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Selma Movie Lesson Plan


  • This resource is a downloadable PDF
  • Ideal for Grades 8-12
  • Perfect for US History, Life Skills, Character Education, or Leadership classes
  • Aligned to Common Core State Standards
  • Activities designed to help students meet Social & Emotional Learning Competencies

Selma Movie Lesson Plan helps teachers show students the mindsets and actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. and others during the heart of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

After completing Selma Movie Lesson Plan, students will gain knowledge and clarity in having a vision, overcoming obstacles, and living by principles.

Although the Civil Rights of 1964 ended legal segregation, racism and discrimination plagued the southern states. The efforts to keep African-Americans from voting were strong and Martin Luther King, Jr. knew they needed to push President Lyndon Johnson and the federal government for voting rights.

As a preacher and practitioner of nonviolence, King organized a march scheduled to take place from Selma to Montgomery in the heart of Alabama. However, we see that these efforts discussed in textbooks were not so easy from a mental and emotional standpoint as well as from a physical standpoint.

Selma Movie Lesson Plan teaches us about the true struggles and sacrifices faced by both famous people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the ordinary people who followed him as well. In the end, the best way to honor these heroes is to take their example and continue to fight injustices in our world today.

In order to complete these activities, students will need to watch the movie Selma, which has a rating of PG-13 (thematic material including violence, brief strong language) and has a run time of 2 hours and 8 minutes.


Each of our Leadership at the Movies lesson plans includes the following activities:

✅ Reflection: allows students to journal about one of the movie’s themes prior to watching.

✅ Analysis: questions and prompts to analyze the characters, plot, and climax of the movie.

✅ Practice & Discussion: a partner/group activity that takes the principles of the movie and asks students to take action and grow in their own lives.

✅ Extension: a RAFT (Role-Audience-Format-Topic) writing prompt to help students apply their new knowledge.

✅ Lead for Impact: challenges students to pinpoint how the hero of the story exhibited The 12 Fundamentals of Impact and then synthesize how they can apply the lessons to writing their own story.


WARNING: This is a DEEP LEARNING lesson plan to help students employ a LEADERSHIP approach to SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL LEARNING.

These activities are designed to help students meet the following Social & Emotional Learning Competencies as outlined by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):

⭐ Develop SELF-AWARENESS and SELF-MANAGEMENT skills to achieve school and life success.

⭐ Use SOCIAL-AWARENESS and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS.

⭐ Demonstrate DECISION-MAKING skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts.


The activities in Selma Movie Lesson Plan will challenge students to move closer to mastery in the following skills: leadership, cooperation with others, creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, problem solving, and judgment and decision making.

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Leadership at the Movies Bundle

With school-wide access to lesson plans and teaching resources for over 75 movies, you can help your students strive to reach their full potential!