TeachersFirst's Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr.

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These teacher-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst provide lesson ideas, activities, research materials, and interactive sites for studying Martin Luther King, Jr. Whether you are celebrating Martin Luther King Day in January or including Dr. King in units on the 1960s, civil rights, or famous Americans, start from this list recommended by Thinking Teachers. Don't miss the  TeachersFirst Exclusive lessons about Martin Luther King, Jr. For even more resources, try this page with all resources tagged civil rights.

 

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A Class Divided - Frontline/PBS-WGBH Educational Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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This is one of the most requested programs for effectively conveying the reality of discrimination, what it feels like, and how it can change a person. Frontline, the PBS news-magazine...more
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This is one of the most requested programs for effectively conveying the reality of discrimination, what it feels like, and how it can change a person. Frontline, the PBS news-magazine show, produced this gripping piece that tackles the controversy, complexity, and consequences of discrimination that have shaped our society. This film and collection of activities are based on the 1970 documentary of the daring lesson that teacher Jane Elliott taught her third-grade class to give them a firsthand experience in the meaning of discrimination, immediately following the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The film shows what she taught the children and the impact that lesson had on their lives. It includes three major segments: the footage of the original documentary of Jane Elliott's third-graders, (approximately 20 minutes), the reunion of those third-graders 14 years later who talk about the effect her lesson has had on their lives, (approximately 7 minutes), and also Elliott teaching her lesson to adult employees of Iowa's prison system and how their reactions to her exercise were similar to those of the children, (approximately 20 minutes). A Teachers' Guide, as well as an abundance of supplementary materials that allow students to wrestle with realistic ideas, are available on this site.

tag(s): black history (59), bullying (52), civil rights (117), diversity (36), racism (18), segregation (15), tolerance (10)

In the Classroom

Help your students understand why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and raise their awareness of discrimination and the struggle for civil rights by involving them in active viewing of A Class Divided projected on your classroom interactive whiteboard or projector. You can view the film in its entirety, or in separate chapters followed by the Discussion Questions. You may want to give students a specific task to do during the film. For example, you might ask them to listen for a particular issue or the answers to a set of questions, or take notes in preparation for one of the post-viewing activities. Replay the video or pause for discussion whenever you choose for focused, in depth exploration. Depending on your students' background knowledge and grade level, you may want to review or introduce some of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution that provide the legal grounding for equality and protection of individual rights. Explain that there are examples in American history when individuals' rights were denied and that many civil rights activists were arrested for either challenging demonstrating or breaking rules that they thought were unfair. Pose some of the questions for written assignments and discussion. This is a perfect lesson for Black History Month! Divide the class into groups to brainstorm situations that exist today within our own communities, and how they would feel and deal with it if they were the subjects. Students can easily create mind maps using free tools from Teachersfirst, such as diagrammr.com reviewed here or bubbl.us reviewed here. Have students choose words from songs to explore themes of freedom and equality, using Stories Behind the Songs reviewed here. High school students could extend this to a reading and study of the final chapter of "One America in the 21st Century," the 1998 report of President Bill Clinton's Initiative on Race, which lists 10 things that every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Ask students to add anything they think is missing and make a commitment to continue the crusade to end discrimination.

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Finishing the Dream - NBC Learn

Grades
5 to 12
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This site offers a collection of videos on the Civil Rights Movement. Topics range from Brown Vs. Board of Education to the assassination of Martin Luther King. The time span ...more
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This site offers a collection of videos on the Civil Rights Movement. Topics range from Brown Vs. Board of Education to the assassination of Martin Luther King. The time span is from the 1950s to the present, the most current being a special produced by NBC asking about "finishing the dream." Each of the ten topic areas links to many news clips that focus on the particular topic of that civil rights problem. Each clip can be "flipped" to see more information about its source, description etc. Finishing the Dream is a free area of the broader NBC Learn video site that is subscription-based. There is even an embeddable widget to make the collection available on other web sites or blogs.

tag(s): civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Include this site when your students are going to do a research project on civil rights or MLK. Use one of the videos from the site to introduce a civil rights unit. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the videos/topics together and create multimedia presentations to share with the class. Challenge groups to narrate a picture using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here. Compare videos from this site to examine the question of how King's vision is being implemented today. If you know how, embed the widget for the entire collection on your class web page for students to access in and out of school during your civil rights unit or in January near Martin Luther King Day.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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MLKing Jr. Day - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 10
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Find interactive vocabulary activities using...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Martin Luther King Jr. vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): black history (59), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Use this site to reinforce and support vocabulary as you study MLK Jr. Share the word puzzles on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own word activities from the same vocabulary list, such as matching or ranking challenges for their peers to try on the interactive whiteboard.

