Jackie Robinson Day is coming up on April 15th. This day commemorates Robinson’s major league debut back in 1947. All Major League Baseball players will wear Jackie’s number (42) that day to honor the man who broke baseball’s color line. This is a great time to introduce students to this American hero. Try some of these activities using media and literature to help students think critically about equity, equal rights and heroism.

1. Encourage students to compare two clips of Jackie Robinson stealing home.

  • How does the audio of each clip create a specific tone or mood?
  • What does the music or lack of music do to the message?
  • How is the historical context shown through the clips?


2. Show students the trailer from 42.

  • Why did the director choose these particular scenes in the trailer? What is the big idea the director is conveying?
  • Have students pull a few strong quotes from the clip and document them in a chart (see below). Encourage students to share what the quote means to them (the I Say) and to create possible consequences and predictions from the quote (the And So).

Jackie Robinson Chart

3. Study author’s point of view by looking at two different timelines of Jackie Robinson’s life.

  • Promises to KeepUsing the timeline in Promises to Keep Teacher Resources Button (Grades 3-8, Level W, Lexile 1030) by Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter, compare the significant events in Jackie’s life from her point of view to the timeline on the LA Dodgers Website.
  • How does perspective determine the key events portrayed in each timeline?
LA Dodgers Website

Timeline from L.A. Dodgers Website

 Booksource Recommendations

Teammates by Peter GolenbockGrades K-3, Level S, Lexile 930

Stealing Home: The Story of Jackie Robinson by Barry DenenbergGrades 5-8, Level V, Lexile 930

Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values To Live ByGrades 5-8, Level X, Lexile 1040