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Home » The Best Women’s History Month Resources to Inspire Students

The Best Women’s History Month Resources to Inspire Students

Children’s Books, student projects, teaching resources and teaching ideas to celebrate Women’s History Month!

But first, have you ever heard this riddle?

There was a terrible car accident involving a father and his son. Unfortunately, the father died in the accident, but they rushed the son to the hospital to receive life-saving help from a surgeon. When the surgeon is about to make the incision, the surgeon says, “I can not operate on this boy because he is my son!” Explain how it’s possible.

I heard this riddle back in the late 70s while in high school. Back then, no one ever solved it or explained it. Why? We had ingrained stereotypes!

If you don’t know the answer to this riddle, the surgeon was his mother! Back then, almost all surgeons were male. Thank you, Marcus Welby, M.D.! Fifty years ago we only envisioned men could be surgeons. It disheartens us. And worse, women could only be envisioned as mothers, housewives or cafeteria lunch ladies.

Resources to Inspire Students during Women's History Month

The 2020 theme for Women’s History Month is “Valiant Women of the Vote.” So I’ve come up with a list of exciting teaching resources, lesson ideas, books and ideas for projects to get your class started on this historical journey.

BONUS: Download 7 Posters for combating gender stereotypes plus bonus teaching suggestions!

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But First, Let’s Talk Gender Stereotypes

Now, ask yourself, would your students have guessed the doctor was a woman?

Even now, with many more female doctors, a recent study suggests students continue to be stumped with this riddle. This means gender bias is still a huge concern in our society. So as a part of celebrating Women’s History Month, address those gender stereotypes head-on!

Addressing Persistent Gender Stereotypes during Women's History Month

Recall all the stereotypes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endured during the campaign in 2016! Do we want to continue to engrain those stereotypes?

Still not convinced? Watch this video of school children in the UK. TL:DW; most gender stereotypes are learned by ages 5 to 7.

But don’t despair. The next section has lessons you can use to address gender stereotypes.

How to Break the Stereotypes

Even though we’ve been celebrating Women’s History Month since 1987, stereotypes pertaining to women still persist. Can little girls, adolescent girls, teenage girls, and women see themselves in roles once occupied or associated with males? They can if we teach them (and the boys, too!) to understand stereotypes and how they limit a person’s potential.

Girl pretending to be a doctor when she grows up as part of celebrating Women's History Month

But first, what is a stereotype? A stereotype is a positive or negative generalization applied to all members of a group.

  • women aren’t as strong as men so they can’t . . .
  • since they aren’t good at math, women shouldn’t . . .
  • women aren’t as ambitious as men so . . .
  • since women are more sensitive they should . . .
  • women aren’t leaders so they can’t . . .

You fill in the blanks! So the first step is to combat stereotypes. Here’s a video to explain why stereotypes are harmful.

BONUS: Download 7 Posters for combating gender stereotypes plus bonus teaching suggestions!

Just keep on reading and sign up below for my newsletter and get this FREEBIE now!

Ready to burst those stereotypes?

First, start your celebration of Women’s History Month by breaking those stereotypes about women! In this section, you’ll find links to specific lessons to combat gender stereotypes. For example, start with this excellent resource by Education World on how to “burst those stereotypes.” Use the resource in grades 2 – 12.

The Humans Rights Campaign Foundation has some specific lessons for elementary students. It’s part of their Welcoming Schools site.

Combat Stereotypes with Grade Level Lessons

For instance, up first is a lesson from Welcoming Schools is for grades K -2. It’s about a 35-minute lesson incorporating children’s literature. According to the lesson plan,

This activity provides an age-appropriate way to talk about the serious issues of gender stereotypes, gender-based discrimination and the limitations that traditional gender roles and expectations place on individuals.

Get the PDF from HERE from Welcoming Schools.

Examine gender roles during Women's History Month

Another lesson is for grades 3 – 5 and takes about one hour. According to the lesson plan,

Students will have an opportunity to identify and discuss stereotypical binary gender roles for people. Young people receive formal and informal messages about gender from a multitude of sources—their families, their peers, their communities and the media.

Get the PDF from HERE from Welcoming Schools.

Learn about the women pilots of World War II during Women's History Month

Finally, we want to offer our students a diverse group of role models, both women, and men. Here’s a lesson plan with a comprehensive list of biographies of diverse individuals.

Some are well known such as Rosa Parks or Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss.) Others are not, such as Effa Manley, the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame because of her role as owner and business manager of the Newark Eagles in the Negro National League.

