Rad American Women in 3A
As Women’s History Month began, Anna Weisberg was looking for ways to bring the lessons and values of the month to her 3rd grade students. She began with the book Rad American Women A to Z by Kate Schatz. Each day, the class would read a few stories about important women in our country’s history.
“We talked a lot about what it means to be radical. That these were women who did something new, beat the odds, or spoke up for justice,” Anna said. “They were trailblazing women.”
What began with reading stories as a group evolved into a research project in which Anna assigned each student one rad woman to learn more about, present on in a lower school assembly, and write about (the final project was later compiled into a book for students to keep).
“The greatest challenge was to explain why we need to lift up women’s voices and contributions. We discussed why there’s a Women’s History Month, but no Men’s History Month,” she shared. “Also I particularly wanted to honor women of color’s voices because they are often minimized in American history.”
Anna spent a lot of time traveling around libraries in Philadelphia gathering appropriate resources for her students and discovering rad women that are not often celebrated in classrooms, including Malala Yousafzai, Madam C.J. Walker, and Maggie Gee.
Not only was Anna impressed by the students’ work, but by their open-mindedness to examining history from a different perspective. In writing the introduction to the final book, the students said, “We’re studying this because some people think that girls don’t have as much power as boys, but they actually do.”
Anna says she can’t wait to continue this project again next year, potentially with a new slate of women to research. Do you know of a rad American woman that should be included next year? Tell us about her!
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