We’re only at the halfway point in March, so with two weeks left to go it’s not too late to observe Women’s History Month if you haven’t already. Discuss an article, assign mini reports, or include any of the unofficial anthems for International Women’s Day. There are plenty of playlists online showcasing “songs empowering women.” Do a Google search and take your pick. A song like Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” could have meaning to both men and women alike.
Here are other possibilities:
- A copy of President Ronald Reagan’s 1987 proclamation is online. Have students decide what tone sounds best as they read his words aloud: “Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 1987 as Women’s History Month.” Also work on thought groups, stress, and linking. Alternatively, short excerpts could be assigned and practiced, and then students could present the entire speech in class by reading their parts aloud in proper order. Finally, there are easily a dozen academic words that could be omitted if you wish to create a fill-in-the-blank exercise.
- Read women’s biographies using graded texts on ReadWorks.org. I have two current students reading about Elizabeth Blackwell. The site has a 2nd grade and 5th grade text about the first American woman doctor. The 5th grade text offers the site’s “StepReads” feature, so you also have the choice of giving students access to two simplified versions (one being even less complex than the other). Other biographies include the stories of Sacagawea (7th grade) and Sally Ride (2nd grade).
- If you have advanced students, you can consider assigning full-length, unadapted texts. I have another private student reading two different bios of Elizabeth Blackwell. The first one on Encyclopedia of World Biography covers Blackwell’s early life. The second one on PBS.org focuses on her experience as a medical student and her career.
- If you don’t have time to work in a new assignment, how about using a quote as a warm up? Check out these inspiring words by Elizabeth Blackwell. Put the quote up on the board and give three possible sources: Elizabeth Blackwell (first U.S. woman doctor), Lady Gaga (music artist), Valentina Tereshkova (first woman in space). Let students voice guesses about whose words they are. Give the answer, and then have students work in pairs to come up with a paraphrase. Alternatively, you can play a matching game with three selected quotes from famous women. Check out the 35 quotes shared on Bazaar. (Note some contain profanity.)
- Pictures capture history in a very special way. Visit the National Archives and search for a photo or two. Students can voice or write guesses about what a photo illustrates. Consider showing a photo of a suffragette parade, for example. Give no explanation at first. In pairs or small groups, students can answer a short set of questions: When do you think this photo was taken? Who is in it? What do you think is happening? After giving the answers, you can lead a short discussion on why this event was an important part of history.
- Students interested in more current figures can visit the National Women’s History Project and read the list of 2018 Honorees.Got another idea? Please share!
Photo credit: Girls, Women, Happy, Sexy, Sunset by FlashBuddy. Retrieved from the Public Domain at https://pixabay.com/en/girls-women-happy-sexy-sunset-407685/.