March is Women’s History Month and presents a terrific opportunity to teach your kids more about the impact women have had on history. Today we’re highlighting a few women you might consider teaching about this year, along with a variety of online resources you can use to build educational lessons in women’s history.
Women’s History Month began in the US as a weeklong celebration in 1978 California driven by the Education Task Force in Sonoma County. Two years later, President Carter made Women’s History Week officially the week of March 8th.
It would be another seven years of growing celebrations in March before the National Women’s History Project would successfully petition Congress to make March Women’s History Month. During that same era, the United Nations recognized March 8th as International Women’s Day. This singular day was meant to bring focus to women’s issues around the world. As of 2014, over 100 countries around the world recognize March 8th as International Women’s Day, celebrating women’s achievements and taking action against inequality.
Teaching Women’s History
The first step in teaching your kids about Women’s History Month is to gather your own resources. There is a lot of history you could cover, but fortunately, there are also a variety of organizations that offer overviews and targeted details.
One resource, Womenshistory.org, provides historic information, biographies, and online galleries to supplement learning. Their resources page also includes a Toolkit for helping you kick-off Women’s History Month with learning activities for each day of the month.
This year’s theme is an extension of last year’s; Valiant Women of the Vote. Women’s History Month is focused on honoring the centennial of the Women’s Suffrage movement that brought voting rights to women in America. The National Women’s History Alliance hosts a great page specifically about this year’s theme. It includes details about centennial observances and a catalog of items you can purchase to help support the NWHA’s mission of advancing women’s rights and roles in society.
And when it comes to teaching a subject, the best resource is almost always teachers. The government’s Women’s History page features a long list of resources for teachers.
The sources above are likely enough to fill your month with historical stories of women subtly or substantially enacting change. But there are so many more!
In fact, as Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day are observed annually, the stock of teaching resources continues to grow. While women have an impact in the direction of modern history on a daily basis, we can all take the month of March to step back and learn a little (or a little more) about the history that has brought us to this place.
Read. Write. Think.
A part of the International Literacy Association, Read Write Think is a terrific resource for all kinds of learning. Their page dedicated to Women’s History Month includes plenty of classroom activities, more links to sites loaded with resources, and even some great grade-specific assignments.
Particularly if you’re teaching from home, the lesson plans on this page can be really helpful. The work of putting together a teaching plan is done for you, and all you need to do is help your kids absorb the information.
Ladies Of Lulu: Books For Women’s History Month
Meet amazing women authors we’re highlighting for Women’s History Month
If you’re more interested in developing your own lesson plan, Lakeshore Learning’s free resources page is for you. Download calendars, lesson planners, flashcard templates, and more all for free.
You can use these free templates to help craft your own teaching plan for Women’s History Month. This is the perfect way to structure a lesson around a specific individual or even that might resonate with you but doesn’t already have a place in existing teaching resources.
This one is a bit commercial, as it comes from history.com. But if you don’t mind blocking a few pop-ups, their timeline is loaded with important dates and figures for Women’s History Month. This timeline makes a good jumping-off point for learning more about historical events and figures.
President’s Report – Women In America
While this report is a few years old now (published originally in 2011), it’s an amazing look at data gathered by the US government about women and their role in America. While the report is a little dense for younger learners, using this report as a study guide or reading material for older students is a great idea.
Women’s History Beyond March
Finally, it’s important that we all acknowledge and honor the women who make the world a better place every day. March is a terrific opportunity to study and learn more, but that learning has to continue.
The most valuable thing to instill in your students as you work through Women’s History Month is that national days and months are designed to call attention. But it’s on each of us to maintain that attention all year long.