Introduction

As February comes to a close, educators may be contemplating how to approach teaching their students about Women’s History Month. This month is a celebration of women’s contributions to society, and this year’s theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote,” celebrating those who fought for women’s voting rights in the United States. Learning about women’s history is important for both young men and women as the fight for gender equality continues around the world.

Resources

There are many resources available online for teaching students about Women’s History Month and its significance. This topic is not as difficult to teach as one may think and if taught effectively, students will leave the classroom much more informed on not only women’s history, but the struggles that women continue to face today. 

Lesson Plans

 

  1. Women’s History Month for the Classroom: The National Education Association provides resources about Women’s History Month for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12, including lessons and activities, background resources, quizzes and printables, for all grade levels previously mentioned. There are dozens of resources appropriate for classroom use, and each focuses on a different, specific topic regarding Women’s History Month, such as women’s equality, women’s contributions during World War II, and the contributions of Georgia O’Keefe and other famous figures. This website contains all the resources one would need to get a jumpstart on teaching about women’s history in the classroom.
  2. Women’s History Month: A Collection of Teaching Resources: Scholastic offers “lesson plans and online activities that honor women who made a difference” for all grade levels. The resources are broken up into five categories: Founding Women’s History Month, Historic Events and Movements, Interactive Histories of Pioneering Women, Classroom Activities and Projects, and Book Resources. For educators who are looking for their middle-school students to explore useful websites and find information in these that interests them, the computer lab activities may be very appealing! There are many other creative approaches given to students’ learning about women’s history, including blog posts and interactive whiteboard activities.
  3. Women’s History Month: teacherplanet provides resources, activities, coloring pages, lesson plans, worksheets, printables, and clipart to help educators teach their students about Women’s History Month. From voting rights for women to  Eleanor Roosevelt and the rise of social reform in the 1930s, a wide array of topics are covered. Though some of these resources are geared towards older students, there is a word search and activity book provided in addition to multiple coloring pages, which are all meant for students of a younger age.
  4. Women’s History Month Lesson Plans and Activities: educationworld has put together various lesson plans and additional resources for classroom use. Directions are provided for the creation of a bulletin board of inspiring quotes made by famous women, a Women’s History WebQuest, and other fun activities. 

Articles

  1. Teaching and Learning About Women’s History With The New York Times: This article offers a handful of different ideas for helping students understand the significance of Women’s History Month. Taking a more current approach to women’s history, this article discusses (and provides resources for) encouraging students to read articles about specific topics in women’s history they are interested in, helping students understand the true meaning of feminism and its future, teaching students about the #MeToo Movement and sexual harassment, and more. Information is even included about women who were overlooked in history and those who should be celebrated today. This New York Times piece is a great place to gather a few ideas and decide which route you want to take when teaching about this month dedicated to women’s history!
  2. Women’s History Month: 6 Lesson Plan Resources for Teachers: This write-up, from edutopia, provides six various lesson plans on Women’s History Month, a few different resources for discussing gender roles and stereotypes in the classroom, and reading lists for students to learn additional information. Regarding gender roles and stereotypes, there are multiple resources about thinking outside the box, gender empowerment, Women’s History Month, and gender expression. For teachers who want to dive into both women’s history and issues, including gender roles and stereotypes, that are still present in today’s society. 
  3. Marching Into Women’s History Month: This article from Teaching Tolerance focuses on the theme of why Women’s History Month still matters today. Giving a personal account of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in 2017, Colleen Clemens writes about why this march should have a place in the discussion about Women’s History Month. For educators who want their students to learn about the march and modern-day feminism, this resource will be helpful.  

Informational Sites

  1. For Teachers – Women’s History Month: Womenshistorymonth.gov offers a multitude of activities for the classroom under the categories of the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, and the Smithsonian Institution. There are many valuable lesson plans and important information here for use!
  2. History.com – Women’s History Month: History.com provides a brief write-up on the origins of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. This page would be a good one to have students read for brief background information on the subject before jumping into a lesson!
  3.  50 Fascinating Facts for Women’s History Month: This is a quick list of 50 interesting facts for Women’s History Month, providing information “about women’s history that will showcase some standouts, accomplishments, impacts and just how far they have come.” Having students read through a few of these and picking which fact surprised or interested them the most might be a fun activity!

Conclusion

Teaching students about Women’s History Month and doing it justice are very important jobs for an educator. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and as we continue to move through the 21st century, learning about the impact of women in history is key in the fight for gender equality. If students are given the opportunity to learn how essential women have been in shaping American history, they are more likely to understand the importance of women to our future. 

Additional Resources

  1. 14 of Our Favorite Women’s History Month Activities: This article gives educators 14 different ideas for celebrating and teaching about Women’s History Month, such as making an astronaut helmet to celebrate Sally Ride, solving a history mystery using an online interactive game, and sending students on a virtual scavenger hunt. Resources are provided!
  2. Activities to Celebrate Women’s History Month: Waterford.org provides 7 different activities for educators to use in the classroom to celebrate Women’s History Month. Some of these activities include a lesson plan on Rosa Parks, an interview with an important woman in a student’s life, and watching an inspiring speech Emma Watson gave at the HeFOrShe Campaign in 2014 on gender equality.
  3. This Is How March Became Women’s History Month: This article discusses how Women’s History Month, which actually started out as only a single day, came to be. For educators who want their students to learn the specifics in a concise way about the establishment of Women’s History Month, this article will not disappoint!
  4. PBS – Women’s History Month: PBS offers a curriculum which utilizes films and supporting materials to teach students about Women’s History Month through telling stories of women around the world. According to PBS, “The films tell powerful, personal stories; and the activities encourage students to learn and understand international struggles and take an active role in addressing local concerns.”