard cell does not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary word.
Word 2 - Sentence
Vocabulary word is used correctly in the example sentence in both meaning and context.
The meaning of the sentence can be understood, but the vocabulary word is used awkwardly or in the wrong context.
The vocabulary word is not used correctly in the example sentence.
Word 2 - Visualization
The storyboard cell clearly illustrates the meaning of the vocabulary word.
The storyboard cell relates to the meaning of the vocabulary word, but is difficult to understand.
The storyboard cell does not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary word.
Word 3 - Sentence
Vocabulary word is used correctly in the example sentence in both meaning and context.
The meaning of the sentence can be understood, but the vocabulary word is used awkwardly or in the wrong context.
The vocabulary word is not used correctly in the example sentence.
Word 3 - Visualization
The storyboard cell clearly illustrates the meaning of the vocabulary word.
The storyboard cell relates to the meaning of the vocabulary word, but is difficult to understand.
The storyboard cell does not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary word.


How to Use Creative Writing to Teach 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' Vocabulary

1

Introduction to Vocabulary and Context

Begin by introducing the key vocabulary words from "Letter from Birmingham Jail." Discuss the context in which these words are used in the letter and their relevance to the themes and messages King conveys. Provide definitions and examples of each word in use, ensuring students have a clear understanding of their meanings.

2

Creative Writing Workshop

Organize a creative writing workshop focusing on the vocabulary words. Teach students different creative writing techniques, such as storytelling, descriptive writing, or poetry. Encourage them to experiment with these techniques, using the vocabulary words from King’s letter. Offer prompts or themes related to the letter’s content to guide their writing, such as justice, equality, or nonviolent protest.

3

Writing and Peer Review

Instruct students to write their own creative pieces incorporating the vocabulary words. This could be in the form of a short story, poem, diary entry, or letter, reflecting the themes and styles of King’s writing. Once the students have completed their drafts, organize a peer review session. Encourage students to provide constructive feedback on how effectively the vocabulary words are used and how well the themes of King's letter are reflected in their peers' writing.

4

Presentation and Reflection

Conclude the lesson with a presentation session where students share their creative work with the class. Create an environment where students feel comfortable and encouraged to express their interpretations and writing styles. Following the presentations, lead a reflection session. Discuss how the activity helped deepen their understanding of the vocabulary and the themes of King’s letter. Ask students to reflect on how the exercise in creative writing allowed them to engage with the text in a personal and meaningful way.

Frequently Asked Questions about Letter from a Birmingham Jail Vocabulary

What are some examples of sophisticated vocabulary used in 'Letter from Birmingham Jail'?

In "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King Jr. employs a range of sophisticated vocabulary that adds depth and nuance to his arguments. Examples include "anesthetizing," which he uses to describe the gradual numbing effect of racial injustice over time, and "sanctimonious," referring to a feigned or hypocritical righteousness. Words like "repudiate," meaning to reject or disavow, and "moratorium," a temporary cessation of an activity, are used to articulate his positions and responses to criticisms. These words, along with others like "precipitate," "interposition," and "nullification," demonstrate King's academic background and rhetorical skill. They serve not only to communicate his ideas effectively but also to engage and challenge his audience intellectually.

Can you explain the significance of the legal and political terms used in the letter?

The legal and political terminology in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" is significant as it frames the civil rights struggle within the broader context of American democracy and jurisprudence. Terms like "unconstitutional," "segregation," and "civil disobedience" are pivotal in King's arguments. By labeling segregation as unconstitutional, King anchors his fight in the foundational principles of American law, emphasizing the legal and moral illegitimacy of racial segregation. The use of the term "civil disobedience" is critical as it invokes a long tradition of nonviolent protest against unjust laws, drawing from both American and global histories. This legal and political vocabulary not only clarifies the grounds of King’s arguments but also situates his fight for racial equality within the larger narrative of American history and its values.

What types of activities can be included in worksheets to enhance understanding of the letter's religious vocabulary?

Worksheets designed to enhance understanding of the religious vocabulary in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" can include a variety of activities. Fill-in-the-blank exercises using sentences from the letter can help students focus on the context in which religious terms are used. Word matching activities can pair religious vocabulary with their definitions or related scriptural references. Students could also engage in activities that prompt them to write short paragraphs explaining how King uses religious language to strengthen his moral arguments. Discussion questions can facilitate deeper exploration of how the religious terms relate to the broader themes of justice and equality in the letter. Additionally, creative activities like writing prayers or sermons using the letter's religious vocabulary can allow students to apply these terms in a practical context, deepening their engagement with the material.




Image Attributions
  • I ❤ rains • h0lydevil • License Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
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