Honoring Martin Luther King With the Use of Primary Sources in the Classroom

As we celebrate Martin Luther King day in our nation, we wanted to share some resources for educators that you can use all year in your classroom. By using these sources, you and our students can dive into a deeper study of Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights this holiday.  From celebrating our collective history, to understanding our local history and resources, there is something for everyone.

The list of MLK resources is IMMENSE, so we have spent time pulling out some resources from websites educators may not be as familiar with. Many of them are from universities with specific collections of papers and primary sources, and some are from our National Education Association and government agencies. They are listed in alphabetical order - but scroll down as every link on the list has GREAT resources.

As a note, take a close look at the websites located here as they have extended resources and classroom materials under multiple tables on their site.  We have annotated this selection of sites to give you a better idea of what is available on them but we have only touched the surface. Take some time to explore and enrich your teaching!

Anti-Defamation League: The Selma to Montgomery March:
Lesson Plan from ADL on Selma.

Create your own Andriod App for the Martin Luther King Jr. Speech with this interactive tutorial.

Edsitement: I have a Dream Speech- Celebrating the Vision of Martin Luther King
A wealth of resources exist at the EdSitement NEH funded site. This lesson focuses on the I Have a Dream Speech, but there are many others as well.

A recording of King’s speech augmented by rich primary sources and materials for students to analyze and synthesize.

I See the Promised Land:
The text of the speech from the night before his assassination.

An online resource that has entries from key people, events, and writings in the collection of Martin Luther King papers.

Martin Luther King  National Historic Site:
Curriculum which will help bring resources to your classroom to teach about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

National Education Association: Resources for Teaching Martin Luther King
Did you know your National Education Association has resources for curriculum as well? Yes they do! Here is one on Martin Luther King (And PS there are other great ones on Selma as well! )

Newseum: “Make Some Noise: Students in the Civil Rights Movement”
Our amazing national museum of news shares these great resources on the Civil Rights Movement. 

A variety of resources used to teach about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Teaching With Historic Places in Selma, Alabama
The National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places Program highlights the National Register sites in Selma including Brown Chapel AME Church and the first Confederate Capitol.

Teaching With Primary Sources: Materials from the TPS-Barat Program:
Outstanding resources compiled by the TPS-Barat program for teaching about Martin Luther King Jr.

TPS-MTSU: Primary Source Set 1850- Present
A great collection of resources from the TPS Partner at Middle Tennessee State University to give context to events leading to the Civil Rights Era and today.

This site includes a 1964 interview with MLK on the Civil Rights movement and additional primary source resources to support the content of the recorded interview.



Minecraft and Primary Sources at the National Council for Social Studies

Minecraft Presentation: NCSS Presentation

EdWeek Writeup on Minecraft: EdWeek Article


Where to start. Minecraft is the jewel in many a student eye and a nightmare to many a parent and teacher who know that students live for this tool. Harnessing the power of this tool and primary sources began a fruitful collaboration between the History Colorado Preservation Education Team and Hulstrom Options School in Adams 12 School District. 

Using historic places and National Register nominations, students researched historic places in their state of Colorado and put their research and building skills to use using Adobe and Minecraft.  the results continue to be worked on and samples are below. The project met state and national standards in Social Studies as well as ISTE(s) and ISTE(t) standards and resulted in student understandings around the significance of historic places, building architecture, and cultural heritage.

Resources for Supporting Minecraft in the Classroom: 

Presentation: NCSS Presentation
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/
Library of Congress Teaching With Primary Sources: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/
National Trust for Historic Preservation: National Trust Website
Your Local State Historic Preservation Office: (SHPO) SHPO Offices

Examples of Using This Tool With Primary Sources:

Below are links to lesson plans, student examples and ideas for using Minecraft in your classroom with Primary Sources.  We focused on Colorado Historic Places!

Student Examples of Finished Projects Pinned on a Google Map


CAL Gets Geeky!

Colorado Association
of Libraries 
2015 Conference

We are excited to be part of the 2015 CAL Colorado Association of Libraries Conference in Loveland, Colorado!  Collaboration is our game, and as a teacher-librarian team we believe in sharing what works in the classroom and beyond.

Check out the links below for ideas using social media that can empower your programming, engage students and the public in the classroom and library, and build capacity in a staff while supporting critical outreach.

Resource Links: 

Want to engage with more technology ideas and collaborate? Check out the Teaching With Primary Sources Program Teacher Librarian Days here: 

Teaching Strategies: 


My Way: Curating Knowledge Through the Use of Authentic Primary Sources

Theodore Roosevelt Inauguration
Library of Congress Panoramic Photos

Connecting students to historic places, time, eras, and their world is easier using primary sources. Join in the inquiry and let students explore in the classroom! 

Resources for the use of primary sources in the classroom from today's presentation: 

Library Of Congress Primary Sources Panoramic Photographs: 

Other Primary Sources Ideas: 


USS Colorado: Honored Service

Teachers participated in a two day series of events studying the USS Colorado and preparing for the launch of the new USS Colorado Submarine which will be placed into service in 2016.

Members from the USS Colorado Commissioning Committee, Teaching with Primary Sources Colorado program, History Colorado, and the Denver Post Newspapers in Education program brought teachers together to study the history of the USS Colorado along with literacy strategies and technology strategies for the classroom. Along with this classroom instruction- scholars shared information about the USS Colorado in history through the use of Google Hangouts.

The Two Geeks were happy to support this effort and honor not only the legacy of the USS Colorado, but also the future of Colorado's namesake submarine.

Resources for the classroom can be found here:

Google Hangouts on the USS Colorado, literacy strategies, and other topics can be located here:

The USS Colorado website from our partners is located here: