Martin Luther King Jr. Teaching Toolkit

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an excellent opportunity for educators to connect history with modern-day events. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we have put together some resources to help you make history come alive for your students. We encourage you to try these with your students, modify them as you see fit, and share with us the results. 

Below is a brief description of the four activities we have created to use with the four new Text Sets on the topic of Martin Luther King Jr. To learn more about that activity, click on the title.

Leadership Text Set Guide                                                                                                 Paired text activity: comparing Leaders 

Have students make connections between leaders by using the "Words of a leader" Text Set. In this activity, students will compare two Newsela articles, one about King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech and one from another leader.  By looking closely at the articles, students will gather the knowledge they need to answer an exclusive Write prompt connecting both articles.

What If He Were Alive Today? Text Set Guide                                                                 Discussion activity: making connections to current civil rights issues

Teaching with Text Sets, such as this one titled "What if he were alive today?" is a powerful way to help students connect classroom content to what is happening in the world, or even start to explore how events in the news relate to one  another. This discussion activity helps students make connections between the Civil Rights movement and some of the issues that our world still faces today. 

Art, Conflict and Community Text Set Guide                                                                    Art activity: how can art help people overcome issues?  

In this activity, students will explore the Arts, Conflict and Community Text Set to learn how people are using art to express their viewpoints. They will then use what they learned and connect it to the Civil Rights Movement by creating a piece of art that reflects reactions to this time period.

Power of Protest Text Set Guide                                                                                       Close reading activity: protest analysis

After comparing different protests found in the Power of Protest Text Set, students will evaluate which tactics are effective and those that are not so effective. 

 Go Beyond the Classroom

We know that, as educators, you are always coming up with innovative ways to teach concepts to your students. If you are testing out one of these activities, or have come up with something new, we would love to share it with our Newsela PRO educator community.

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