Women’s History Month provides an opportunity for students to focus on the voices and experiences of women throughout history during the month of March. While Fishtank ELA highlights women’s voices in all grades and across units year round, we know it can be particularly impactful to dedicate this time to these stories. To help you make the most of this time, we’ve collected some of our favorite texts and units to teach for Women’s History Month.
As part of the 1st grade Movements for Equality unit, students are introduced to influential figures in the women’s rights movement as they explore the concepts of fairness and justice. Students learn about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her fight for women’s suffrage, Clara Lemlich who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S history, and Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress.
Students continue to build their knowledge of trailblazing women in the 2nd grade People Who Changed the World unit. Students explore the lives and contributions of diverse women through this biography-based unit. Texts cover changemakers like physicists Wu Chien Shiung, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and education activist Malala Yousafzai.
In 3rd grade, students are introduced to the stories of women leaders in the Native American community as part of the Honoring Indigenous Peoples unit. In Native Women of Courage, students read about both historical and modern contributions of Indigenous women. To further students’ knowledge of the impact women have had throughout history, 4th grade students read Great Women of the American Revolution and Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters.
Finally, in the 5th grade unit Young Heroes: Children of the Civil Rights Movement, students return to the topic of the civil rights movement that they explored in earlier grades with a new lens focused on the role women played in the movement. Students are introduced to the stories of young women that desegregated schools, marched for voting rights, and participated in sit-ins.
Middle School ELA
As students move into middle school, they continue to see the voices and experiences of women across units. In the 6th grade Expressing Yourself: Women in the Arts unit, students are introduced to barrier-breaking female artists in various disciplines including ballet, sculpture, and print-making. The unit centers around the memoir of Misty Copeland, the first female African American principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.
In 7th grade, students build upon their elementary school knowledge of those that fought for women workers’ rights in the unit Fighting Injustice: Uprising & Flesh and Blood So Cheap. Students learn about the many young, immigrant women who had unsuccessfully protested for improved working conditions, only months before the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911. Additionally, 7th grade students explore the American experience through the eyes of a young Latina girl as she struggles to define her identity in her physical and cultural setting in The House on Mango Street. Students use these stories to inform their understanding of what it means to be an American and the role gender plays in that definition.
Shifting their focus to stories outside of the United States, 8th grade students are introduced to the story of a young girl coming of age during the Iranian Revolution in the Surviving Repression: Persepolis unit. This unit also introduces students to various women’s perspectives on the connection between wearing a hijab and feminism. In the Facing Calamity: Climate Change Facts and Fiction unit, students examine multiple speeches from climate activist Greta Thunberg as they explore the impacts of climate change and the ways in which people are fighting to solve the crisis.
Stay up to date with timely texts and ideas for engaging students year round on the Fishtank Blog and our social media accounts. We want to know how you’re celebrating women’s stories this month! Tell us your favorite texts to teach and activities for Women’s History Month.