An annual favorite returned in person to Washington Elementary School on March 24 as third graders welcomed a special woman in their lives to a tea party in honor of Women’s History Month.
The annual Women’s Tea at Washington, organized by Grade 3 teachers Lisa Bukowsky and Karen Geddis, is a culminating event that showcases the research and writing skills of the third graders as they share their biographies of famous women.
“Third graders at Washington School learn how to research and write biographies, as part of a nonfiction writing unit. The students select a remarkable woman to learn about and study,” Bukowsky and Geddis explain. “After reading and taking copious notes, the students write their own biography, establish a timeline, and create a paper doll of that woman. They share their hard work at the annual Women’s Tea tradition which has become a third-grade favorite!"
Across the Westfield Public School District, there were lessons and activities in recognition of Women’s History Month, which is celebrated in March. As part of the "American Voices Project" in the social studies classes of Kira Brady and Elizabeth Lestrange at Roosevelt Intermediate School, 8th graders were assigned a person whose life they may not have learned about and were asked to consider what they might ask the person if given the opportunity to sit down for a conversation. The project recognized both Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month.
Fourth graders at Franklin Elementary School researched, wrote, and presented “Living Biographies” of famous women and other important historical figures, past and present. And, at Westfield High School, a student-created display in a prominent hallway cabinet honored inspirational women.
“At the end of February, the Women's Studies Class was asked, ‘if you had to design an installation or display for your school to celebrate Women's History Month, what would it include? Who would you honor and why?,’" says teacher Kimberly Leegan. "Students journaled responses and brainstormed ideas."
On March 1, the first day of Women's History Month, Leegan says the students were challenged to put their theoretical ideas into action. Students worked in teams and developed a theme for their section of the display cabinet, conducted research on people they wanted to honor, and designed an installation.
Student groups had the following sections:
- Women of STEM,
- Empowering Quotes by Inspirational Women,
- Women in Sports,
- Female Firsts, and
- The Women of Westfield (featuring Principal Mary Asfendis, Mayor Shelley Brindle, Virginia Apgar (developer of the Apgar test for infants) and Zora Neal Hurston (famed author of the Harlem Renaissance, who lived in Westfield for a period of time in the 1930s)).