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Women's History Multimedia Resources and Lesson Plan

This multimedia lesson plan features women heroes as a launchpad for discussing women's history and women's rights. A discussion guide and learning outcomes are provided. Students are invited to share their own stories, artwork, and short films about their woman heroes. 

Credit: All images public domain.

UNLADYLIKE2020 SERIES: Recommended for sixth grade and older students.

UNLADYLIKE2020: Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman wanted to become an aviator. Rejected from every U.S. aviation school for being a woman and black, she refused to take no for an answer.

UNLADYLIKE2020: Margaret Chung

Margaret Chung aka "Mike" aka "Mom Chung of the Fair Haired Bastards," was the only woman in her med school class. She advanced women's ability to serve in the armed forces.

UNLADYLIKE2020: Ynes Mexia

A late bloomer, botanist Ynes Mexia enrolled in college at the age of 51. She led expeditions, including in the Amazon rainforest, discovering 500 new species of plants.

UNLADYLIKE2020’s innovative digital content is an exciting way to engage middle and high school classrooms in U.S. history and women’s history. Lesson plans aligned with state and national standards for grades 6-12 are published on PBS LearningMedia, public television’s educational platform.

UNLADYLIKE2020 Lesson Plans
Credit: UNLADYLIKE2020

UNLADYLIKE2020 Directors Accept 2020 Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award

Produced by:Charlotte Rangin, Sandra Rattley
Directors Charlotte Rangin, Sandra Rattley accept the Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award for their series UNLADYLIKE2020 at the 16th annual MY HERO International Film Festival. Remarks by MY HERO director Jeanne Meyers, sponsor Eva Haller, MY HERO Film Festival director Wendy Milette.

UNLADYLIKE2020 SERIES | Director’s Statement | Women’s History “Continues to Resonate and Shape American Lives Today.”

UNLADYLIKE2020 series was selected as the winner of the 2020 Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award, offered each year as part of the MY HERO International Film Festival to recognize outstanding documentary shorts featuring women.

The following program of short films celebrate women trailblazers and show the kinds of obstacles these women faced, as well as common threads between their stories.  Celebrate the empowerment of women across many cultures!

RBG [Trailer] (2:36)

Betsy West & Julie Cohen

At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon.

Inez Milholland ~ Forward into Light (13:28)

Martha Wheelock

This short documentary is a window into the Women's Suffrage Movement through the sacrifice of an American Amazon who will inspire today’s woman as much as she did 100 years ago.

My Life with Rosie [Trailer] (2:53)

Angela Williamson

This documentary is focused on Rosie Parks' 40 years of community service in the city of Detroit.

Women Transforming Media: Gabrielle Gorman

Produced by:Xenia Shin, Jeanne Meyers, et al.

Filmmaker Gabrielle Gorman's poetic filmmaking confronts issues like identity, racism, and self-love. Her goal is to make art for social change.

My Family Journey: Pathway to Empowering Hispanic Women

Angelina Pendleton-Mendez

Angelina Pendleton-Mendez interviews Maria Mendez, her paternal grandmother about her family and their journey.

Looking After Our Spirit

Mark Pearce featuring Dr. Anne Poelina

Dr. Anne Poelina speaks out about the social, human, cultural and environmental values that has built the community spirit of Broome.

Yasmine Sherif Global Educator Award Winner

Kitty Richardson

Congratulations to Yasmine Sherif, the Director of Education Cannot Wait and the winner of the 2020 Global Educator Award.

Eva Haller: A Work in Progress

Produced by:Jeanne Meyers

A life dedicated to philanthropy, activism and mentorship, Eva Haller makes a positive impact around the world.

Women At the Wheel: Stories of remarkable women (13:30)

Produced by:Pat Benincasa

Stories of remarkable women shattering cultural roadblocks and gendered assumptions.

On March 8, 1911, the world celebrated the first-ever International Women's Day. It was part of the women's suffrage movement, which was in full swing in European and North American countries: Women wanted to vote, and they wanted to have the same rights as men. In 1986, national Women's History Month was declared in the US.

Women's Equality Day

Kitty Richardson

A brief look at the journey towards Equity for Women and the Women's Suffragette Movement directed and narrated by MY HERO intern Kitty Richardson.

Stories About Pioneers in Women's Rights from Around the World

These stories highlight female heroes who took on pioneering roles in the distant and recent past and open doors for the women who come after. 

Elizabeth Blackwell

By: Victoria Davis

Hero Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in the United States to receive a degree as a doctor, and started a women's medical college for women.

Michelle Obama

By: Princess Quinones

Michelle Obama has recently made history as the first African American to become the First Lady of the United States.

Harriet Tubman

By: Cara McPhie

Harriet Tubman was a slave known for creating the "Underground Railroad" network, leading 300 slaves, including herself, to freedom.

Elizebeth Friedman

By: Sean Tran

Elizebeth Friedman is known as "America's first female cryptanalyist" for her work deciphering codes between Nazi forces during WWII.

Alicia Garza

By: Ashlynn from Anthony

Alicia Garza is an activist for Black Lives Matter. 

Yasmine Sherif 2021

By: Abigail Richardson

Yasmine Sherif is the Director of Education Cannot Wait and the winner of the 2020 MY HERO Global Educator Award.

