Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Honoring an American Hero


By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—celebrated next Monday, Jan. 16, 2017—provides an inspiring opportunity to teach about justice and heroism.

Dr. King—an American hero who lived and died long before our students were born—is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. Although he died for his beliefs, his legacy lived on in a changed world.

The United States declared Dr. King’s birthday a federal holiday in 1986, but his commitment to civil rights through non-violent protest resonates even today, far beyond US shores. He has been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, among many others.

Here are a few of Curriki’s favorite resources for teaching a new generation about this great man:

Who Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream: equality for all people. This lesson looks at how one life can change the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Me: Identifying with a Hero
This lesson provides ideas for celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by encouraging students to explore the connections between Dr. King and themselves.

Martin Luther KingLiving the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness
Students participate in Dr. King’s dream by doing 100 acts of kindness.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Power of Nonviolence
This lesson introduces Middle School students to King’s philosophy of nonviolence, and to the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King’s views.

Martin Luther King Day Teaching Resources
Science NetLinks and AAAS have developed a number of resources from the social and behavioral sciences that will help you celebrate the work and legacy of Dr. King in your classroom, from understanding stereotypes to skin color to social class.

Scholastic MLK Resources
Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent struggle for civil rights in the United States with biographies, memorable quotes, plays, printables and multimedia resources.

Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at

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Teaching the Elections: One Week to Go!

Trump and CLintonBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

With U.S. Presidential Elections coming into the home stretch, many Americans are heaving a sigh of relief that one of the most acrimonious election seasons in memory is finally almost over.

But for teachers and homeschoolers, that means just one week remains to use active elections as an exciting real-time teaching tool for US history and social studies.

Curriki’s elections page includes a collection of helpful, interactive election teaching resources for kids of all ages. They include:

  • Mock Election, a three-day simulation lesson in which students explain the steps taken from party formation to national election.
  • Win the White House, in which students to manage their very own presidential campaign.
  • Electoral Process, a peek into the electoral process, from party primaries to the general election.
  • Poster PLanHow to Become President of the U.S. Poster Lesson Plan, in which students go from Constitutional qualifications for becoming President of the United States, through background research on a candidate, through campaign analysis, and finally participate in a mock election.
  • Scholastic Election, created by the expert editors of Scholastic News magazines, is designed to inform and engage kids in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Curriki also offers “Participation Presidential Elections in Government, a half-year course that aims to make students appreciate their voice in American politics. The course explores the foundations of Democracy, the American dream, social issues, and of course the presidential election.

You’ll also find links to the platforms for the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties and much, much more.

Other Election Resources

Election centralHere are some other election resources to use during this final week of the US Presidential campaign:

  • Because this campaigning cycle has been unusually contentious, Teaching Tolerance offers and promoting civility in times of conflict. The lesson plan Civil Discourse in the Classroom teaches students how to developed reasoned arguments from unsubstantiated claims. You’ll find more tips on its Election 2016 Resources page.
  • PBS Learning Media offers Election Central, a collection of election news, history, and ideas for facilitating classroom debates.

Share Your Successes!

What has been working best for you? Please share your most successful strategies on Curriki’s Facebook page and enter a drawing for an Amazon gift card!

Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Curriki Joins Forces with the Constitution Center

constitution day logoBy Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

In anticipation of Constitution Day on Friday, Sept. 16 – and, of course, the upcoming presidential election – Curriki is delighted to announce a timely and exciting new partnership: the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia!

The Constitution Center may be physically located in the birthplace of our nation, but its website,, reaches around the world as the only virtual place where people can come together to learn, debate and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history – the U.S. Constitution.

Curriki’s Constitution Center Collection

You can find the Constitution Center’s always relevant collection on the Curriki website, with fascinating units such as:

  • The 13th Amendment – examine the Primary Source,  the handwritten congressional copy of the amendment that banned slavery, signed by President Lincoln, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, and over 150 members of Congress, for a vibrant discussion guide on the abolition of slavery.
  • Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War – a lesson plan on this fascinating period n US history, featuring an online game featuring an animated Abe Lincoln
  • The Bill of Rights – a multi-faceted lesson that helps students learn about the rights and freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, translate the document into student-friendly language and make connections with real-life scenarios by playing Bill of Rights Bingo.
  • Students will also dive into the legacy of Martin Luther King, the history of Thanksgiving, the separation of powers and so much more.

Primary sources of some of the most fundamentally important historical material, including the Bill of Rights and the Articles of Confederation, are also offered in this special collection.

What is Constitution Day, Anyway?

Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the most influential document in American history, by the Founding Fathers on September 17, 1787.  Celebrating Constitution Day presents an awesome opportunity to inspire students to actively learn about the founding of the United States.

Find Curriki’s curriculum provided by the Constitution Center here.

Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMO

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Follow Curriki’s Blog at

Presidential Politics and the US Constitution

US ConstitutionBy Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

The moving speech delivered by Khizr Khan, father of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq in 2004, to the Democratic National Convention has many Americans wanting to refresh themselves on the U.S. Constitution.

Khan’s words remind us how important it is that all Americans read and understand the rights we all hold so dear.

Most of us don’t carry pocket-sized copies of the Constitution, but we do have access to the e-text on Curriki, courtesy of Curriki’s new partner, the Constitution Center. Now might be a good time to browse these words and share your thoughts with students and peers.

Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at

Night and Elie Wiesel’s Legacy

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night by Elie Wiesel

By Janet Pinto
Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

The recent death of Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel at age 87 presents an opportunity for us to study and reflect upon the brutal genocide that killed six million Jews in the 1930s and 40s.

Wiesel, who lost his father, mother and a sister in the Holocaust, managed to survive the Auschwitz and Buchenwald death camps. After the war he moved to the United States, and at the age of 27 wrote his internationally acclaimed memoir Night.

The activist and author made Holocaust education his mission in life and became a voice for victims, eventually writing more than 50 books. His death leaves a huge void.

Wiesel’s Legacy

U.S. President Barack Obama called Wiesel “one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world.”

“By bearing witness, he revealed evil many avoided facing,” wrote Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “By never giving up, he made this world better.”

Learning Resources

I have created a collection of resources about Wiesel’s book Night, and urge teachers and parents to use these in explaining why Wiesel’s death still reverberates so strongly throughout the world today.

Photo of Janet Pinto

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at



20 Curriki Resources to Get Students to Engage with Your Content

By Curriki Guest Blogger Lani deGuia Lani

Now that the school year is into full swing, it is a great time to dive deep into your curriculum to see how you can foster critical thinking and engagement to elevate your instruction. Students are craving activities that make the content seem relevant and that allows them to connect to the topic personally and/or creatively. Here is a selection of great resources that tap into higher order thinking while staying aligned to standards!


Language Arts

A Bad Case of Bullying: Using Literature Response Groups with Students (Grades 3-5)

It’s never too early to start teaching students about emotions and how to prevent bullying. This ReadWriteThink lesson plan utilizes the beloved children’s book “A Bad Case of the Stripes” to have students engage with a narrative story and reflect on it personally.

Hunger Games (Grades 6-12)

Bring one of the most popular movie series into your classroom through this collection of reading and writing activities.

The Arts and the Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project (Grades K-12)

Ever thought of having students draw a self-portrait when studying memoirs? Check out this collection of multiple unit ideas for each grade level that integrates art into the language arts curriculum.

The Bard: Shakespeare Up Close (Grades 9-12)

Get students to interpret Shakespeare and discover their acting abilities! In this activity, students will select their favorite scene from a work of Shakespeare, re-enact it in a modern setting, and record/edit using digital tools.


Writing (middle and high school) dictionary

Global Voices: Journalism in the Classroom (Grades 9-12)

Motivate aspiring journalists through this unit that introduces print media and the craft of writing news stories.

Persuasive Writing (Grades 6-8)

Teach students to develop and defend arguments! This collection contains multiple lesson plans and units based on persuasive writing for middle school.

The Writing Teacher’s Strategy Guide (Grades K-12)

Stumped on a new way to present writing tips to your students? This collection of instructional strategies (graphic organizers galore!) is sure to come in handy!


English Language Learners

“Our Lives, Our Words”: Using Digital Photography to Improve Student Learning (Grades 1-4)

Students will integrate real-world connections with what they are learning through the use of digital photography.


Math math

Area (Grades 3-5)

Common Core based unit for teaching area. Includes 12 lessons, hands-on activities, worksheets, and assessments.

Domino Pizza Effect (Grades 6-8)

Problem-based learning activity from that was adapted for 8th grade. Students explore linear equations, slope, and y-intercepts through data and graphing.

Linear Inequalities (Grades 9-12)

Developed using Understanding by Design by Trinity University, this 4-week unit has students investigate linear inequalities and systems of linear inequalities. Students will analyze how reasonable solutions are and discover the multiple approaches to solving a problem.

Math Focal Points (Grades 6-8)

Need to brush up on your content knowledge of math to improve your instruction? Annenberg Learner provides multiple resources to better teach math and science including content knowledge, lessons, and activities.