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Martin Luther King Papers Project - Stanford University

Grades
6 to 12
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Stanford's collection of King resources is among the most complete, and includes biographical and contextual information on King and his work. There are original documents as well as...more
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Stanford's collection of King resources is among the most complete, and includes biographical and contextual information on King and his work. There are original documents as well as timelines and other study aids. Visit the Liberation Curriculum to find lesson plans, an online dictionary, and other features. The lesson plans are linked to California standards. The site also includes video clips that require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): 1960s (30), africa (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Use this site for research about King. Share the videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own videos about Martin Luther King, Jr. Be sure to check out the lesson plans: they are detailed and simple to use.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Powerful Days in Black and White - Kodak

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4 to 12
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Kodak's site featuring the photos of Charles Moore contains many images of Dr. King and the nonviolent struggle for racial equality in the American south during the 1960s. These are...more
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Kodak's site featuring the photos of Charles Moore contains many images of Dr. King and the nonviolent struggle for racial equality in the American south during the 1960s. These are striking images. Preview before sharing with younger students.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Share the photos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Discuss the pictures as a class. What were the lives of those in the photos like? Have students choose one photo that was the most powerful and write a journal entry about that photo.

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Day of Service - U.S. Government

Grades
4 to 12
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Here's a site that asks students to live up to Dr. King's ideals by engaging in a service project to help those less fortunate than they. Learn about King, his ...more
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Here's a site that asks students to live up to Dr. King's ideals by engaging in a service project to help those less fortunate than they. Learn about King, his ideals, and how to serve.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Teachers looking for a meaningful way to honor Dr. King might find this approach attractive. Share the Why Serve link with your class and discuss how serving can change their lives. Why not come up with a class community service project to do in honor of Dr. King?

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Martin Luther King - Leaders and Revolutionaries - Time, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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The Time 100 site, created for the year 2000 celebrations, offers a nice King biography, along with links to related materials and other leading figures of the 20th century....more
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The Time 100 site, created for the year 2000 celebrations, offers a nice King biography, along with links to related materials and other leading figures of the 20th century. This one could be a nice starting point for school reports.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Use this site for research about King. Create a class wiki for students to discuss and compare the lives and legacies of Martin Luther King, Jr and Barack Obama. What characteristics do the men share? How are they different?

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Dr. King Timeline - Pocantico Hills School

Grades
2 to 4
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Use this illustrated timeline of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life, created by kids, for kids, to help students understand the meaning of the holiday. The timeline is easy to ...more
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Use this illustrated timeline of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life, created by kids, for kids, to help students understand the meaning of the holiday. The timeline is easy to navigate: simply click the arrows. After viewing the timeline, the site offers word searches, coloring pages, printables, interactive quizzes, and other features.

tag(s): 1960s (30), africa (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the content for a lesson on creating timelines. Use this site (and others) to have students create their own timelines of King's life. Have students work in cooperative learning groups (or as a class) to create an interactive timeline using a tool such as XTimeline (explained here).

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March on Washington Lesson - PBS Newshour

Grades
6 to 12
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This lesson, from the web site for the PBS Newshour, offers both a set of structuring questions about integration and racism and a set of resources that documents Dr. King ...more
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This lesson, from the web site for the PBS Newshour, offers both a set of structuring questions about integration and racism and a set of resources that documents Dr. King and the struggle for equal rights in America. The lesson includes links to important documents (some PDF files, others require Flash), extension activities, thinking questions, audio and video footage, and correlations to National Standards in history, civics, culture, and more. This site requires Adobe Acrobat and Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): africa (180), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

This lesson plan is ready to use and easy to follow! The extension activities offer some excellent higher order thinking questions. After sharing video footage with your students, why not project one of the extension activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create a blog answering the questions in the extension activities.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. - Nobel Lecture - Nobel Foundation

Grades
9 to 12
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Dr. King's lecture on the occasion of his award of the Nobel Peace prize in 1964 has elements that still resonate in the political structure of today's world. Try this ...more
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Dr. King's lecture on the occasion of his award of the Nobel Peace prize in 1964 has elements that still resonate in the political structure of today's world. Try this resource as part of a study on non-violence, civil rights, or government. The document is longer than some students might like, but it is not difficult reading. The site also includes a two minute sound recording that requires RealPlayer. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Since this speech (document) is so lengthy, why not break it down into several lessons. Have students dissect the words of King. What still holds true in the 21st century? What has changed?

