Classroom printables, activities & worksheets

MLK Day

Honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in your classroom with  a collection of teaching resources that celebrates Dr. King through writing activities, reading exercises, crafts, printable worksheets, and more, all filled with essential vocabulary and imagery to spark more "aha" moments for your students.  Created by the teachers of Teach Starter with teachers and students in mind, this collection includes Common Core- and state standards-aligned resources and editable Google Slides that make for easy differentiation. Each resource in the collection has undergone a thorough review by a teacher on our team to ensure it's classroom ready.

What Is the Purpose of MLK Day?

Teaching elementary schoolers about Dr. King and his legacy of non-violent protest starts with understanding why MLK Day is considered a holiday at all. The law that gave us this federal holiday dates back to 1983 when President Ronald Reagan made official the third Monday in January as the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. While the date itself moves, it always falls right around the civil rights leader's birthday on January 15, 1929. Legislation to honor Dr. King with his own federal holiday began four days after his assassination in 1968 but took more than a decade to become law, a point to discuss in your social studies lessons about how a bill becomes a law – regardless of the time of year. It would take until the year 2000 for all 50 states to then declare Martin Luther King Day a state holiday as well. The holiday was the first to honor a Black American, and while the addition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday in 2021 marks the official end of slavery in America, MLK Day is still the only day to pay tribute to a singular Black American. Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King, gave us a road map for honoring her husband back in 1983 when Congress officially passed its declaration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday:
"The holiday must be substantive as well as symbolic. It must be more than a day of celebration . . . Let this holiday be a day of reflection, a day of teaching nonviolent philosophy and strategy, a day of getting involved in nonviolent action for social and economic progress."

When Is Martin Luther King Day 2023?

Dr. King's birthday will be marked as a federal holiday on Monday, January 16, 2023.

What Do You Teach on MLK Day?

Teaching about Dr. King on MLK Day may start with a review of his life – after all, younger kids may not yet have learned about the Baptist minister who helped change the world. This interactive PowerPoint, Who Is Martin Luther King Jr? is a perfect introduction for primary-grade students to the life of Dr. King and an introduction to the civil rights movement. Students read along with the teacher and make logical inferences from their reading, citing specific textual evidence to support conclusions drawn from the text. Already in digital form, this is an easy MLK Day activity to adapt to remote learning. For teachers of older kids, this “Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?” Worksheet includes important biographical information about Dr. King while helping build their reading comprehension. Students will read an informational text about Dr. King and answer 8 reading comprehension questions to demonstrate their understanding of the text.

32 of 40 teaching resources for those 'aha' moments
  • Go to Martin Luther King, Jr. Mini Book teaching resource

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    Martin Luther King, Jr. Mini Book

    Learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. with a printable book for kindergarten and first-grade students.

    Teach Starter Publishing 4 pages Grades: K - 2
  • Go to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Sentence Worksheet teaching resource

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    Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Sentence Worksheet

    Build, read, and write sentences about Martin Luther King, Jr. with a cut-and-paste sentence building worksheet.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: K - 1
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    Go to Biography Cube teaching resource

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    Biography Cube

    Research and create an interactive biography for a historical figure.

    Teach Starter Publishing 2 pages Grades: 1 - 6
  • Go to 'All About ...' - Informational Text Template teaching resource

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    'All About ...' - Informational Text Template

    Practice informative writing with this versatile template.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: 2 - 5
  • Go to Diversity is our Strength Poster teaching resource

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    Diversity is our Strength Poster

    Celebrate cultural diversity in your classroom with this customizable poster.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: K - 6
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    Go to Diversity Craft Templates teaching resource

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    Diversity Craft Templates

    Prepare for your diversity-themed lessons and more with 3 versatile black and white craft templates.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: PK - 6
  • Go to Biography Brochure Template teaching resource

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    Biography Brochure Template

    Help your students organize their thoughts about their biography subject.

    Teach Starter Publishing 2 pages Grades: 3 - 6
  • Go to Biography Flipbook Template teaching resource

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    Biography Flipbook Template

    Create a flipbook that clearly illustrates the most significant aspects of a biography subject.

    Teach Starter Publishing 9 pages Grades: 2 - 6
  • Go to A Historic Movement – Teaching Presentation teaching resource

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    A Historic Movement – Teaching Presentation

    Introduce students to the people and events of the American civil rights movement with this 17-slide PowerPoint presentation.

    Teach Starter Publishing 17 pages Grades: 3 - 6
  • Go to I Have a Dream - Speech Analysis Activity teaching resource

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    I Have a Dream - Speech Analysis Activity

    Review MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech text and explore the metaphors he used to convey his message through the accompanying questions.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: 4 - 6
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    Go to MLK Day Word Search teaching resource

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    MLK Day Word Search

    Identify the words and works of Martin Luther King Jr. in our MLK Word Search.