Science science

A Matter of Chocolate (Grades 3-5)

Cross-curricular unit thematic unit for Social Studies and Science where students explore the history and properties of one of the most adored sweet treats! The unit utilizes an inquiry-based approach with both hands-on and virtual experiences!

MedMyst (Grades 6-8)

Adventure online game where middle school students use scientific investigation to examine infectious disease outbreaks and epidemiology.

Game Design in the Science Classroom (grades 6-8)

Engaging unit where students will utilize free Scratch programming software from MIT to create their own video game. Includes teacher and student resources including formative and summative assessments.

Physics of Sailing (Grades 9-12)

6 week Problem-based learning project for high school students. Integrates real world application of Newton’s laws to sailboat design. Includes opportunities for use of technology tools Google Sketch Up and/or AutoCAD for student presentations.


Social Studies

The Wall Inspires Letters to Veterans (Grades 3-5)

With Veteran’s Day approaching, it’s the perfect opportunity to get students to reach out to their local veterans.

Debates and the Race for the White House (Grades 6-12)

Get students involved in the current Presidential election by having them analyze the election debates.

Civil Rights Movement (Grades 9-12)

Students will examine the development of federal civil rights and voting rights through research and a Socratic seminar discussion.


Educational Technology

10 Tech Tools to Teach the Common Core Standards (all subjects)

Looking for a digital tool to help your students with collaboration, communication, logical reasoning, and more? Support your instruction of Common Core by integrating these resources!

What is your favorite class project/activity that is successful in both teaching the content and energizing student interest?

Cinco de Mayo Resources

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May, on Monday this year) is perhaps a bigger holiday in certain parts of the United States than it is in Mexico. This is despite it being a celebration of a victory by the Mexican Army over French troops in 1862 at Peubla, Mexico. The observance in the U.S. is a celebration of Mexican-American culture among the large community in the U.S. of people with a Mexican heritage.


In Mexico it is observed primarily in the state of Puebla and is known as the Day of the Battle of Peubla (in Spanish: El Día de la Batalla de Puebla).

Cinco de Mayo is not just about a national fiesta. It is an important springboard for learning about Mexican history and culture. We currently have a number of featured Social Science resources on Curriki for this year’s observance.


For Elementary School: Cinco De Mayo Vocabulary Worksheet

Contributed by: Curriki’s Thematic Collections – This worksheet includes vocabulary related to Cinco de Mayo.

For Middle School: Mexico Geo-Political Map

Contributed by: Marshall Cavendish

For High School: The African Influence in Mexico

Contributed by: Brenda Faye – This curriculum unit is based on experiences as a participant in a Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad. The unit explores the African presence in Mexico from a historical and cultural perspective.

You can also find additional Cinco de Mayo resources on Curriki hereWe hope you find some of these resources useful in your classrooms.

Nobel Prizes Awarded for 2013

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Somewhere around the world, in one of your classrooms, there is a future Nobel Prize winner in the making! Help inspire them and all your other students toward future successes, great and small. Curriki has thousands of resources related to the disciplines in which the Nobel Prizes are awarded.

These most prestigious of prizes are awarded each year in accordance with the will of Alfred Nobel, who was born in Sweden 180 years ago. An inventor, chemist, and engineer, he is best known as the inventor of dynamite; when he died in 1896 he had 355 patents in his name. The Nobel committee which decides on the awards in the various categories is based in Sweden. An exception is that the Peace Prize is selected by a committee based in Norway. Prizes are awarded at the discretion of the committees in the categories of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Literature, Peace, and Economics.

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel

For this year, awards have been made as follows:

Chemistry – Drs. Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel were awarded the Chemistry Prize for advances in molecular modeling using high performance computers. You can find around 745 chemistry resources on Curriki at (by searching on Science / Chemistry).

Peter Higgs (image credit: Gert-Martin Greuel)

Peter Higgs (image credit: Gert-Martin Greuel)

Physics – Drs. Peter Higgs and Francois Englert were awarded the Physics Prize for their Higgs boson prediction. The new particle, named for Higgs, was discovered in 2012 after decades of searching and is the mechanism providing mass to other fundamental particles (such as quarks, electrons). You can find 1287 physics resources on Curriki.

Medicine – Drs. James Rothman, Randy Sheckman and Thomas Sudhof were awarded the prize in Medicine for increasing our understanding of transport mechanisms inside cells. There are around 1288 health resources on Curriki.