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Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History - A Detailed Resource - Lousiana State Univ.

Grades
6 to 12
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As good as any book --this site includes a lot of text. Within the text is a large number of links to other useful sites. The beginning is dedicated to ...more
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As good as any book --this site includes a lot of text. Within the text is a large number of links to other useful sites. The beginning is dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. then the rest is about Black History Month. Some of the links lead you to book resources - providing the author, name of the book, and reference ID.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), black history (59), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

This site is great for research papers and choosing topics related to Black History. Check your local library (before the lesson) to see if any of the listed books are available.

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Seattle's tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. - Seattle Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, created by the Seattle Times, offers an impressive look into the life and words of Martin Luther King, Jr. This extensive site includes a timeline, several study guides ...more
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This site, created by the Seattle Times, offers an impressive look into the life and words of Martin Luther King, Jr. This extensive site includes a timeline, several study guides with various higher order thinking activities, biographical information, video and audio clips, printables, links for more information, and authentic photos. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): 1960s (30), africa (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Check out these free study guides, perfect for your MLK Jr. celebration or even Black History Month. Have students respond to the "thinking questions" by creating a journal entry or blog written by King. Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Citizen King - PBS Online

Grades
8 to 12
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This companion site to a PBS special focuses on the last five years of Dr. Martin Luther King's life, from his "I Have a Dream" Speech in 1963 to his ...more
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This companion site to a PBS special focuses on the last five years of Dr. Martin Luther King's life, from his "I Have a Dream" Speech in 1963 to his assassination in 1968. Highlights include a discussion of his non-violence philosophy, video perspectives, an interactive map of civil rights hot spots throughout the United States, several links to interactive timelines, and a teacher's guide. Several of the timelines focus on King's entire life (not just the final five years). This is a great resource for a 20th century American history class. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): 1960s (30), africa (180), african american (113), black history (59), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Share the interactive videos clips and timelines on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Take advantage of the ready-to-go teacher's guide (don't miss the "hints," that offer additional tips for using this site in your classroom). Use this site for research about the civil rights movement or the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Exploring the Power of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words through Diamante Poetry - Sharon Webster / NCTE

Grades
9 to 12
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Reading, writing, and thinking come together with history in this beautifully detailed lesson plan that focuses on the power and passion of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream"...more
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Reading, writing, and thinking come together with history in this beautifully detailed lesson plan that focuses on the power and passion of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. After reading and interpreting the text, students are asked to create original poetry using words and themes taken from King's speech. All materials, including rubrics, handouts and worksheets (mainly pdf), a captioned audio clip, video clip (requiring Real Player), related Web resources, and links to NCTE/IRA standards are included.

tag(s): martin luther king (37), poetry (228)

In the Classroom

This lesson plan is ready to go, includes interactive elements, and is even linked to national standards. English class and history class can team up on this lesson and discuss the poetry and history behind King's magical words.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Famous Quotes of Martin Luther King, Jr. - wikiquote

Grades
4 to 12
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This site features countless quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. with reference to where and when he said them. This site can be helpful as a starting point for students ...more
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This site features countless quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. with reference to where and when he said them. This site can be helpful as a starting point for students to find important dates and events in Martin Luther King's life. Be aware this site is user-contributed, but most quotes include attribution to a source. The Discussion tab at the top reveals comments by other user-contributors regarding certain quotes that they dispute.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), black history (59), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Share these quotes with your students around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The quotes can also be used throughout the month posted for reflection or read aloud. Have students rewrite the quotes in their own words.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the Net - Holidays on the Web

Grades
3 to 8
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At first glance, this site may look a bit "plain vanilla," but dig a little deeper and you will find some real gems! The site (all about Martin Luther King, ...more
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At first glance, this site may look a bit "plain vanilla," but dig a little deeper and you will find some real gems! The site (all about Martin Luther King, Jr.) offers research information and videos of several of King's famous speeches. There are links to learn more about King, Rosa Parks, and the MLK Jr. Holiday.

