Women’s History, just like Black History, should be taught throughout the year in schools. That being said having a month dedicated to the observance of Women’s History gives us teachers a chance to highlight it in our discussions, reading, and lessons.
My Take on Women’s History as a Student
As a student, I thought it was ridiculous to spend time on women’s history. As a woman, I knew there were inequalities that still existed between men and women, but I did not think they were that big. I didn’t think the study of Women’s History was really worth my time.
I’m sure that many students feel this way. Which is one of the factors that will stop changes from progressing.
In school, I did enjoy some aspects of studying women. I loved writing a book report on Jane Goodall and Clara Barton. Those stuck with me. They were meaningful learning about women who inspired me, deserved my attention, and got it.
Bringing Women’s History into the Modern Classroom
How can we as educators, bring women’s history to the forefront of our classrooms for the month in a meaningful way?
That’s a hard question. We need to give students access to information about a woman who will inspire them. It will be a little different for every student, just like everything else.
I have come to love expository writing over the course of my career. When students are actively reading for needed and required information to write a presentation then they will be more invested in their learning. They will often discuss the new information they’ve learned with a classmate or come find me to share and talk about it.
Over the decades, women have made a massive impact in just about every career. They have broken barriers fighting their way to earn a spot at the table.Kirsten- The Problem Solving Teacher
6 ways we can approach Women’s History research to help students buy-in
Over the decades, women have made a massive impact in just about every career. They have broken barriers fighting their way to earn a spot at the table. If a student is not interested in learning Women’s History then it can be approached from the perspective of learning how a woman impacted her career field. Is the student interested in science, computers, or nature? We can match them to that person who will help them connect with Women’s History.
I love an underdog story. I think most people do. The story of someone who wouldn’t give up on their dreams and goals is inspirational. Women’s History is full of them. We can help students see how incredible the history of Women’s Rights is as women persevered over generations. Or we can show them the life of just one woman who preserved against the odds to change the world.
I love timeline projects because they can be class projects and individual projects at the same time. In this case, students can each take an event or year and deep dive into Women’s Rights. I find that this is a less intimidating approach than studying the entire timeline on their own.
It also helps them to focus on it when we take these events out of history. Women’s Rights and Women’s History are often presented right along with everything else. It’s hard to see the impact and change women made when it’s mashed together with events like the Civil War.
When students come back together to present their part of the project they can see how big and hard the journey towards Women’s Rights was. It opens the conversation about how women still don’t have equality in our country and what can be done in the future.
If this sounds like the perfect project for your room you can check out my fully prepped and easy-to-assign timeline lesson.
Students sometimes get stuck and resistant to research because things seem too old. We can have them study modern women to see that Women’s History did not end with the 19th Amendment. It’s still an issue now. There are so many modern women still fighting for change. Kamilla Harris is just one.
- History Lovers and Partner Work
I have had many students who are history junkies. They love to learn as much as possible about history. Let’s foster and encourage them to study women who impacted the world. Let’s have partner projects so their passion can rub off on a classmate. Let’s encourage conversations about history. It’s easy to do when you have partner projects.
There is nothing wrong with an old fashion history biography either. I like to make these choice board presentations to increase engagement. It does not need to be an old fashion book report or paper. They have options on how they will share everything they learned with the class. I also think if we’re are pointing them to topics of study that are truly engaging and inspirational they will buy-in and learn more.
If students research someone truly inspiring and respectable then they will be engaged in their learning and it will help change continue for generations to come.
If you want an easy way to get started in your classroom check out these Women’s History Lessons:
Women’s History Biography Research Project
Womens Rights; Suffrage Timeline – A Class Project
Women’s History Biography Timelines
Take a look at my post about the importance of discussing black history in the classroom. Social Justice: The Importance of Discussing Black History in the Classroom