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How Teachers Celebrate Women’s History Month
March in the United States is honored as National Women’s History Month. Classrooms across the country celebrated women’s achievements during the last two centuries.
From famous female athletes such as Wilma Rudolph to civil-rights activist Rosa Parks and suffragist Susan B. Anthony, to the women portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures about NASA mathematicians, hundreds of women have broken barriers and paved the way for the rights and opportunities available to women today.
We asked teachers who are currently enrolled in an AC course how they incorporated Women’s History Month into their curriculum, and we were excited to receive a variety of responses. Since Women’s History Month covers all fields of study and all ages, here’s a few of the responses we received across the educational spectrum on how Women’s History Month was discussed in the classroom.
Jason H. | Physical Education Teacher and Girls’ Basketball Coach
“I have been teaching physical education for 17 years now. I am also the head girls’ basketball coach at my high school. Since I came to high school four years ago and began coaching young ladies, I have been more conscious of special opportunities to learn new things.
“Women’s History Month is very important for me to talk about to my students and players. There are not any particular books we read, but what we encourage is for my players to find or research someone that is maybe of particular importance to them, related to sports. We focus on those who have paved the way for them to have the opportunities to play sports. We talk about where women’s sports were 25 years ago to where it is today. How much of a gap there still is to be able to be equal to that of men’s sports.
“One of the main issues that we have in celebrating this month in our classroom or on our team is that there is no real collective effort to make this a part of the curriculum in all of our schools. It loses its value with the kids, much like Black History Month, because it is seen as something that can only be celebrated for 30 days. We try to emphasize the fact that while it has a month to be talked about, women are a very important part of our society every day, of every month, of every year. The successes that we have with these activities are that we get to learn about people that we did not know played a major part in what we do today.”
Victoria M. | K-8 English/Language Arts Teacher
“Our students read and listen to a variety of books during the school year and the month, as well, related to women in history. To celebrate Women’s History Month during the school year, our school will have the students do a number of activities depending on the grade level, including:
- Research a woman who has contributed to history in a particular field for class: science, history, technology, etc.
- Give an oral presentation about a woman who has contributed to history
- Read during daily announcements in March about a woman who has contributed to history
- Prepare a daily or weekly newsletter about women who have contributed to history
- Make trading cards featuring women who have contributed to history
- Present a National Women’s Day History Program for an assembly
There are a number of books that our students read or listen to online: Catching the Moon, Harriet Tubman, Hillary Clinton, Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, Sally Ride, The House that Jane Built, to name a few. There really has not been any difficulties incorporating the month of celebration into the classroom. The challenge is having the funds to purchase classroom sets of books so that we can continue to celebrate all the accomplishments of so many unsung heroes.”
Nolan S. | 10th Grade Biology Teacher
“At my high school, the National Honor Society members put together posters identifying important females in history. These posters are displayed throughout the school to spread awareness of National Women’s History Month. These students also choose relevant books to put on display as you enter the high school library. Attached to the book stand is a sign with the text, ‘March is National Women’s History Month.’”
Jill L. | 5th Grade English/Language Arts Teacher
“Sadly, March is testing month for us so we can only briefly – through read-aloud and open discussion – explore Women’s History Month. But for Women’s History Month, and through our curriculum, we focused on Harriet Tubman and how she overcame obstacles to help others. Through her determination and perseverance, she was able to save countless lives.
“Additionally, we read about Wilma Rudolf, the Olympian who had double pneumonia and scarlet fever as a child. She also had polio that left her unable to walk. Yet, later in life, she won three Olympic gold medals in track and field. She showed that never giving up pays off.
“Since our social studies curriculum touches on World War II, I read parts of Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II. … The book explores and explains how women came to be the main contributors to the work force during World War II. The discussions were rich with connections and stories from the students. Students learned how this time in history paved the way for women’s rights in the work force.”
Learn More About Incorporating Women’s History Month in the Classroom
No matter what subject you teach, you can incorporate historical or current events into your curriculum and classroom. With Women’s History Month taking place in March, there’s no better time to take “A History of American Women’s Rights: From Susan B. Anthony to the President” from Advancement Courses.