Skip to content

Memory Monday: Free videos and lesson plan kits from Teaching Tolerance

With Netflix (or is it Amazon Prime? Maybe both?) offering free access to movies depicting events of the civil rights movement and the African American experience, you’ve got a great excuse to come in from the 98 degree heat.

Watch some great history. Learn some stuff. And extra bonus?

Get some free stuff.

I posted this article back in 2015 after the movie Selma came out in theaters. And saw a great connection between the film and the amazing collection of free lessons and videos from Teaching Tolerance.

The free stuff was awesome then. And it’s still awesome now.


I finally got the chance to see Selma over the weekend. And afterwards, I tweeted out that it’s a “must see.” Having had a chance to digest a bit and talk with others who’ve seen it, I’m still convinced. The movie does a great job of creating a sense of the period, the overt racism and violence, the need for supporting the right to vote, the courage of everyday individuals, and of the thought process behind the events taking place in Selma and around the country.

While some have questioned, perhaps rightfully so, the film’s depiction of President Johnson’s relationship with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement, the main message of Selma remains clear – that the quest for equality and dignity in the United States was difficult and dangerous. And that the work of ordinary folks such as John Lewis, Jimmie Lee Jackson, and Amelia Boynton Robinson still isn’t finished.

The question for many of us is how to best approach such a topic as part of our instructional design. Part of the answer to that question is the sweet – and free – resources over at Teaching Tolerance.

Founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law CenterTeaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations, and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children.

They provide free educational materials to teachers and other school all over the U.S. and Canada. Their free self-titled magazine is sent to 450,000 educators twice annually, and tens of thousands of educators use their free curricular kits. More than 5,000 schools participate in the annual Mix It Up at Lunch Day program.

Their teaching materials have won two Oscars, an Emmy, and more than 20 honors from the Association of Educational Publishers, including two Golden Lamp Awards, the industry’s highest honor. So the goodies you can get are all top-notch.

And if you’re looking for specific Selma and March to Montgomery teaching resources, the Teaching Tolerance folks have got you covered. Start with their Bridge to the Ballot page with a ton of lessons, teacher guides, and additional resources that specifically target those events. Then head over to the Bridge to the Ballot video and teaching kit page.The film focuses on teachers and students who were involved in the protests in Selma, giving you a perfect connection to your own kids. Click the link to get the video and kit for free.

Free? Yup, free.

And once you’ve ordered the free Selma resources, explore their Let’s Talk About Race document, 34 pages that provide questions, guidance, and great suggestions for learning more yourself but also how to support a productive learning space.

Then head over to their Classroom Resources page for more goodies and the Film Kits page to see what other video-related resources they offer.

Need more?

You need need need the excellent graphic novel series, perfect for middle and high school, titled March by John Lewis.

Be sure to check out the incredible music and lyrics from Common and John Legend that played during the final credits of Selma.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Glenn is a curriculum and tech integration specialist, speaker, and blogger with a passion for technology and social studies. He delivers engaging professional learning across the country with a focus on consulting, presentations, and keynotes. Find out more about Glenn and how you might learn together by going to his Speaking and Consulting page.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: