Success!  Remember how I was afraid?  Well, the MLK projects turned out awesome!!

I used this lesson plan from Dick Blick to figure out how to do positive/negative art.  Remember my original inspiration from this pin?  Over at Educated...Not So Domestic, Miss Macri said that she Google-searched a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. and outlined his face.  My colleague, Carrie, made the outline on a piece of white cardstock.  We copied only half of that face onto more pieces of white cardstock and cut the paper in half lengthwise.  The kids cut out the side of his face, nose, mustache, two lips, and collar.  Then, we had them pinch the middle of the eye, make a cut, stick the scissors inside the eye, and cut around the line.  They also did that for the eyebrow.  Since the eye and eyebrow now had holes in them, the insides needed to be recycled.  Using the other side of the white paper (remember, we had cut it in half?), students placed their white face on top of the scrap paper and traced a new eye and eyebrow.  They cut these out.  Now everything is ready to be glued onto a piece of black cardstock.  My BFF Janae gave me TONS of black cardstock that was left over from making her wedding invitations.  It comes in handy with art projects all the time!  First, they glued down the white paper that is the outside of the face.  This one is best to glue down first, since it has three straight sides, it will help make sure everything lines up correctly.  Once the outside face is glued, they line up the white face part on the other side of the black paper to create a line of symmetry (math link!!).  Last, they glue on the white eye, eyebrow, nose, mustache, lips, and collar onto the black paper.  Everything is done!!

The colorful circles on my bulletin board was another project we did.  Each circle has a date on it and the students write what major event happened that year in Martin Luther King, Jr's life.  This was a great addition to our art project.  Instead of using construction paper, my students colored each circle.  My school is having a construction paper shortage, so this solution worked well.  Click this pin to see a lesson plan and check out this pin to snag a copy of the activity for yourself!

Have you done an art project recently that you were afraid would be a flop?  What did your class do for Martin Luther King, Jr day?

Edit: after a couple people asked for the outline of Dr. King's face that Carrie and I used, I outlined it with a Sharpie, scanned, and shared it here on Google Docs.  I hope this project works out well for you, too! :)
photo of classroom photo Teaching With Style  3rd grade Martin Luther King, Jr. art bulletin board Freebie outline

I'm linking up with Denise over at Sunny Days in Second Grade!


  1. I'm a new follower and I LOVE these we a similar process for symmetry ghosts and pumpkins when I taught third grade! Great job, I love these! :)
    Stories From Second

  2. Looks great!
    ❤ Sandra
    Sweet Times in First

  3. Very cool! I have been looking for a MLK Jr project for Tuesday...I might try this. Do you think 2nd graders could pull it off? Also, would you mind sending me the image you used? I've been looking online, but can't find a symmetrical one. Thanks!

  4. Awesome idea-- we already started a tear art project this year but this will be mine for next year!

  5. I'm so glad that you loved this idea! It is still one of my favorite projects I've done with my kids - thanks for the link love too :)

    1. Thank YOU, Miss Macri, for the inspiration! I absolutely love this project!

  6. Love the project! Thanks so much. I posted it on my new blog and linked to your post. Check out how my first graders did:


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