How it works:
In this program, each student creates a scroll depicting the life and/or
achievements of a woman. The woman can be famous, historical,
contemporary, legendary, fictional, or someone the student knows and
admires. In preparation for their work, students use the Internet to find out about the lives of
significant women. Suggested sites include Women in
and National Women's History Project: www.nwhp.org/.
As they research or interview a women, students take note of the
subject's name, date and place of birth, childhood and young adulthood
experiences that shaped her future, role models, education, and
accomplishments and/or contributions to society. Using the images and
information found on the Internet, the students use pencils and paper
to pre-plan their scrolls in a horizontal or vertical format. They use
tempera paint and brushes on rice paper to create the final drawing.
The completed drawings are made into scrolls by attaching wooden
dowels on each end using white glue. A ribbon is used to hang and/or
close the scroll.
Students understand and apply media, techniques, and processes related
to the visual arts and communicating various ideas. They understand
the visual arts in relation to history and cultures. They also use
computer databases to locate sources for research topics.
The students do their research on a networked Macintosh lab with
Internet access. To create the scrolls they use rice paper, pencils,
Chinese style brushes, tempera paint, white glue, wood dowels, and
The original participants were heterogeneously grouped eighth grade
students at the Institute for Collaborative Education, a small New
York City public school. The writing, artistic, and technical skills
of the students varied.
Women's History Scrolls engages the students' artistic,
research, and writing skills as they learn about the lives of women
they consider to be significant. This is a project that is perfect for
Women's History Month or any time of the year.
Let the students choose their own role model or significant woman for
this project. That significant woman can be a family member, star,
historical figure, or even a fictional woman they read about and
About the teacher:
Meryl Meisler, digital art teacher at the Institute for
Collaborative Education, has taught art in the New York City public schools
since 1979. A recipient of a Disney American Teacher award as well as
numerous Impact II grants and other awards, she serves on the Teachers Network
Board of Advisors.