Celebrate Women’s History Month with Fishtank ELA

March 06, 2024

Women’s History Month provides an opportunity for students to focus on the voices and experiences of women throughout history. While Fishtank ELA highlights women’s voices in all across units year round, we know it can be particularly impactful to intentionally focus on these stories during the month of March. 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.


Elementary ELA 

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.

Book images for elementary ELA

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 as part of the units Examining Our History: American Revolution and the Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, respectively. 

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.

Elementary texts

Middle and High 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. Students learn about the many young, immigrant women that 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. 

In 8th Grade, students examine multiple speeches from climate activist Greta Thunberg as part of the Facing Calamity: Climate Change Facts and Fiction unit as they explore the impacts of climate change and the ways in which people are fighting to solve the crisis. Shifting their focus to stories outside of the United States, 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.  

Middle School texts

In high school ELA, students continue to dive into the experiences of women in diverse settings. In the 9th Grade unit ¡Viva Las Mariposas! Voice and Agency in In the Time of Butterflies, students explore Essential Questions including “How does gender impact an individual's roles and responsibilities in society?” The core text of the unit, In the Time of Butterflies, follows the lives of the Mirabal sisters as they come of age during the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. In the final writing assignment of the unit, students research courageous women who have made positive changes in their individual communities.  

In one of our newly added high school ELA units, 10th Grade’s Flowers of Freedom: Voice, Defiance, and Coming of Age in Purple Hibiscus students explore Essential Questions including “How can family dynamics be reflective of society? How do our identities change depending on the community we are a part of? What are the risks associated with speaking out?” The core text of the unit, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, introduces students to the themes of identity, gender, and violence in post-colonial Nigeria.

High School Texts

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.

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