Be aware: this site does have numerous advertisements. At the time of this review all advertisements were appropriate. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), black history (59), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students close their eyes and visualize being at the speech in person.. what did they see, what did they hear, what did the feel, etc.. Have students write letters to Dr. King expressing their feelings about the speech. Use this site for research on Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and the Civil Rights movement. This site is a great addition to Black History month or Martin Luther King, Jr holiday.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Martin Luther King, Jr.- American Civil Rights Leader - Lucidcafe: Library

Grades
6 to 12
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This thorough website provides a wealth of information about Martin Luther King, Jr. The site includes research information about the Civil-Rights leader, related websites, and several...more
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This thorough website provides a wealth of information about Martin Luther King, Jr. The site includes research information about the Civil-Rights leader, related websites, and several video clips. There are also books and DVDs available for purchase. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), black history (59), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Use this site for research about this great Civil-Rights leader. Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Dissect the speeches together with your students. Discuss America during King's time versus America in the 21st century. Have the class participate in a discussion via a wiki all about the speech that you share and how it had an impact on today.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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American Rhetoric- Top 100 Speeches

Grades
6 to 12
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This site provides a unique opportunities for students and teachers listen to the original audio files of some of the most pivotal American political speeches, as well as read the ...more
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This site provides a unique opportunities for students and teachers listen to the original audio files of some of the most pivotal American political speeches, as well as read the transcripts of many others. Either as a supplement to American History and Social Studies curriculum, or as a lesson in the role of political rhetoric in American Government, this site has a wonderful collection of primary resources.

tag(s): debate (41), speaking (24), speech (92), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

What's unique about this site is that they have the audio to accompany the transcripts of major scripts in US history. When teaching about crucial figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., FDR or JFK use the audio to physically show students what was so monumental about their speeches. Use this site on the Interactive whiteboard or projector, just make sure your sound system is working. This would be a great resource for any history or government class.

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History and Politics Out Loud

Grades
9 to 12
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Here's a small site we hope will grow quickly. There are recordings of famous political speeches - including William Jennings Bryan's "cross of gold" and Churchill's famous "iron curtain"...more
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Here's a small site we hope will grow quickly. There are recordings of famous political speeches - including William Jennings Bryan's "cross of gold" and Churchill's famous "iron curtain" speech. Interestingly, many of these are in their entirety, making for listening sessions of an hour or more. History teachers will find numerous possibilities for this one, especially if the collection continues to grow. You'll need the RealPlayer for the sound files.

tag(s): politics (99), speech (92), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Use this site to supplement a lecture on Martin Luther King and the impact of his "I have a dream" speech. Browse the results by speaker and select the speech under King's collection. After discussing King's role in civil rights, play the clip or as much of it as you can for students. Use the audio as a writing prompt, in which students respond to the difference in hearing vs reading the speech. Students should also respond to the emotional appeal of the speech, in addition to the overall message presented. This activity would be a great short review at the end of a unit on MLK Jr.
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BrainPOP Free Stuff - BrainPop

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
    
Visit this fabulously FREE site, created by BrainPop, to find a wealth of interactives, videos, lesson plans, and more. Wow - doesn't even begin to describe the wide array of ...more
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Visit this fabulously FREE site, created by BrainPop, to find a wealth of interactives, videos, lesson plans, and more. Wow - doesn't even begin to describe the wide array of topics and subjects. The best part is the FREE stuff for BrainPop Espanol, BrainPop Jr, and BrainPop ESL. Some of the specific topics include: Harlem Renaissance, Civil War, Blogs, Angles, DNA, Stocks & Shares, Digital Animation, and MANY others. These were the FREE topics at the time of this review, and of course is subject to change.

tag(s): angles (88), blogs (88), charts and graphs (195), civil war (145), digital storytelling (144), dna (69), energy (198), grammar (216), harlem (9), internet safety (106), main idea (9), mars (41), martin luther king (37), nutrition (154), shakespeare (131), stock market (13), women (101)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to find lessons and/or animations in a variety of topic areas. There are "ready to go" movies and more in health, social studies, art & music, engineering & technology, and other topics. Share the sites on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the class. Save this link in your favorites and check back to see "what's new."
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