Doug Meyer

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					        Lesson Title: Women’s Suffrage through Poetry
Name: Doug Meyer      Grade Level: 11th High School U.S. History (but can
be used in a Government / Political Science class)
School: Webster County High School
Lesson Essential Question: (A question that lies at the heart of a subject or a curriculum,
and promotes inquiry)
Who were the main contributors to the Women’s Rights Movement and what were their

Academic Expectations and Standards:
Academic Expectations:
1.1          Students use reference tools such as dictionaries, almanacs, encyclopedias, and computer reference
             programs and research tools such as interviews and surveys to find the information they need to meet
             specific demands, explore interests, or solve specific problems.
1.2          Students make sense of the variety of materials they read.
1.11         Students write using appropriate forms, conventions, and styles to communicate ideas and information
             to different audiences for different purposes.
1.16         Students use computers and other kinds of technology to collect, organize, and communicate
             information and ideas.
2.14         Students understand the democratic principles of justice, equality, responsibility, and freedom and apply
             them to real-life situations.
2.15         Students can accurately describe various forms of government and analyze issues that relate to the
             rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.
2.17         Students interact effectively and work cooperatively with the many ethnic and cultural groups of our
             nation and world.
2.20         Students understand, analyze, and interpret historical events, conditions, trends, and issues to develop
             historical perspective.

KY Core Content:
SS-HS-1.1.2 Students will explain and give examples of how democratic governments preserve and protect the
rights and liberties of their constituents through different sources (e.g., U.N. Charter, Declaration of the Rights of
Man, U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, U.S. Constitution).

SS-HS-1.1.3 Students will evaluate how the U.S. government's response to contemporary issues and societal
problems (e.g., education, welfare system, health insurance, childcare, crime) reflects the needs, wants and demands
of its citizens (e.g., individuals, political action committees, special interest groups, political parties).

SS-HS-1.3.3 Students will evaluate the impact citizens have on the functioning of a democratic government by
assuming responsibilities (e.g., seeking and assuming leadership positions, voting) and duties (e.g., serving as jurors,
paying taxes, complying with local, state and federal laws, serving in the armed forces).

SS-HS-5.2.4 Students will explain and evaluate the impact of significant social, political and economic changes
during the Progressive Movement (e.g., industrial capitalism, urbanization, political corruption, initiation of
reforms), World War I (e.g., imperialism to isolationism, nationalism) and the Twenties (e.g., economic prosperity,
consumerism, women’s suffrage).

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       Lesson Title: Women’s Suffrage through Poetry
  What students will know:                            What students will be able to do:
   Students will learn the essential                  Summarize the main arguments
    elements and hurdles women had to                   suffragists used for women’s rights.
    overcome in securing equal rights (or              Identify key players and organizations
    more equal rights depending on your                 in the women’s rights movement.
    perspective).                                      Use poetry to demonstrate
   Students will learn that the fight and              understanding.
    march to women’s rights & suffrage
    was the result of a variety of people,
    organizations and tactics.
   Students will know that women’s
    rights are still an issue that goes on to
    this day.

Day 1:
A) Introduce students to the topics of women’s suffrage and women’s rights with a simple
discussion activity / bellringer. Place question on whiteboard / smartboard: “What was the
biggest hurdle women had to overcome in gaining the right to vote?” Give students 3-5 minutes
to answer question on their own, but during time also randomly hand out markers to students to
go the board to give answers.

B) Conduct discussion of student responses.

C) Present political Cartoons of anti-suffrage movement and discuss, seeing how hypothesis
thrown out in original discussion match with the ideas of the day. You may choose to find your
own, but two options are:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Election Day, found @: (Accessed 4/48/11)

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       Lesson Title: Women’s Suffrage through Poetry

Figure 2Dinner not ready yet:
(accessed 4/18/11)

Make sure that discussions include that fact that women had to overcome:
   Untrue and unfair stereotypes that women were not mentally equipped to cast votes, and
      that giving them the right would lead to corruption.
   Fear that giving the women the right to vote would lead to a destruction of the family
   Fear that giving women the right to vote would lead to their demand of more rights and
      assuming/ taking over more “masculine roles”, leading to a worse off society.

After discussion inform students that the next day they will be going to the library to research
assigned decades within the women’s rights movement. Tell them that they will be tasked with
creating poetry about the movement which will be pieced together to create a longer story of the
Women’s suffrage movement (The time period you choose is arbitrary, and you may want the
students to continue to present day, especially if they are a large or advanced class).

Day 2:
   A) Take students to a computer lab. Break up students into 3-4 students and direct them to
       the following website which contains a timeline of the women’s rights movement:
    B) Assign students decades or time periods within the timeline, with 1910-1920 being an
       anchor period (move backwards from that period depending on how many groups you
       have, but also include 2 groups which will highlight the women’s rights movement from
       1920 to present day). The time periods profiled in the above linked timeline are:
       Prehistory to 1599, 1600’s, 1700’s; 1800-1819, 1820-1839, 1840-1859, 1860-1879,
       1880-1899; 1900’s, 1910’s, 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s-2001.
    C) Each student will have to find 2-3 people, events or organizations from the time period
       that they can profile. After choosing the above they are to write a short four line poem
       that describes the subject’s contribution to the Women’s suffrage / Women’s rights

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      Lesson Title: Women’s Suffrage through Poetry
      movement. You may need to teach them some tricks on how to create the poetry. The
      easiest way to create stanzas is have the kids come up with “anchor words” to organize
      the poetry around. The anchor words can be nouns that are essential to the topic, or
      adjectives that are especially adept at describing the character. Students should create
      statements based around these anchor words, but then find other applicable rhyming
      words to create additional statements for the task. An excellent resource in finding these
      rhyming statements is rhyme zone ( An additional benefit of
      this task is that students will probably learn or become more comfortable with new words
      and improve their vocabulary.
   D) Students will need the rest of the day to complete the task and may need an additional
      day, but if pushed enough to get the essential background information they should be
      able to complete this outside of the computer lab.

Day 3: (2 days after lab day). Have the student’s come together to combine their poems.
Students should copy them to fresh sheets of blank paper, which you can then combine with
other groups to create one large book of poetry chronicling the women’s rights movement. If
time allows you may also have the students record the poetry to create a podcast to post onto the
web, and create a slideshow to place with the audio file for a complete downloadable
presentation. (Note: these additional tasks may serve as “extension activities” one could assign
for students to do throughout a semester, taking them up towards the end or they may serve as
extra credit offerings)

Resources: Interesting timelines available
of women’s rights movement events, with integration of major U.S. history events woven into it.
Prior to 1800 timelines cover a broad stretch of time, but during the 19th and 20th century
timeline is more focused by decade, with some devoted to 20-30 year periods. Site also includes
links to 35-40 major female figures in U.S. history.

Feel free to modify these rubrics to meet your style and needs
For each poem:
Criteria:                                                                 Points         Points
                                                                          Available:     Earned:
Meets required length of 4 lines                                               5
Contains true, accurate content which gives insight to the subject’s
contribution to the women’s rights movement (10 – excellent, 8 – Fair,         10
< 6 – Poor)
Meets required construct of a poem in terms of rhyme, structure and
grammatical correctness (Note: grammar is not as rigid as a regular
writing piece, however must be able to decipher thought and
distinguish from gibberish).
                                                                    Total 25

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