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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Women's History Scrolls

How it works:
In this program, each student creates a scroll depicting the life and/or achievements of a woman. The woman can be famous, historical, contemporary, legendary, fictional, or someone the student knows and admires. In preparation for their work, students use the Internet to find out about the lives of significant women. Suggested sites include Women in History: http://bubl.ac.uk/link/w/womeninhistory.htm  and National Women's History Project: www.nwhp.org/  

As they research or interview a women, students take note of the subject's name, date and place of birth, childhood and young adulthood experiences that shaped her future, role models, education, and accomplishments and/or contributions to society. Using the images and information found on the Internet, the students use pencils and paper to pre-plan their scrolls in a horizontal or vertical format. They use tempera paint and brushes on rice paper to create the final drawing. The completed  drawings are made into scrolls by attaching wooden dowels on each end using white glue. A ribbon is used to hang and/or close the scroll.

Standards addressed:  
Students understand and apply media, techniques, and processes related to the visual arts and communicating various ideas. They understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures. They also use computer databases to locate sources for research topics.

Materials used: 
The students do their research on a networked Macintosh lab with Internet access. To create the scrolls they use rice paper, pencils, Chinese style brushes, tempera paint, white glue, wood dowels, and ribbon.

The students:
The original participants were heterogeneously grouped eighth grade students at the Institute for Collaborative Education, a small New York City public school. The writing, artistic, and technical skills of the students varied.
Overall value:
Women's History Scrolls engages the students' artistic, research, and writing skills as they learn about the lives of women they consider to be significant. This is a project that is perfect for Women's History Month or any time of the year.

Let the students choose their own role model or significant woman for this project. That significant woman can be a family member, star, historical figure, or even a fictional woman they read about and admired.

About the teacher:
Meryl Meisler, digital art teacher at the Institute for Collaborative Education, has taught art in the New York City public schools since 1979. A recipient of a Disney American Teacher award as well as numerous Impact II grants and other awards, she serves on the Teachers Network Board of Advisors.


Subject Areas: 
Language Arts

Grade Levels: 


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