March is Women’s History Month, and the Library of Congress has a fantastic series of primary source documents that can serve as a springboard for meaningful homeroom discussions. For the main website, go here.

In my own homeroom, I’m excited to share the collection on women’s suffrage. Although the Library of Congress provides an online analysis tool, I will be presenting the collection as a silent gallery. This teaching technique is a pedagogy I initially encountered through EL Education, and it goes something like this.

Silent Gallery Technique

Step 1 Preparation. Print out and arrange the letters, artwork, newspaper clippings at stations (you will need an MP3 playing device and headphones for the audio file), or if you have the resources to go digital, set up a link to the collection on your class website. Numbering each item in the collection will facilitate later discussion. Make copies of the note catcher or have a digital version uploaded to your class website.

Step 2 Introduction. Pick one of the items (I will be using The Awakening) to introduce the activity. I will print The Awakening on card stock and cut it into a jigsaw puzzle. Each student will receive one piece when they enter homeroom, and we will introduce the topic by assembling the puzzle together.

Step 3 Gallery walk. Students rotate between gallery items, taking notes at each station (or each digital link). The teacher keeps time and prompts rotations. I like to rotate about every 2 minutes, but sometimes students need more or less time.

Step 4 Discussion. There are quite a few introverts in my homeroom, so I like to begin discussions in pairs and then move to sharing as a whole group. I’ll ask students to pair up (I often select pairs so students get to know someone new) and trade papers, then talk for a few minutes. When we convene as a whole group, students can share insights they gained from reviewing their partners’ work.

Silent Gallery Notecatcher

Item number

Your description & observations

What story does this item tell you?

What questions does this item raise for you?

Women’s History Month

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