Pashtana Durrani

By: Deborah Neff

Pashtana Durrani is determined to continue providing educational opportunities for women and girls in Afghanastan, even if she has to resist the Taliban and go underground.

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Hero and ‘Mother of Afghan Education’

By: Abigail Richardson

Sahraa Karimi

By: Deborah Neff

Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi speaks out about the future of Afghan cinema and the rights of girls and women as the Taliban takes over the country in August 2021.

The following stories are available in text with audio so students can listen and read along. Great for ESL/ELL students.

Dorothy Height

By: Yajahira from Las Vegas

Height was a civil rights/women's rights activist and an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

Katherine Johnson

By: Kyra from Ankara, Turkey

Her story was hidden for decades: Katherine Johnson plotted multiple flight courses for NASA, including the Apollo 11 spacecraft, the first spaceship to reach the moon.

Dorothy Vaughan

By: Brittny Barcenas

Dorothy Vaughan was the first African American woman to supervise the West Area Computers, "human computers" at NASA (originally NACA) during the Space Race.

 

Discussion Questions

1. What kinds of obstacles have each of these women faced and how did they overcome them?

2. What consistent threads do you see in each of their stories? What characteristics did these women share?

3. How has the fight for women's rights changed over the years? What still needs to be done?

4. Who do you know working for women's rights in your family or community? Share her or his story with MY HERO.

5. What kind of changes are you motivated to fight for?

 

Learning Outcomes

After watching these films and and reading the stories, students will have a deeper understanding of prominent figures in the fight for women's rights around the world and how their lives today have been impacted by these individuals. With hope, participants will also feel empowered to fight for justice in their own lives.

 

Stories Written by Younger Writers to use as examples for Elementary Students with the following writing activity.

Sally Ride

By: Georgia Rowan

"Sally Ride is considered a hero because she has done amazing things, like when she went on the STS-7 mission in 1983."

Susan B. Anthony

By: Libby Huxley

An elementary student talks about her hero, women's suffragist Susan B. Anthony.

Roberta Lynn Bondar

By: Adianna from Cochrane

 

Hero Writing Activity

1. Share the stories about Sally Ride, Roberta Lynn Bondar, and Susan B. Anthony with students, giving them time to read each of them.

2. Discuss how the student authors used a subject - adjective web to organize the heroic characteristics they included in their story.

3. Students choose their hero and create a subject web using 6-8 adjectives that describe why this person is their hero.

4. Using the subject web, students write a story their hero. 

5. Students are invited to submit their story to MY HERO using the Create Program. 

3.

 

Students analyze the art below. Notice the colors and brushstrokes that Marilyn Huerta uses to depict Bessie Coleman, as well as the text Robert Shetterly uses in the background of his portraits. In the photograph of Inez Milholland Boissevain, what message is the photographer trying to tell.

Students are encouraged to research in order to learn more about these women heroes. 

 

First Lady Michelle Obama

By: Amy Sherald

Painted by Amy Sherald, this portrait of the first African-American First Lady Michelle Obama has been exhibited at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery since 2018.

Winona LaDuke by K E Harleston

By: K.e. Harleston
Winona LaDuke is a Native American Harvard graduate economist, environmentalist, activist, author and executive director of Honor The Earth.

Bessie Coleman

By: Marilyn Huerta

Marilyn Huerta's portrait of Bessie Coleman, who grew up during the time of segregation and was the first black woman to fly around the world. 

Untitled

By: Clementine Hunter
Artwork by artist Clementine Hunter, 1981.

Harriet Tubman

By: William H. Johnson
This portrait of abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman was painted by William H. Johnson in 1945.

Inez Milholland Boissevain

By: unknown

Dressed like Joan of Arc on a white horse, Inez Milholland Boissevain, a New York attorney, led a group of women all dressed in white. Here she is on horseback at the Women's Equality March in Washington D.C., 1913

Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Robert Shetterly, AWTT

By: Robert Shetterly

Portrait of women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Robert Shetterly.

Alice Paul

By: Robert Shetterly

Robert Shetterly depicts Alice Paul, crusader for equal rights for women.

Background Information about the International Women's Day and Women's History Month 

On March 8, 1911, the world celebrated the first-ever International Women's Day

The day was created in order to bring attention to the important impact women have had in history, and continue to have today and in the future. It was part of the women's suffrage movement, which was in full swing in European and North American countries: Women wanted to vote, and they wanted to have the same rights as men.

Throughout the 20th century, women all over the world have fought to gain equality and respect--and many, especially those in developing areas, are still fighting to have access to education and the right to speak their minds.

Most recently, in 1986, national Women's History Month was declared in the US and is celebrated every year in March.

Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

How to use MY HERO's Create Program to Publish Stories, Art, Film and Audio for Students

Tutorial for students: Publish written stories, film, original artwork and audio in MY HERO's multimedia library.

Create Program
Credit: MY HERO

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.

 

Laura Nietzer

The Women's History lesson plan was created by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom


Organizer created on 3/5/2019 3:30:34 PM by Xenia Shin

Last edited 2/17/2022 3:34:44 PM by Laura Nietzer

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