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Mary Ellen Bower

Teacher Bio
Mary Ellen Bower, a Boston Public School Lead Teacher, has taught elementary and high school classes for more than three decades. She is the School to Career Coordinator at West Roxbury High School, a Massachusetts Service Learning Leader school and leads a TEACHBoston career pathway. Mary Ellen has received the Golden Apple, Massachusetts Silent Hero Award, and Harvard Book Award for teachers. She conducts literacy and career workshops citywide and nationally and has presented for the Gates Foundation. As a mentor she supports new teachers and coordinates a support group for them. She and her students, recipients of Fleet's ALL Star 2000 and 2001 award for community service, have testified before the Massachusetts State Legislature and have presented at statewide Department of Education conferences.

Subject Areas
English Language Arts, Technology, Career Education

Grade Levels
11 - 12

Partnerships between High School & Elementary School student


Lucy's Literacy Legacy ~
Portrait of a Women's Rights Leader


Key Question How can high school students teach younger children about a famous leader in the women's rights movement?

Overview TEACHBoston students examine three local public arts portraits of Lucy Stone. Focusing on her life, they study her role in the women's rights movement through comparative readings, Internet research, and children's literature. Students gather and organize information for their own written portraits of this passionate reformer. After publication, they choose Women's History month to share their books and "Take Home" packets with elementary school visitors to the school's Service Learning Festival. Reading their Lucy Stone biographies to young children, these high schoolers voice the importance of literacy for all.

Active Exploration + Applied Learning + Adult Connections
Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
View Lucy Stone portraits at BWM, Boston Public Library & Massachusetts State House.
Read & conduct Internet research on Stone's role in the women's rights movement.
Begin reflections journal.
Create Lucy Stone timeline.
Read & analyze children's biographies on women leaders.
Write 5 paragraph essays about Lucy Stone.
Transform essays into storyboards & illustrated biographies of Lucy Stone.
Prepare "Take Home" packets for March Service Learning Festival.
Include Lucy Stone portrait in invitations to Service Learning Festival.
Display Lucy Stone timeline in neighborhood storefront.
Donate storyboard to Boston's Lucy Stone School.
Choose Lucy Stone Day March 8 to broadcast her quotations on school TV station.
Read original Lucy Stone biographies at Service Learning Festival.
Distribute "Take Home" packets to children at Service Learning Festival.
Compare Lucy Stone's & daughter Alice Stone Blackwell's roles as editors of Women's Journal.
Interview local librarian on public library's literacy services for all.
Conduct Internet research on careers related to children's books: authors, illustrators, graphic designers, photographers, storytellers & publishers.
Learn about the Boston Women's Commission & its educational programs & opportunities for girls.

Academic Rigor

Learning Standards English Language Arts
Demonstrate understanding of reference materials.
Reading and Literature
Use before, during, and after reading strategies.
Ask questions to clarify information.
Collect information for writing from different texts and sources.
Write for different purposes and for different audiences.
Select appropriate strategies for revising work.
Write well-organized stories, essays or scripts.
Identify visual or aural techniques used in a media message for a particular audience.
Create media presentations that effectively use graphics, images, and/or sound to present a distinct point of view on a topic.

School to Career Competencies

Develop Communication and Literacy Skills.
Communicate and understand ideas and information.
Use technology.
Initiate and complete entire activities.
Act professionally.
Take responsibility for career and life choices.


Students and teacher provide feedback on Reflection Journals and Children's Literature Review Did I Sheets. They use checklists and rubrics to evaluate essays and Read Aloud presentations.

Software or Materials Used For Technology: Microsoft Word, Print Master, Internet access; for material on Lucy Stone and women's rights movement: Children's Biographies on Women's Rights; Making the World Better: The Struggle for Equality in 19th Century America a curriculum packet produced for State House Women's Leadership Project developed by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Tsongas Industrial History Center at the University of Massachusetts/Lowell; The Bostonian Society Resource Guide from Teaching Boston History Workshop: "Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, Phillis Wheatley ~ Patriotism, Poetry and Persistence"; "The Boston Women's Memorial Curriculum Writing for Change: The Power of Women's Words" (contact BWHT for availability and ordering information); Boston Women's Heritage Trail Guidebook; for book making: book binding machine, color printer, digital camera. art supplies.

Teacher Developed Materials T Chart pre-writing activity, Children's Biographies on Women's Rights, Task Description Writing a Children's Book, Did I Sheets for Literature Review of Children's Biographies, Rubrics for scoring Key Questions, biographies, and presentations.

Student Developed Materials Reflections Lucy Stone Timeline, Essay on Lucy Stone, Story Board, Children's Books on Lucy Stone, Invitation to Service Learning Festival, Activity Sheets on Lucy Stone for Take Home packets.

Web Sites Boston Women's Heritage Trail, City of Boston The Boston Women's Memorial, Oberlin College Lucy Stone, The History Net Women's History

Final Words This project is about literacy. Students read, write, and present a product. They learn that effective effort is needed to publish a professional looking book. Most of all, they learn the meaning of Lucy Stone's final words, "Make the world better."

Teacher Tip Publishing books for children builds confidence. The progress that I see in student's writing and presentation skills is gratifying. During the learning process, the bookmakers are not aware of their improving skills, but when their biographies are completed, students are delighted with their ability to write and communicate.

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