Women’s History Month

womens history month

March is almost over and while I intended to post this information much earlier in the month, busy-work kept me from reaching my goals. I found out early in the month that March is Women’s History Month. It began in 1981 as a week-long celebration and has received month-long recognition since 1995. Oddly, I don’t ever remember there being special studies dedicated to Women’s History Month during my school years, although we did occasionally touch briefly on important women from history throughout the year.

I wanted to be sure to emphasize the important roles women have played throughout history, so I made a point to dedicate some time and energy this month to teaching about some strong, passionate women that created change in our world, or at least left a really big mark. These are our subjects:

Clara Barton – Founder of the Red Cross; Provided supplies to doctors on the battlefield during the Civil War; Helped find missing soldiers; Fought for women’s right to vote.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton – Women’s rights pioneer; Helped women win the right to own property; Wrote an amendment to the constitution with Susan B. Anthony that would give women the right to vote – the law was written in the 1870s but was not passed until 1920, 18 years after Elizabeth’s death.

Harriet Tubman – Conductor of the Underground Railroad; Occasionally spied for the Union; Worked as a nurse in Union hospitals; Raised money to fund two schools for freed slaves; Built a home for the disabled and elderly.

Sojourner Truth – Abolitionist; Women’s rights pioneer; Met Abraham Lincoln and helped run the Freedmen’s Hospital for former slaves.

Sally Ride – First American woman in space; youngest American astronaut (32-years old);Professor at Stanford and University of California San Diego; Part time director of the California Space Institute.

Amelia Earhart – Famous female record-breaking pilot.

Helen Keller – Became blind, deaf, and mute at 18 months due to an unknown illness. With help from Annie Sullivan she learned to communicate through finger-spelling, reading lips, and eventually she learned to speak. College graduate; Worked with the American Foundation for the Blind speaking about the needs and abilities of the blind; Visited other countries to address the needs of the blind.

Mother Jones – Labor leader; Worked for fair labor, minimum wages, shorter work days, and child-labor laws.

Jane Goodall – Animal scientist; Studied the Chimpanzees and published many findings from her research; Founded the Gombe Stream Research Center in Africa; Speaks to address the need for conservation and protection for chimpanzees.

Elizabeth Blackwell – America’s first woman doctor; Trained nurses to work in Union Army hospitals during the Civil War; Opened the New York Infirmary in 1857 and it is still in operation as the New York University Downtown Hospital; Secretly taught classes to children of slaves.

Annie Oakley – Famous female sharpshooter; performed all over the world; Friend of Chief Sitting Bull; Star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.


Who Was Clara BartonWho Was Clara Barton?

Annie oakleyWho Was Annie Oakley?

Amelia Earhart Who Was Amelia Earhart?

I made a few booklets for my son to use along with our reading. I call them “Fast Five Fact Books”. They are basically a grown-up version of the mini-books they made in kindergarten, but they require a bit more effort. He chose who to read about, then he wrote one fact per page about the subject of his reading. Also, on each page I gave him space to draw an illustration for the fact he chose to write about. Once he completed each book, we stapled it together with the cover page and he has his own books to come back and read later if he chooses. We are putting all of ours in a three-ring binder so they are easy to find. Here are the two booklets we’ve completed about famous women from history:

Clara Barton Fast Five Fact Book

Helen Keller Fast Five Fact Book

These include additional pages for writing and illustrating as well as a few notebooking pages with writing prompts. I also put together a set of notebooking pages about Knights and a Fast Five Fact Book for George Washington. You can download those here:

Fast Five Fact Book George Washington

Knights Notebooking Pages

 

Happy Spring!

Knights and Castles

One of my favorite things is when my kids take on a project independently. Especially when I didn’t suggest it or provide guidelines. Earlier this month we were invited to Medieval Times for a behind the scenes tour and a showing of the event. The last time I was there was over 25 years ago, so I was really excited – more excited than my kids. But the moment we arrived at the castle they realized what a great experience we were in for.

medieval times

We met the Head Knight, the Head Trainer, and a few of the horses. We cheered on the red knight and my daughter received the Queen of the Tournament ribbon. It was splendid.

Anyway, I prepared an article for Dandelion Moms complete with a study guide for learning more about the Middle Ages, the Feudal System, and Knights. You can read that article here. During the writing process I checked out several books from the library, including activity books. My son grabbed the How to Draw Knights and Castles book and set off on his own adventure. He filled a page with drawings and requested bigger paper. I picked up a large piece of poster board that night and he proceeded to do an entire workup of castles, armor, shields, weapons, and horses – all without me saying a word.

Knights and Castles

While he did this project I learned a few things:

  • He is thinking more about layout and presentation and understands that everything can’t just be crammed into the space.
  • He is paying attention even when I think he isn’t.
  • He can be really productive when given the right tools and a little bit of freedom and encouragement.

I purchased two pieces of poster board so we’ll see what #2 produces!

We did a lot of learning about knights and castles over the last few weeks and I’ll be posting some new activity pages on this topic later, but for now, here are some great books and activities to go along with the knights and castles theme:

Medieval World   king arthur  Knights sticker book   Look inside a castle

castlesbuild your own castle

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