Women’s Suffrage Reflection Part II

Looking backward  -Laura E. FosterWhen we first started working on this DBQ we knew that we wanted to educate students on how to best analyze propaganda, understanding what each piece is trying to say, being able to discover how each piece goes about conveying its message, and what historical events are transpiring to bring about such pieces of work. At the beginning of this DBQ lesson there was talk of only showing pro-women’s suffrage propaganda, but we discovered that if the students had only positive propaganda to view, then the lesson loses some of its strength. As a result we had to make a slight change my overall lesson. Instead of using only pro-suffrage pieces, we would also use anti-suffrage pieces and  the students would compare, contrast, and analyze these pieces as a whole as well instead of independently.

I personally believe that the final project achieved all of my learning goals. My partner had a large amount of excellent material that we used and as a result we were able to created a DBQ that pushes students to both compare and contrast multiple pictures, as well as analyze individual pictures at a deep level.

The biggest lesson that I learned while working on this DBQ is that you have to be careful with what photographic material you use. Pictures are one of the most important parts of a DBQ and if the DBQ has poorly chosen pictures than the overall quality of it will suffer greatly. I also learned that you need to be careful when choosing a topic. While something such as the women’s suffrage movement is well documented through images and propaganda, there are other events that are either lacking sufficient pictures or lack any diversity in their imagery.

This DBQ is part of our class-produced, multi-touch iBook. Available free at iTunes

You can find our DBQ at Learnist

Image credit:  Library of Congress:  LC-DIG-ppmsca-02940
Title: Looking backward / Laura E. Foster.
Creator(s): Foster, Laura E., artist
Date Created/Published: c1912 August 22.

Incarceration and the Bill of Rights


I’ve always enjoyed creating lessons. While they are difficult at times, there are few other feelings akin to creating something with the express purpose of educating others. While this lesson is no different, and I am excited to have it be used in classrooms, I still have some reservations. The chances of me seeing any other educator using this lesson is incredibly close to zero, and while this is not a major hang up I feel as the creator of this lesson that I should observe each of its uses in order to modify it.

This lesson is created for high school classes. While this lesson can be used in its own solo lesson, it would be much more effective if this lesson was part of a larger unit on either World War II or a unit that focuses on the Bill of Rights.

Note: While it is possible to do this as a stand-alone lesson, it would be much more efficient if paired with another lesson educating about Japanese Incarceration. As another note: the times given for note taking etc. are not hard set, change them to best fit your classroom.

Grade Level: High School

Overview: Students will focus on the Japanese incarceration and its constitutionality in terms of the United States of America’s Bill of Rights.

Goals: Students should be able to think critically as well as discuss and support a chosen point of view.

Standard: Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.5 Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.

Objectives: To better understand Japanese incarceration and the Bill of Rights.

Resources: Suitcase, writing utensils, Bill of Rights handout, blank paper.


  • Ask students if they have prior knowledge on the Japanese incarceration during World War II, if students have no knowledge of this event quickly go over the basics of what happened.
  • Pass out Bill of Rights worksheet and have students read through the sheet.
  • As students are reading the Bill of Rights, number them between one and three. Students numbered one will be debating that the Japanese incarceration WAS constitutional while the students numbered two will be arguing that it was NOT constitutional. Students numbered three will be the judges.
  • Give students ten minutes to construct an argument that defends their assigned side. Judges should be monitoring other two students making sure they are on task and creating arguments. Students should be writing down their notes and arguments on a blank sheet of paper.
  • Break the students into groups of three, making sure to have one student of each number in the group. Students will then, in five-minute turns, argue their viewpoint. In the next five-minute turn students will both defend their argument while attempting to undermine their opponents’ argument. At this time the teacher should be walking around taking notes on students’ activities.
  • Judges should be taking careful notes as to both of the debater’s arguments. At the end of the assigned time the judge should write down which debater they believe had a stronger argument and why they believe this person was right.

Formative Assessment: Students will turn in their completed notes on the Bill of Rights

Summative Assessment: Students will be required to write a short essay on the unit test arguing for one viewpoint or the other.

Bill of Rights photo from: www.forbes.com

Women’s Suffrage

Suffrage is one of the most important rights that an individual can obtain in a democratic society. Despite the importance of this right, the right to vote has been withheld from a vast majority of the population. This DBQ will focus on the the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States from 1900-1920.

Our generative questions are:
– What is the role of image media in the suffrage movement?
– How are pro-and anti-suffrage movements depicted in media?
– What are the biases that are found in image media?
– How are political, social, and economic factors portrayed in image media?
These generative questions are worth answering due to the facts that they will give students a better understand not just of the struggles females (and to a lesser extent minorities) had to overcome in order to receive the ability to vote. These questions will also give students a look at certain aspects of American life and culture in the 20th century.
There is a massive amount of media devoted to either defending or defeating the women’ suffrage movement, and as a result finding pictures that both support or attack the movement will be no trouble. Some of the photos that we will use are below:
handicapped_vintage_suffrage_propaganda_print-r6cf18d8cbe5f4edf99e42d6105edb7a1_wvg_8byvr_512 Suffragette1

Students will use this DBQ to compare and contrast pictures from both pro-woman suffrage and anti- women suffrage, as well as understanding who the targeted audience was, and what argument each piece was making. This in depth analysis will allow students to better understand the media in their current lives as well as how that media affects them

A Reflection on Learning

I have always been a ‘fly by the seat kind of guy’ so at first, the concept of a lesson study seemed pointless to me. This viewpoint changed slightly however, once I realized how effective it was to have other people look over the lesson that you plan to teach.

Grouping up a fellow student who held a similar lesson was an incredibly informative experience, and I learned a number of things that would never have occured to me if I simply wrote up my lesson and then presented it. I plan on modifying my already existing lesson plan to include the tips and advice that was given to me during this time. Unfortunately, once we stopped our one on one meetings the overall concept began to drag. Far too much time was spent simply listening to other groups talking, and many times they were talking about lessons that had no common ground with my own, and while there was some discussion between multiple groups I feel as though there could have been more. One way this could have improved was to space out student presentations, or simply stop them after 5 or so minutes, that way we would not have been overwhelmed by what was going on.

I do think that working with peers is a very effective way to improve our lessons (as seen through my lesson improving during our one on one meetings) but I feel that working with peers, in the sense of an entire classroom, would have been much more effective if we were given a lesson before hand, made a lesson plan for that, and then discussed that all having something in common.

As an absolute overall, I think that this lesson gives a unique insight as to what many of us believe students should do, and while there are some that are more creative than others (tug of war for example) I believe that we are all desperately trying to convey history to our students in an active and engaging way that does not rely on simple and inane lecturing, One other aspect that comes to light due to this lesson is the dedication of each student teacher, it becomes obvious from listening each person speak that they put true effort into their study, and that is a very heartening pattern to see.