    Teach Starter Publishing 2 pages Grades: 2 - 6
  • Go to I See My Dream Future teaching resource

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    I See My Dream Future

    Encourage students to “reflect” on their dream future and draw it in their sunglasses. 

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: 1 - 6
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    Go to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Fakebook Worksheet teaching resource

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    Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Fakebook Worksheet

    Design a social media profile for civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. in this creative writing activity.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: 3 - 6
  • Go to If I Met MLK teaching resource

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    If I Met MLK

    Describe your ideal meeting with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in this reflective MLK writing activity.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: 2 - 6
  • Go to MLK Character Traits Graphic Organizer teaching resource

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    MLK Character Traits Graphic Organizer

    Use our graphic organizer with your students when studying Martin Luther King, Jr.’s notable mental and moral qualities.  

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: 2 - 5
  • Go to MLK Day Crossword teaching resource

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    MLK Day Crossword

    Identify and write vocabulary words relating to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in our MLK crossword puzzle.

    Teach Starter Publishing 2 pages Grades: 3 - 6
  • Go to Martin Luther King, Jr. Timeline teaching resource

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    Martin Luther King, Jr. Timeline

    Craft an illustrated timeline for students to visually explore the major events in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life.

    Teach Starter Publishing 14 pages Grades: 2 - 6
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    Go to "I Have a Dream" Writing Prompt Page teaching resource

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    "I Have a Dream" Writing Prompt Page

    Observe MLK Day by encouraging students to think about their “dream” for the future by writing it as a speech.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: 2 - 6
  • Go to MLK Day Sentence Starters teaching resource

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    MLK Day Sentence Starters

    Reflect on the concepts explored near Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with these 15 sentence starter cards.

    Teach Starter Publishing 5 pages Grades: 1 - 6
  • Go to Read Along Pocket Chart Cards - Martin Luther King, Jr. teaching resource

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    Read Along Pocket Chart Cards - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Use this set of 12 MLK text and image pocket chart cards for reading and sight word practice.

    Teach Starter Publishing 6 pages Grades: K - 1
  • Go to My Little MLK Activity Book teaching resource

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    My Little MLK Activity Book

    Start your lessons about Martin Luther King, Jr. through 5 mini activities for primary students.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: K - 1
  • Go to MLK Day Word Wall Vocabulary Cards teaching resource

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    MLK Day Word Wall Vocabulary Cards

    Use this set of 40 vocabulary words related to MLK Day and civil rights to broaden your students’ language.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: 1 - 6
  • Go to Martin Luther King, Jr. - Comprehension Task teaching resource

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    Martin Luther King, Jr. - Comprehension Task

    Apply a range of reading comprehension strategies to learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Teach Starter Publishing 3 pages Grades: 3 - 5
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    Go to 'I Have a Dream' Mobile teaching resource

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    'I Have a Dream' Mobile

    Celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with this ‘I Have a Dream’ craft. 

    Teach Starter Publishing 3 pages Grades: K - 5
  • Go to MLK Cut and Color Worksheet teaching resource

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    MLK Cut and Color Worksheet

    Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. and the ideals he fought for with this cut and color MLK worksheet for early elementary students.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: PK - 1
  • Go to Who Is Martin Luther King, Jr? - Shared Reading and Activity teaching resource

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    Who Is Martin Luther King, Jr? - Shared Reading and Activity

    Use this 13-slide PowerPoint as a collaborative reading exercise about Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Teach Starter Publishing 13 pages Grades: K - 2
  • Go to MLK Day Vocabulary Activity teaching resource

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    MLK Day Vocabulary Activity

    Build dictionary and vocabulary skills by identifying the meanings of words related to Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights.

    Teach Starter Publishing 4 pages Grades: 3 - 6
  • Go to MLK Day Task Cards teaching resource

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    MLK Day Task Cards

    Challenge students to think about the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. with this set of 13 writing task cards.

    Teach Starter Publishing 4 pages Grades: 3 - 6
  • Go to Acts of Service Worksheet teaching resource

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    Acts of Service Worksheet

    Honor the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with 36 acts of service and kindness students can do in January.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: K - 6
  • Go to My Nobel Peace Prize – Lower Grades teaching resource

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    My Nobel Peace Prize – Lower Grades

    Encourage students to think about how they could make the world a better place with our Nobel Peace Prize drawing template.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: PK - 2
  • Go to My Nobel Peace Prize – Upper Grades teaching resource

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    My Nobel Peace Prize – Upper Grades

    Encourage students to think about how they could make the world a better place with our Nobel Peace Prize writing template.

    Teach Starter Publishing 1 page Grades: 3 - 6
  • Go to 'Everyone Belongs' Vocabulary Flip-book teaching resource

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    'Everyone Belongs' Vocabulary Flip-book

    Define and discuss vocabulary words associated with diversity and equality using this flip-book writing activity.

    Teach Starter Publishing 4 pages Grades: 1 - 6