Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Woman a Week - Weeks 1, 2 & 3

Inspired by a tweet I read last week regarding the teaching of women's history, I decided one small change I could make in my classroom is to profile one influential  woman a week. Every week, I will create a simple poster to display in my classroom door window. I'll include a few facts, a quote and an image. I plan to incorporate my "woman of the week" into my classroom lessons and activities (I'm still brainstorming creative strategies to do this!).

My first "woman of the week" is my favorite woman in history - Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #notoriousrbg

Week #2

Week #3

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March is Women's History Month

Every year I design a Women's History Month bulletin board for the bulletin board in the hall right outside my classroom. I wanted to encourage more students to interact with the bulletin board this year so I asked some of my teacher friends on Instagram for ideas. I knew I wanted to implement a school-wide contest, I just wasn't sure what to offer as a prize. Someone suggested a gift card to a movie theater or bookstore. Great idea! So, one night after school I went to our local bookstore and bought a gift card. The very next day, I had a winner! A student (not even one of my own) correctly identified all the women profiled in my Women's History Month bulletin board.

This weekend, after reading a thread on twitter shared by the Zinn Education Project regarding one teacher's attempt to infuse women's history into the curriculum, I started to think more deeply about my bulletin board and other techniques and resources I use with students in my attempt to infuse women's history into the curriculum. I came to the harsh conclusion that I need to do a much better job. My bulletin board contest only sparked minimal interest (and only from young women) and another activity I recently implemented in my Social Studies class "flopped." The activity "flopped" in part due to an abysmal lack of prior knowledge regarding women's history for my students to draw upon. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Every year at the beginning of the year, as an experiment I ask my students to brainstorm as many historical figures as they can in 2 minutes. Their lists are often lengthy (and usually include mostly white men). I do the same thing for women and people of color. These lists are short, sometimes shockingly so. I've had students who can not list a single Asian-American, Latino, or Native American figure in history. Student lists of women usually  include Rosa Parks, Sacajawea, and maybe a couple First Ladies.

What does this mean? For me, it means I need to make Women's History a priority. My bulletin board and other activities I currently use are great, but not enough. Inspired by the thread I read this weekend on twitter, I'm making it my personal mission to infuse prominent women into my curriculum every day for the remainder of the year.