Here are teaching ideas paired with free teaching resources for teachers and homeschoolers about what to teach with film in May!

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May Teaching Highlights

Mental Health Awareness Month

May 5 – 12 is also Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. We recommend these powerful lesson plans and experiential activities to support mental health and wellness all month long: Teach about Mental Health Awareness with Film for grades 4-12.

Holocaust Remembrance Day / Yom Hashoah May 6, 2024

May 8 is also Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives During the Second World War. Educate your students about the Holocaust with  our guides for Big SoniaDefiant 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.) Learn more about our Holocaust Education resources.

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
May 17

May 22 is also Harvey Milk Day. These are great days to teach with Finding Pride from the It Gets Better Project.

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More May Monthly Teaching Events

Better Hearing and Speech Month is a great time to teach about aphasia with Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down and mutism with The Way Home.

For Jewish Heritage Month, we recommend films about two of our favorite Jewish-Americans: Big Sonia, about Holocaust survivor / Holocaust educator Sonia Warshawski; and  Genius (Season One), about Albert Einstein! We also have lessons to introduce students to Jewish belief and traditions in The Story of God.

Celebrate bikes for National Bike Month, National Ride a Bike Day on May 5 and National Walk Bike and Roll to School Day on May 8 with our films about the power of bicycles: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind and Wadjda. Learn more: Films that Celebrate the Power of Bicycles.

May 5-11 is Be Kind to Animals Week! Celebrate animals with JANE, about Dr. Jane Goodall’s lifelong work with chimpanzees.

May 6-12 is National Nurses Week and May 12-18 is National Women’s Health Week.  Teach about the importance of nurses in the public health system, and the invisible work of public health in promoting health and longevity with The Invisible Shield. It’s a great tool for getting students excited about public health careers.

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May Special Teaching Days

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. Teach powerful lessons about freedom of the press and media responsibility with our lesson plans for Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, Navalny and The Post. Get more resources in our article at Share My Lesson: Freedom of the Press in a Changing Media Landscape.

May 5 is Cinco de Mayo. Teach in Spanish with our Spanish-language teaching guides for Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, River of Gold, and The Love Bugs.

Looking for Portuguese-language teaching resources for Portuguese Language Day on May 5? Our River of Gold curriculum guide is also available in Portuguese!

May 12 is International Nurses Day! Celebrate nurses as the healthcare heroes they are with The Invisible Shield

International Day of Families on May 15 is a wonderful day to teach with films that explore the rich diversity of global families and family ties. We recommend coming of age dramas Children of Heaven, The Way Home, Wadjda, and Whale Rider. There is also a powerful section for discussing family traditions in our Greener Pastures Discussion Guide.

Albert Einstein’s work at the beginning of the 20th century changed the way we think about time and light. For International Day of Light  on May 16, introduce students to Einstein’s life and work with National Geographic’s Genius.

May 17 is the 70th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education, the landmarks U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1954 which ruled that U.S. state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional. Teach about this milestone in Black History with our Hidden Figures lesson on Segregation and Civil Rights History.  You may also find our collection of Black History Lessons helpful.

May 21 is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The Music of Strangers: YoYo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble is a great global education teaching tool to engage students about cultural diversity and cultural preservation. Unzipped also presents a great opportunity for discussing the power and importance of diverse communities.

May 21 is World Meditation Day. May 23 is also Vesak, the Buddhist celebration of the birth of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Introduce your students to Buddhism and meditation with The Cup, The Dhamma Brothers, and The Story of God.

May 22 is International Day for Biological Diversity. For high school students, teach about the biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest with River of Gold. For elementary school students, explore nature with our Celebration of Nature collection for Grades 3-7.

May 26 is the Centennial of the enactment of the U.S. Immigration Act of 1924. Teach about immigrants and refugees with He Named Me Malala, The Neighborhood Storyteller, The Cup, and The Music of Strangers.

Collage of film posters for Big Sonia, He Named Me Malala, Wadjda and The Cup. Text says: "What to Teach in May."