ITVS Community Classroom is a film and curriculum resource series that brings to life some of today’s most vital social issues by pairing film modules from award-winning documentaries with standards-based lesson plans.
This collection celebrates Women's History Month by focusing on women and girls around the world. The films tell powerful, personal stories; and the activities encourage students to learn and understand international struggles and take an active role in addressing local concerns. Grades 9-12
Upstate, Downstate is an original web series that teaches students about the history, geography and government of New York State. Aligned to the New York State Social Studies Framework for Grade 4, this episode explores the history of the women’s movement of the 1800s, it’s connection to abolitionism, and how struggles for women’s rights continue to this day. Grades 3-5
John Green teaches you about American women in the Progressive Era and, well, the progress they made. So the big deal is, of course, the right to vote women gained when the 19th amendment was passed and ratified. But women made a lot of other gains in the 30 years between 1890 and 1920. More women joined the workforce, they acquired lots of other legal rights related to property, and they also became key consumers in the industrial economy. Women also continued to play a vital role in reform movements. The field of social work emerged as women like Jane Addams created settlement houses to assist immigrants in their integration into the United States. Women also began to work to make birth control widely available. You'll learn about famous reformers and activists like Alice Paul, Margaret Sanger, and Emma Goldman, among others. Grades 9-12
In this activity, utilizing video from the PBS series Mercy Street, The Good Stuff: Time Capsule, and primary source documents, students will uncover information about the struggle for women’s equality in the years leading up to the Civil War, during the war and in its aftermath. For more resources from Mercy Street, check out the collection page.
John Green finally gets around to talking about some women's history. In the 19th Century, the United States was changing rapidly, as we noted in the recent Market Revolution and Reform Movements episodes. Things were also in a state of flux for women. The reform movements, which were in large part driven by women, gave these self-same women the idea that they could work on their own behalf, and radically improve the state of their own lives. So, while these women were working on prison reform, education reform, and abolition, they also started talking about equal rights, universal suffrage, temperance, and fair pay. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Carry Nation, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Grimkes, and Lucretia Mott strove tirelessly to improve the lot of American women, and it worked, eventually. John will teach you about the Christian Temperance Union, the Seneca Falls Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments, and a whole bunch of other stuff that made life better for women. Grades 9-12
Compare and contrast the experiences of African American and white women facing discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s. In a culminating activity, students will then research current areas of discrimination and formulate an anti-discrimination campaign. Grades 5-12
Meet suffragist leader Alice Paul and learn about her undaunted fight for the right of women to vote, in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Great War. Not wanting to be cast as unpatriotic, many women’s suffrage groups suspended their protests after the United States entered World War I in 1917. Paul and a small group of supporters continued their efforts. Paul accused President Woodrow Wilson of “obstructing the cause of democracy at home, while Americans were fighting for it abroad.” The publicity surrounding Paul’s imprisonment caused Wilson’s administration to come under attack. Wilson eventually decided to support women’s suffrage. This resource is a part of The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Collection. Grades 9-12
Eleanor Roosevelt—the “First Lady of the World”—spent her life fighting for the rights of others. Throughout her long career, she championed women’s rights, African Americans’ rights, and human rights on a worldwide scale. Through two primary source activities and a short video, students will learn how Eleanor Roosevelt used her positions as First Lady and United Nations diplomat to ensure that the powerless had a voice in American and global politics. Grades 3-7
An abolitionist and feminist during the nineteenth century, Sojourner Truth demanded not less discrimination, but no discrimination. Truth escaped enslavement and, despite being unable to read or write, rose to be a leader in the fight for equality and fair treatment for both women and African Americans. Through two primary source activities and a short biographical video, students will understand the remarkable career of this persevering woman who lived up to her self-chosen name. Grades 3-7
Highlight some fierce women of art, like Artemisia Gentileschi, Mona Hatoum, and Frida Kahlo, with this featurette from PBS Digital Studios' "The Art Assignment"! (Grades: 6-12)
Teach students about some of history's most revolutionary women, like Civil War Soldier Loreta Velazquez and painter Frida Kahlo, and how they challenged the status quo with this women's studies collection! (Grades: 9-12)