Women of the Week!
Did you know? March is Women’s History Month! Some really amazing and important agencies including The Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum joined together to help bring attention to the generations of women who have contributed to our planet and society! In fact, they even put together this great website with lots resources for teaching and spreading the word about Women’s History Month.
I feel like there’s been a push in the last few years to guide young women to STEM related careers. I’m all for female scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and astronauts. However, I also think that women should be encouraged to contribute to society through the arts! I teach at a building with kindergarten through middle school students and I wanted to do what I could to encourage all the young women at my school that they are important and can make a significant contribution to the world of music! If you only teach composer profiles and music history contributions for those who are historically thought of as “the greats” of the musical world like Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart you miss some really important voices.
So, I created this bulletin board set to shine a light on some of the most influential women in the history of music. I started out with a long list of names that I had to try and winnow down (seriously, I started with a list of about 100 women that I wanted to highlight). I finally narrowed it down to 50 really incredible female composers, jazz singers, pop stars, singer-songwriters, producers, opera singers, actresses, rock stars, folk musicians, country singers, and more. I couldn’t wait to print out and hang the posters at school!
I wanted to be sure to include women from all different parts of the musical world including pop stars, opera singers, rock stars, composers, producers, conductors, and more. When I feature an opera singer I talk about all the places she has sung and the contributions she has made to the opera world. At the same time, when I feature a pop or rock star I talk about all the awards she has won and more importantly her truly significant contributions to their genre. I wanted to highlight a diverse swath of the musical world and so I intentionally chose women from different continents, with varied ethnicities and social backgrounds.
Different Display Options
I realized there would be a problem when I was feeding all those posters through the laminator. How in the world could I fit 50 profiles on my bulletin board!? I decided that I would alter the set just a bit and feature a select number of “Women of the Week.” That way I can rotate out a new set of ladies each week and keep the board fresh and new. I chose 12 for the first week and will feature a new set of women each week so that I get through all 50 by the end of the month. Of course you could feature a bulletin board like this any time of the year, but it is just a wonderful coincidence that I’m able to put up this set during Women’s History Month!Here’s the breakdown of which “diva” I displayed each week. I tried to break the set down so that I had some jazzers, opera singers, pop stars, etc. every week and spaced them all out. Use these lists as a reference if you also want to rotate through ladies and display new artists each week.
Kire Te Kanawa
One little extra that I try to include any time I put up a bulletin board nowadays is a “Here’s Why” poster to explain to parents the reason for the bulletin board. Classroom teachers so often put up a little blurb that explains why they put certain work out on the bulletin board, I thought a slide like this would help folks understand why these particular musicians are important.