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Students Inspired by Influential Women During Women's History Month

April 08, 2022

March was International Women’s Day and Woman’s History Month!

Many classes across divisions highlighted the accomplishments of women around the globe. Our community reflected on how to illuminate the triumphs of historically underappreciated and oppressed girls and women and to advocate for equality and equitable practices in all spaces for all girls and women. 

In Early Childhood, classes incorporated Women's History into ongoing units.

In PreK 2, as part of their unit on various modes of transportation, students learned about some of the ways that girls and women stood up for their own rights as well as the rights of other marginalized groups of people. Students learned about Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Mae Jemison, and Sally Ride and talked about how people told them they couldn’t fly planes or go to space because they were girls, but girls can do anything they’re willing to work hard for!  As a class, they made their own rocket ship and pretended to fly to the moon like Mae Jemison and Sally Ride! 

In PreK 3, as part of their unit on construction, the class learned about Zaha Hadid, a renowned architect, who paved the way for many other women in a male-dominated field. The class learned that Zaha was an important architect that designed buildings across the world that “curved and swirled.”  Inspired by Zaha, the class became architects and made blueprints for their own buildings. The blueprints consisted of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a Pre-K 3 Tower, and various homes across the tri-state area.

In PreK 4, as part of their ongoing space unit, students learned about the first black female astronaut, Mae Jemison. The class began by reading Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, which detailed how her aspirations to go to space were discouraged by society in the 1960s. Mae dreamed big, worked hard in school and in college and proved everyone wrong by serving as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992. She is a very inspiring woman, and to remember her, each child painted their own astronaut suits using watercolors. They shared their dreams and discussed how just as in the book, "if we can dream it, if you believe it and work hard for it, anything is possible!"

 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, 4th Graders practiced their artistic and writing skills by creating original artwork or poems inspired by this year’s International Women’s Day theme #BreaktheBias. They also each researched the life and achievements of an inspirational, contemporary woman and created a flipbook to present to the class. In their research, students reflected on the questions, “How did this woman spend her early life?” “What is her chosen career and what are her career achievements?” and “How does this woman inspire others?” 

5th Graders exercised their writing skills, choosing an influential woman to research and become more knowledgeable about. From this, students created influential women biography booklets as a means to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of female trailblazers in our society.  Students also created posters and poems, which focused on advocacy of this year’s women's history month theme: break the bias.

7th Grade history students spent some time reading and learning ways that women have made a mark in American History that is often not highlighted. For example, the wives of our first few presidents we have recently studied the impact they have made. Students then reflected on in society how gender sets roles and as early as the 1800s we see women participate in ways to make change.

12th Grade IB HL Spanish students reflected on an article titled “¿Cuál es la diferencia entre feminicidio y femicidio?” by Gabriel Revelo. The article discusses the difference between the words "Femicidio" and "Feminicidio." Femicidio refers to the murder of a woman because of her gender. Feminicidio emphasizes the role of the state in enabling these crimes and the impunity with which they are treated.

In response to the article, senior Paula Valenzuela wrote a poem titled “Carta a mi Yo recien nacida” or “Letter to my newborn self.” You can read the entire poem below. Congratulations to Paula on her excellent work! 

 

Carta a mi Yo recien nacida

Acabas de respirar por
primera vez.
Inconsciente de lo que
pasa a tu alrededor e
ignorante de lo que te
espera.
Esta carta te la escribo a
ti y a cualquier otro
ignorante dispuesto a
dejar de serlo.

Paulina,
Eres ignorante del país
que te espera,
misógino machista y
peligroso.
Eres ignorante.
Eres ignorante de cómo,
a tus 9 años,
comentarios infinitos
sobre tu cuerpo
moldearán tus futuras
inseguridades.
Eres ignorante.

Eres ignorante de la
incomodidad que
sentirás la primera vez
que te chiflen en la calle,
o la primera vez que
miradas te sigan
fijamente mientras
paseas.
Eres ignorante.

Eres ignorante del pavor
que ahora, te
acompañará cada vez
que salgas.
Eres ignorante.

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