Too Much Happiness, short stories by Alice Munro

Too Much Happiness, short stories by Alice Munro

Literature – The Literature Prize was awarded to Alice Munro, a Canadian, for her contemporary short stories. You can find around 1520 literature resources on Curriki.

Peace – The Peace Prize for 2013 has been awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”. The OPCW is supported by the United Nations, and according to the NY Times “The organization’s mission is to act as a watchdog in carrying out the Chemical Weapons Convention, which came into force in 1997 with four aims: to destroy all chemical weapons under international verification, to prevent the creation of new chemical weapons, to help countries protect themselves against chemical attack, and to foster international cooperation in the peaceful use of chemistry. Since its creation, the organization has sent experts to carry out 5,000 inspections in 86 countries..” There are a number of resources on issues around peace on Curriki, but we’d like to see more, please contribute in this category if you are able.

Economics – The Economics Prize is not yet announced as this blog goes to press. There are over 1000 economics-related resources on Curriki.

These several thousands of open educational resources freely available on Curriki may help you inspire a future Nobel Prize winner, or if not, at least can help to inspire and educate a future great scientist, author, or contributor to world peace. And if you can add to the collections in any of these categories, please do!

Hispanic Heritage Month

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki 

In the U.S., Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. It honors the many contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the U.S. Many Hispanics have immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, Central America and Latin America. Just considering the government sector, Hispanics have served as Governors, in Congress, in the Cabinet and on the Supreme Court.


Why does the observance of Hispanic Heritage start in the middle of the month? Because the 15th of September is observed as the Independence Day for a number of countries in Central America. These include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. And the next day, September 16th, is Mexico’s Independence Day. Furthermore, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence 2 days and 5 days later than that, respectively.

Many cities, towns and states in the U.S. have Spanish names, since they were originally founded by Spanish colonialists. Among these are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Albuquerque and San Antonio. California and Florida are two states with Spanish names.

ImageSan Francisco

In fact Curriki’s headquarters are in Cupertino, California (the same city in which Apple’s headquarters are found) and both the city and state are Spanish names. The Spanish named a creek which runs through the city after Saint Joseph of Cupertino (Copertino is a town in Italy, his birthplace). The name of the creek is now Stevens Creek, but the city, which was named much later, has adopted the original name of the creek.

Here are resources for Hispanic Heritage Month on Curriki:

There are a number of resources on Curriki in the Spanish language. But certainly not enough. We encourage Spanish speakers from around the world to see how you can contribute educational resources in the Spanish language to Curriki.


July Resources at Curriki

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

There are new featured resources highlighted at Curriki for the month of July, in math and science, and in social studies and English language arts. See these pages on the Curriki site covering the four subject areas:






Since Independence Day is next week in the U.S., we highlight U.S. history here. One of the curricula under the Social Studies category above is a high school level U.S. history curriculum.

This curriculum covers all of the material outlined by the College Board as necessary to prepare students to pass the AP U.S. History exam.

Upon completion of this course students will:

  • Demonstrate comprehension of a broad body of historical knowledge.
  • Express ideas clearly in writing. Work with classmates to research an historical issue.
  • Interpret and apply data from original documents.
  • Identify underrepresented historical viewpoints.
  • Write to persuade with evidence.
  • Compare and contrast alternate interpretations of an historical figure, event, or trend.
  • Explain how an historical event connects to or causes a larger trend or theme.
  • Develop essay responses that include a clear, defensible thesis statement and supporting evidence.
  • Effectively argue a position on an historical issue.
  • Critique and respond to arguments made by others.
  • Raise and explore questions about policies, institutions, beliefs, and actions in an historical context.
  • Evaluate primary materials, such as historical documents, political cartoons, and first-person narratives.
  • Evaluate secondary materials, such as scholarly works or statistical analyses.
  • Assess the historical significance and cultural impact of key literary works (e.g. Common Sense, Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

Notice that this curriculum is built around critical thinking: comprehension, interpretation, expressing ideas clearly, persuasion, analysis, developing an argument with defensible support, critiquing and assessing documents, policies, beliefs, and cultural impact.


For those of you outside of the U.S., there is a great resource, Tour of the Universe, that we can all relate to. This is for use in middle school grades 6, 7, or 8 to meet astronomy and earth science standards; it has integration with mathematics, history, and technology subject areas.

This semester of science focuses on a linear exploration of our universe. Students begin by exploring the history of astronomical thought, then move to our current understanding of the universe, including the structure of the solar system, and end with a study of our home planet, Earth.

Take a look at these 12 highlighted resource areas for July, there is sure to be one or more of interest in the list!