Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive March 29, 2016
“Well-behaved women seldom make history” – Lesson Plan
Since Harvard professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich coined the phrase, “Well-behaved women seldom make history“ in the 1970s, those words have become a slogan for girls hoping to break the mold. This lesson plan challenges students to identify negative stereotypes about women and men, introduces students to Anne Bonny (a woman who breaks traditional gender stereotypes) and gives them the opportunity to use creative writing skills to create their own profile on one of four other “rule-breaking” women in history.
It should be noted that there are many myths and legends about the unconventional women chosen for this exercise, so students should be mindful of which resources they choose to use during their research and how they present their information.
Social studies, English
Thirty-minutes in-class, one-hour for homework
- Introduction to gender stereotypes
- Project page
- Anne Bonny profile example
- Fact sheet for Anne Bonny, Harriet Tubman, Hypatia, Cleopatra, Mulan & Queen Elizabeth
Warm Up Activity
Ask students what they think the word stereotype means. After taking some answers pass out “Introduction to gender stereotypes“ and read through it with students.
Watch Dr. Carol Gilligan on Cultural Stereotypes of Men and Women
Women in history who broke stereotypes
Now explain to students that they are going to learn about Anne Bonny – a woman who defied the stereotypes of women of her time. First play the short video (4:44) from the History Channel about Bonny. Then pass out the “Anne Bonny profile example” and read through it with students.
Then explain to students that they are going to get to choose their own woman who defies stereotypes and write a creative narrative about them. Pass out the “Project page” and “Fact sheet pages” to students and help them examine the process of moving from the fact sheet to a creative writing piece. Encourage students to use the “Fact sheets”, the video links and their own original research to help them learn more about the woman they chose. For homework, have students complete the writing assignment.
A very special thanks to Psych Alive and Dr. Lisa Firestone for their contribution to this lesson plan.
By Katie Gould and Elizabeth Jones
The Materials You Need
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Relevant National Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
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