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Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Free Resources and Ideas for the Classroom

Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Free Resources and Ideas for the Classroom

Each year on the third Monday of January, we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most important figures in the American Civil Rights Movement. For elementary students, it’s important to put into perspective the work of Dr. King and how he was able to bring about positive change in America.

To help your class understand, discuss, and reflect on the many achievements of this American hero, check out this FREE Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Resources Pack from Edmentum. These downloadable resources include critical-thinking questions, lesson plans, fact sheets, activities, and a poster to hang in your classroom, specifically created for both lower and upper elementary students.

It's been more than 50 years since Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech,” but thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to bring history to life in your classroom. Take a look at some of these online videos and biographical resources that can help you bring the life and legacy of Dr. King to your students.

Explore the life of Dr. King

On this page, you’ll find a biography highlighting some of the most important events in Dr. King’s life, like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the history behind MLK day. There’s also plenty of pictures, videos, and other resources that can help you paint a full picture of the life of Dr. King for your students. National Geographic Kids is another great resource to find pictures, videos and facts about Dr. King and his life.

Martin Luther King, Jr. in the News

They say that journalism is the first rough draft of history, so what better way to learn about the past than through the news? Check out the New York Times archives on Martin Luther King, Jr., where you’ll find stories spanning decades related to the Civil Rights leader. You can also find other news clippings about Dr. King from different papers across the country on, and compare and contrast how different media outlets covered the events of the Civil Rights movement, versus how we understand them today.

“I Have a Dream” Interactive Speech

Dr. King knew that using the media would e important to getting his message out to the world. Explore the role that media played in the Civil Rights Movement with this interactive version of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech from Freedom’s Ring. This digital tool compares written and spoken versions of the speech, includes images, animations, and provides historical context to King’s famous words.

Looking for more fun ways to bring history to life in your class? Check out this blog from Edmentum with other fun Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities perfect for elementary students!

This blog post was originally published on January 4, 2019.