Here are guides and other suggestions for educators, homeschooling individuals, community groups, and others for what to teach in January! 

Banner image featuring the following movie posters: Queen of Katwe, Summer of Soul, He Named Me Malala, Big Sonia, The Music of Strangers

January Teaching Highlights

January is National Mentoring Month. Queen of Katwe is the perfect film to inspire a new generation of mentors.

January 15-19, 2024 is GLSEN No Name-Calling Week. Like Stars on Earth is a powerful film to start conversations about bullying.

January 1 is the anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and January 15 is Martin Luther King Day. They make January a great month to share films about the civil rights movement and the struggle for racial equity: Hidden Figures, Just Mercy, and Summer of Soul. Plus check out our Black History Lesson collection.

January 8: On This Day in 2011, Arizona Senator Gabriel Giffords was shot but survived the attempt on her life. Teach her incredible story of resilience, recovery and hope with Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.

January 24 is International Education Day. Celebrate with films about educators + education: He Named Me Malala, Like Stars on Earth, Please Vote for Me, and Queen of Katwe

January 27 is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Educate your students about the Holocaust with these resources, including our guides for Big Sonia, Defiant Requiem, and Schindler’s List; the cultural preservation lesson in The Music of Strangers, and our standalone lesson on Antisemitism Today (available from Share My Lesson and from our Schindler’s List page.) 

Film strip style image with, from left: Journeys in Film logo, Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down movie poster, Rebel Hearts movie poster, He Named Me Malala movie poster, Like Stars on Earth movie poster, Summer of Soul movie poster

More January Teaching Ideas 

January 5 is National Bird Day. Discover the fauna of the Amazon with River of Gold

January 6 is National Technology Day. Celebrate with two of our favorite STEM-themed films: Hidden Figures and The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.

January 16 is National Religious Freedom Day. Explore films from our religions literacy collection spanning religions from across the globe including: The Story of God, Big Sonia, Children of Heaven, Defiant Requiem, Like Stars on Earth, Rebel Hearts, Schindler’s List, The Cup, The Dhamma Brothers, The Way Home, Wadjda and Whale Rider

 We also recommend this article from Religion Matters: Exploring World Religions Through Art: Hands-on Activities for Students of All Ages.

January 19 is National Popcorn Day, a great day to bring film into your classroom!

January 22-26, 2024 is National Gun Violence Survivors Week. Hold productive conversations about gun violence with Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down + our Facilitation Guidelines for Group Discussions.

January 24 is World Day for African and Afrodescendant Culture. Celebrate with global films about Black Excellence, like Chevalier, Queen of Katwe, Summer of Soul, and The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind. Our Black History Lesson collection also includes lesson on US Black History and Global Black History.

Jan 26 is International Day of Clean Energy. Check out the section on Energy Alternatives in our From the Ashes Discussion Guide. Pair it with Youth v Gov!

January 29 is Canadian National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia. We warmly recommend our article Countering Islamophobia Through Film at Religion Matters Blog to teach about Islamophobia on this date and all year round. 

January 31 is National Inspire Your Heart With Art Dayy. Many of our teaching guides include hands-on art activities to inspire and engage your students. Some of our favorites include Please Vote For Me: Chinese Papercuts, Rebel Hearts: Corita Kent’s Pop Art, The Cup: The Art of the MandalaThe Love Bugs: Make a Bug Kite (great for grades 3-5!), and The Way Home: Korean Fighter Shield Kites.


Big Sonia, Summer of Soul, Rebel Hearts, Queen of Katwe