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August 28th, 2013

10 Resources for Teaching the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

August 28, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s famed “I Have a Dream” speech. This anniversary presents the perfect opportunity to teach about the history of the civil rights movement and the ongoing effects of racial discrimination in America.

NewsHour Extra has compiled a list of seven engaging lesson plans and one resource page to help teachers take on this depthy subject. Try them out, and let us know how you tackle this important subject in the classroom!

1. 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington Basic Resources | Resources

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This resource page includes a quick guide to the March on Washington, an interactive timeline of the Civil Rights Movement and a glossary of terms. Use these to get started on your classroom curriculum.

2. A History of Discrimination and Its Consequences | Lesson Plan

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GRADES: Middle and High School

In this lesson, students analyze what “The American Dream” means, and what role racial discrimination may play in failing to attain that dream.

3. A Time for Change | Lesson Plan

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GRADES: Middle and High School

Use this lesson plan and interactive timeline to see the sequence of events leading up to the iconic March on Washington, who was involved in the march and what the march hoped to achieve.

4. “I Have a Dream” Speech as a Visionary Text | Lesson Plan

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GRADES: Middle school

Help your students connect to the rich imagery of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by learning the history of the speech and then illustrating some of its most famous lines in this creative lesson plan.

5. “I Have a Dream” as a Work of Literature | Lesson Plan

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GRADES: 9 – 12

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most memorable speech from his life as an activist, “I Have a Dream,” was delivered August 28, 1963 before more than 200,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”

6. Racial Equality – How far have we come and how far do we still need to go? | Lesson Plan

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GRADES: Middle and High School

Martin Luther King dreamed of an America where people could “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Use this lesson plan to start a discussion in your classroom about where we are on the path to realizing this dream.

7. A Mathematical Representation of the March | Lesson Plan

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GRADES: All grades, and including students with intellectual disabilities

You don’t have to be a civics or English teacher to talk about the March on Washington in your classroom. Use this engaging lesson plan to bring math into the equation, so to speak, with a classroom activity that helps students create a representative population of the march’s attendees.

8. Discrimination – Fair or Unfair | Lesson Plan

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GRADES: All grades, and including students with intellectual disabilities. It is designed specifically for students who have difficulty with verbal and written expression.

Make issues of fairness, justice and discrimination personal to your students with this lesson plan, which includes an activity with Dr. Seuss!

9. Leadership at the March through Music and Speeches | Lesson Plan

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GRADES: Middle and High School

While Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech became the most famous to come out of the March on Washington, he was by no means to only person to address the massive crowd assembled on the National Mall. Use this lesson plan to look at the other civil rights leaders and orators who spoke that day, and how effectively they conveyed their messages.

10. The March on Washington and Its Impact Lesson Plan

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GRADES: Middle and High School

In this lesson plan, students compare King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to other famous texts in American history, including the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. This is a great addition to any speech, English or history class.

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