Magazine Feature

Toolkit for Hit the Road

This toolkit provides lesson plan ideas for taking a virtual civil rights tour with your students and for bringing the voices of civil rights veterans into the classroom.

Civil rights tours can be cost prohibitive for students and families. However, virtual resources designed for classroom use can help bring the stories, people and voices of the civil rights movement alive for students.  


Essential Questions

  1. How can I bring the personal stories, images and experiences of the civil rights movement into my classroom?
  2. What do I want my students to understand about the civil rights movement from the perspective of individuals who participated?

This toolkit provides lesson plan ideas for taking a virtual civil rights tour with your students and bringing in the voices of civil rights veterans into the classroom.


Step One: Take Your Students on a Virtual Civil Rights Tour

For elementary-age students, the National Civil Rights Museum E-Learning website has a number of online, interactive lessons about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other pivotal moments in the civil rights movement.

  • If technology permits, have students complete this online interactive lesson about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Students will take a journey starting at the beginning of the boycott and create their own firsthand account of the experience for a fictional local newspaper.
  • If access to computers is limited, do this lesson together as a class and have students answer each question on their own, recording their individual answers in a journal, then combining their answers into individual newspaper articles.
  • Once completed, have students share their articles about the bus boycott and discuss their reactions to what they saw and learned.
  • Students could also work together to create one article on the bus boycott for the front page of the fictional local newspaper. Students could look for images of the boycott online or create their own drawings.

For middle or high school students, visit this Boise State University website, which hosts virtual field trips to pivotal locations in the civil rights struggle. Using the locations listed on the website, have students dig deeper into the personal stories of the civil rights movement with videos, pictures and maps.

  • The instructions on the home page explain how to structure the lessons. Go through the locations in order, as they correspond to the timeline of the civil rights movement. 
  • For each location, students should click on the highlighted images to watch videos, see additional pictures and find more detailed information. Have students record answers to the questions on the side of each page in a journal.


Step Two: Bring Local Voices of the Movement into the Classroom

A group called Veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement created a website to share their personal histories of involvement with the movement. Veteran members are in all 50 states and are available to speak to students. If possible, invite one of the veterans to speak in your classroom.

  • Share the short biographical information about the visiting civil rights veteran (found on the website), and have students draft a list of three to five questions.
  • Encourage each student to ask at least one of their questions during the visit from the civil rights veteran.
  • Ask the civil rights veteran to bring in any materials or artifacts they have from their involvement in the movement. 
  • If there is not an available civil rights veteran near you, use the veterans’ answers on the FAQ page to give students a personal look into the movement. 

Some other options for using these student resources include:

  • Have students role-play an interview with one of the veterans using the information on the FAQ page of the website. Have students respond as if they were different Movement veterans with one student (or teacher) acting as the interviewer.
  • Use the pictures in the photo album as writing prompts for your students. What does this image bring to mind for you? What do you think the person or people pictured were thinking at the time? What does this image tell you about the event or time it was taken?
Illustration of person holding and looking at laptop.

New Virtual Workshops Are Available Now!

Registrations are now open for our 90-minute virtual open enrollment workshops. Explore the schedule, and register today—space is limited!

Sign Up!