My Favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. Resources

Happy 3-day weekend!

Just a short post to share three resources that I love to use to help kids understand this holiday.

1. Favorite Books

Martin's Big Words: a tried-and-true picture book that never gets old and is worth rereading each year. The illustrations and message are powerful.

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?: I am a *huge* fan of this biography series and they often pop up in Scholastic Book Orders, so keep your eyes peeled. I was able to build a decent book bin with this over the course of a school year. They are easy to follow and are all somewhere around the 3rd-4th grade reading level, so even using them in Guided Reading/Teacher Time is doable, since they aren't too long.

2. Favorite Video

Hands down, it's Our Friend, Martin. Our team watches this every year and have found it to be the best way to teach about Martin Luther King, Jr., his work and his message. Plus, you will recognize *so many* fabulous actors as the voices!

We always rented this VHS (old school!) from the local library, because it seems incredibly difficult to track down, unfortunately. I was able to find the full-length version on YouTube and am embedding it below. If YouTube is blocked at your school, try this tutorial HERE to help you save it to your computer at home.

3. Favorite Units

The vocabulary and content can be reinforced all week using my Word Work Centers for Martin Luther King, Jr. Use these activities in four centers during Word Work time, use the cards around the room to practice Handwriting, use the publishing page to have kids write about MLK, Jr., either in a summary, article, poem, or letter, or even incorporate them with my Pick 3 Pack to expand their vocabulary work even more.

I also pair these with my Writing Prompts to have students reflect on Dr. King's influence then and now.

There are three versions of each of the 35 prompts, so you can use them for a variety of purposes:
  • Use the cards for a Writing Station idea basket
  • Use the cut-out prompts to glue to the top of a page in a Writer's Notebook
  • Use the lined pages for formative assessment, early finishers, writing homework, and more!

I hope these resources help strengthen your lessons around Dr. King and his continued impact in our world today.


  1. Stephanie! Thanks so much for sharing that video! I remember seeing that forever ago, but completely forgot about it! I am definitely bookmarking it! And I love both those books! Hope you are enjoying the 3-day weekend!

  2. We used to watch Our Friend, Martin every year on the old school VHS. We haven't watched it in a couple of years because we no longer have a VCR at school. (my how times of changed!) Thank you so much for finding it!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  3. Love those books...and your blog! I am your newest follower... and a fellow student at TBTS! ;) Can't wait to see more from you!!

  4. Stephanie, thanks so much for these resources. My class LOVED the movie and it spurred great questions and conversation. I just adore your blog and all your great ideas. Thank you!!!

  5. Oh my! We had a crisis of ultimate magnitude this week, we had the case but no video! I thought I'd just purchase on amazon to replace...until I saw the price anywhere from $65-$150. Luckily we found the video and also found that it was on YouTube. So crisis averted and now we will take much better care of our copy.