Get the PDF from HERE from Welcoming Schools.

Resources to Celebrate Women’s History Month

The following links go to some excellent and helpful educational resources to celebrate Women’s History Month.

The federal government through the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institute, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have put together a central repository of all their resources for Women’s History Month.

Be sure to check out their teacher resources!

Learn about Suffragettes during Women's History Month

Additionally, the online Women’s History Museum is a resource of plentiful ideas which according to their mission “is to tell the stories of women who transformed our nation. We will do that through a growing state-of-the-art online presence and a future physical museum to educate, inspire, empower, shape the future, and provide a complete view of American history.

Be sure to check out their FREE downloadable posters to celebrate Women’s History Month!

The National Education Association also has lessons, activities, background reading, and more for teachers. Lessons are linked by grade levels K – 5, 6 – 8, and 9 – 12.

Added Bonus for California Teachers!

Here’s a wonderful way to connect California students to the suffrage movement. According to the website “The CA 2020 Women’s Suffrage Project supports the 2020 Suffrage Centennial education projects and Centennial celebrations throughout the state of California in 2020.”

Here’s how to Celebrate Women’s History Month with Children’s Books

My preferred mode of teaching is to integrate science and social studies into the Language Arts units. This is a wonderful way to then incorporate amazing children’s literature for interactive read alouds.

Some suggested children's books to use during Women's History Month

For example, in a past post about women in history, I explained how I used children’s literature to teach about, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Bloomer, Bessie Keith Pond, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the women of the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League!

The following is one of the titles I used. It’s a collection of short non-fiction passages about some of the coolest women ever!

Learn about cool women during Women's History Month

Veteran Teachers Share More Ideas for Celebrating Women’s History Month

In addition, my friend over at Teaching Ideas for Those Who Love Teaching has an informative post with additional ideas on celebrating Women’s History Month. One great idea is to celebrate family members! Allow students to interview their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, etc. Find out more on her blog by clicking below.

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Another friend over at Elementary Matters has an important post on why teachers should be role models for diversity. Also, some links to books about diverse people, including women.

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Finally, my friend over at Enjoy Teaching has great ideas to empower girls in the classroom. From career choice to learning about role models, let’s empower this generation to break through the glass ceiling!

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Biography Resources for Women’s History Month

Meanwhile, over the past few years, I’ve developed some biography resources for students to research a diverse group of historical individuals, including women.

Use the biographies of women to combat those stereotypes! Many women have impacted history in unique and important ways.

In my Biography Templates for Famous People in American History, the following women are part of the 26 templates

Pocahontas, Abigail Adams, Betsy Ross, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, Macy McLeod Bethune, Amelia Earhart, Sacagewea and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Students used the supplied QR codes to research and write a mini-biography using the template.

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Click on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and see the entire resource in the preview. The description has a list of everything included! These mini-bios are great for Open House projects!

Help Pass the Equal Rights Amendment!

Women must feel like Wile E. Coyote with the steam coming out of their ears! Nine more votes are all it’s going to take. Then those champagne corks can pop! As of this writing, nine more United States Senators are needed to support lifting the deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment. Then, this will be the BEST Women’s History Month E-V-E-R!

President Carter signs an extension for the ERA ratification in 1978
President Jimmy Carter signs an extension for the ERA ratification in 1978.

The House of Representatives has voted to remove the deadline for the ERA. It now sits in the Senate. We need to let our Senators know they must vote to remove the deadline so the ERA becomes the law of the land! You can find more info on this ERA site.

Or should we settle for the status quo for another 10, or 100 or 1,000 years more of limiting women because of gender stereotypes?

What are some of your ideas for teaching Women’s History Month? Share them in the comments below!


Don’t Go Yet!

BONUS: Download 7 Posters for combating gender stereotypes plus bonus teaching suggestions!

Sign up below for my newsletter and get this FREEBIE now! The 7 posters show a woman in a non-typical role such as CEO or airline pilot. I’ve included a page of teaching suggestions for use with the posters!

The Best Women\'s History Month Resources to Inspire Students
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Two Boys and a Dad

Hi, I’m Claudio, the dad from Two Boys and a Dad. Whether you’re just starting out teaching or a veteran teacher, let me offer you some ideas, tips, suggestions, resources and a sounding board for your daily classroom struggles (and successes!). This is your place to find information and ask questions about teaching in the elementary grades.

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