Schools Celebrate Women's History Month

Schools Celebrate Women's History Month
Posted on 03/30/2021

Throughout the month of March, the district has been honoring Women’s History Month. IN addition to some special events, there have a been a host of classroom activities and projects. Students across grades and across curricula researched, learned and celebrated influential women. Below are just a few examples.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Montclair High School Vice Principal Reginald Clark spoke with the officers of the school’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, advised by Shana Stein and Anne Baney. “The session was quite encouraging as I listened to the passion of these young women leaders of MHS, Lucy Maguire ’21, Maggie Borgen ’21, Meliz Kurtulus ’21, and Maggie Greenberg ’22,” said Clark. Watch the video

At Bradford, a teacher created a Women’s History Month Digital Project. Each student was been assigned a unique woman completed a digital presentation through Google Slides featuring researched information on their unique woman. It may have been Bedtime & Books for Bradford students but they had the opportunity to hear Misty Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, read her book "Bunheads." Copeland talked about taking her first dance class at 13, expressing herself through dance, working hard and enjoying performing as a ballerina.

Hillside fifth grade students in Peter Bongiovanni’s, Christian Hart’s, and Sheryl Le’s classes participated in an “out of this world” experience. Elizabeth Duffy, a Mechatronics Engineer II at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, delivered a presentation about her most recent work on the Perseverance rover that is currently on Mars. Duffy worked on what is essentially the hand of the robotic arm, which is playing an integral role in collecting the rock and sediment samples that will help scientists examine if ancient life existed on Mars. Read more.

Students illustrated a poem by Mary Oliver; created  futuristic architecture inspired by Norma Skalarek and Zaha Hadid; and created portraits of iconic female jazz singers. Students could visit a virtual bookshelf filled with books showcasing women and contributions they have made to our society. Students studied influential women then created a “FakeBook” profile page, highlighting their biological information, accomplishments and achievements. After reading about different women, students will select one to complete their “Put a Stamp on History” project. For this activity, students will create a postage stamp for the woman of their choice and write several facts about her.

Glenfield Middle Schoolers also had the opportunity to hear from a special guestKatherine daughter of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician portrayed in the film Hidden Figures, addressed over 250 audience members virtually. Moore shared her experiences growing up with her extraordinary mother with the seventh graders, their families and the staff. 

Throughout the month, Bullock students started their school day with Principal Nami Kuwabara sharing positive quotes from famous women at the end of Morning Mindful Moments. Principal Kuwabara also shared short biographies of each woman.

Bullock Media Specialist and Curriculum Support teacher Mrs. McGrath selected celebrated author Suzanne Tate for Bullock kindergarteners’ study of animals that live in the oceans or on beaches.  “Suzanne Tate is one of the few authors of nature books that are meticulously researched and have an exciting story line that appeals to and holds the attention of young children,” said Mrs. McGrath. “She writes about animals that children are inquisitive about.”

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Students in all grades studied influential women artists, including Faith Ringgold, famous for her mixed media story quilts, and Frida Kahlo, who loved her animals. Students were inspired by the work of these artists; they created imitation fabric with texture rubbing and arranged their own story quilt; and students drew themselves with their own animals.

quilt  kid's self portrait

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All students also learned about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, union organizer Dolores Huerto and astronaut Dr. Ellen Ochoa through biographies and videos or the lives and work. Third through fifth graders also studied LGBT+ activist Sylvia Rivera and journalist/poet Julia de Burgos. In Ms. Coleman’s first grade class, students learned about Helen Keller and wrote their names in Braille on Seesaw. Then students studied Madam C.J. Walker, the entrepreneur and inventor, and spent a week being inventors themselves, making a commercial to match their invention/creation.

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Fifth grade Students in ELA were challenged to write about an influential woman, whether a family member, friend, or  historical figure. In a combined ELA/Social Studies project, students interviewed “mystery” guests: women who have made significant contributions to society. These guest visitors acted out the historical women and were impactful role models for our students.

Buzz Aldrin students celebrated the lives of influential women in many different ways. For example, in some science classes, students researched women in science and created Instagram pages for them. Students had to think like the scientists, pick four photos they would want to post, and write descriptions for each, including hashtags. They had to get creative with their profile pictures and Instagram handles for whomever they choose.

Students in Health and PE learned about a woman in sports each day. They also engaged in a class discussion on the topic of Title IX and what that means for women in sports. In World Language class activities included some of the following: Sra. Savoia’s Novice Spanish I students participated in an activity about Celia Cruz and students in ESL participated in activities about Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride. Sra. Pichardo’s students read quotes by women each morning during morning check-ins. In Sra. Harriott’s classes, students learned about Puerto Rican author and actress Esmeralda Santiago. In French, students read short biographies of famous French-speaking women in the target language and l responded in the target language. Students in Mrs. Legman's Digital Photography class researched an inspiring female photographer.  They created a slideshow of her work which included photographs by the photographer, the reasons they selected that person, and information about her work and life. Students also created a photograph in the style of the photographer. They all presented their slideshows to the class, so that all students were exposed to a wide range of female photographers.

Nishuane was excited to celebrate the strength and power of women around the world. Inspiring quotes and women of the day have been selected by Nishaune staff for schoolwide morning messages. All classes participated in daily lessons that focus on notable contributions from women in history. Students worked on writing assignments that focus on interviewing notable women within their life. They also completed Seesaw activities about notable women in history (see below). We are certain that by recognizing female changemakers, Nishaune students will be empowered to blaze a trail of their own.

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Renaissance students studied women in various classes. In Government & Geography, students learned about women’s suffrage. In World Wars, lessons included women during World War I, women in the Depression, Fascism and World War II later in the semester. Social Studies lessons covered Native American leaders and female rulers and colonists and focusing on women's contributions in general during the period of colonization of North America. In What's Happening, students learned about current female leaders and activists including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Stacy Abrams, Deb Haaland and a few others. In Legally Thinking, one class was dedicated to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In particular, students learned about cases she argued before the U.S. Supreme Court as a civil rights attorney and the way in which these cases established constitutional rights for women. In Social Studies classes, students learned about Indigenous Activist Zitkála-Šá. Students were given the opportunity to create movie posters of other famous female civil rights activists. In ELA, the students read nonfiction books and articles either written by, or about influential women of different backgrounds, races, and cultures, for example, Dr. Maya Angelou, and Misty Copeland and analyzed the pieces completing short compositions and other assignments, explaining how the women's work impacts us today. 

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