INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM
As someone who is currently studying to be an elementary school teacher, I'm constantly thinking of ways to integrate social studies and current events into the classroom. I started thinking about ways to celebrate International Women's Day (and Women's History Month!). Here's what I quickly came up with/found resources for. Please suggest more!!
- •Thank you notesHaving the students write thank you notes to the women in their lives would be such a sweet way for them to realize how important the ladies in their lives are - moms, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, teachers, neighbors, church members, etc. Depending on their age they can be specific about the "daily bravery" or just thank them for what these women have done for them. Just an easy way for them to show appreciation!
- •SciGirlsOne of my professors introduced me to this! This is a show on PBS Kids that teaches kids about science and engineering through both animation and real-life girls. Each episode shows a few middle schoolers designing their own investigations on various topics with the help of specialist mentors. It's really cool, and you'll like it as much as the kids! You can watch it all on http://pbskids.org/scigirls/. They also have their episodes in Spanish!
- •Highlight a woman in each subjectAn easy way to make March 8th different (because I PRAY you're incorporating Women's History on a regular basis) is to take a few minutes at the start of each subject to share the story of a woman who has made significant progress in that subject area. They can even make tiny little books or some sort of organizer as they learn so they remember their names (because that can be a lot of info for kids). You can find quick YouTube videos or something for this.
- •Get involved with a charity that sends girls to schoolI'm a huge believer in charity work/service in the classroom, especially when it extends beyond the immediate community and turns national or international. I think it would be super cool to explore a few select charities for girls' education and have the students select the one they want to fundraise for/support. You can create a list of things the class can do to raise the money and research about the country the child you are sponsoring is from. She's the First is my charity of choice!
- •Welcome the "Women in Your Life" into the classroomI think it would be so sweet for students to invite important women in their lives to their classroom for something involving the chance for students to bring their outside lives into the classroom (and connect their learning to their everyday lives). There are so many ideas - you can have students prepare speeches or poems on why they admire whomever it is they invited, or have a career day event where the women share their jobs with the students. So many possibilities!!
- •Interview women from their own schoolPrinciples, secretaries, lunch ladies, teachers, janitors, volunteers - send them off in groups of 3 (a videographer, a secretary, and an interviewer) to talk with these women they see everyday about the highs and lows of their jobs, what school was like for them as a kid, other jobs they have had, etc. They can come up with their own list of questions and then put together a presentation to share with the class. You could also maybe interview students?
- •Compare and contrast female characters in storiesThis can be done even with picture books or chapter books, and modified for any age! You can use whatever graphic organizer will work best for your students and do it as a class, in groups, or individually - you can even give them a list of things to look for or not. Either way, make sure they know the take away is that ALL women are valuable and important despite their differences! No one is "better" than another!
- •Connect to the 1908 strike for equal labor rightsI found this lesson plan here http://zinnedproject.org/materials/exploring-womens-rights/. The pdf attached here explains how a teacher taught her first graders about labor abuses (of women and children) and women's rights. She had students write one thing they learned, had them make protest signs of their own, and created a book telling the story of International Women' Day. I love that the students were so engaged and excited while learning a lot (at such a young age)!
- •Coloring pagesI found these historical women coloring pages and LOVED them! http://amysmartgirls.com/womens-history-coloring-pages/ Smart Girls is such a cute resource and I think these pages are such an easy way to pique students' interest or get them learning about important women on their own time when they finish work early or walk into class.
- •Children's literatureProbably the most obvious way to teach students about the stories of women in their culture and others! I found a ton of great recommendations on this blog: http://carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com/2015/03/celebrating-women-history-month.html and http://carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com/2014/03/school-age-storytimes-womens-history.html. You can do SO many activities with books and children, but sometimes the most valuable lessons come from a simple discussion. Make sure they get to share their feelings!