Gender Identity & Gender Roles

You forgot your skirt, Amelia Bloomer

Author(s): Shana Corey & Chesley McLaren

Indigo: N/A

Social Justice focus: Gender roles/ Women’s rights

Synopsis: This picture book explores women’s rights in America at the end of the 19C through the lens of fashion. Amelia Bloomer popularized a style of clothing that was less restrictive than the stiff petticoats then worn by women. At the end of the story the Author’s Note gives historical details about Amelia Bloomer and the “bloomers” named after her.

Lesson Plan: Britney Milhomens

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Lesson Plan (Abbreviated Template)

Consecutive and Concurrent Programs

Unit/Topic: Detecting Biases and Stereotypes in the Media

Grade: 6

Lesson: Students will be looking at the effects of gender stereotypes in the media and creating alternative representations of ads and commercials.

Curriculum Areas:
1) Grade 6 Social Studies Strand A: Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present

A1: Application: assess contributions to Canadian identities made by various groups and communities, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, and by various features of Canadian communities and regions (p. 126).

A1.3: explain how various groups have contributed to the goal of inclusiveness in Canada and assess the extent to which Canada has achieved the goal of being an inclusive society (p. 121)

*For the purpose of this lesson, the historical implications/portrayals of women will not be included but can be in a future lesson.

2) Grade 6 The Arts Strand B: Drama

B1: Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process to process drama and the development of drama works, using the elements and conventions of drama to communicate feelings, ideas, and multiple perspectives (p. 124)

B1.3: Plan and shape the direction of the drama or role play by introducing new perspectives and ideas, both in and out of role (p. 125).

*For the purpose of this lesson, the dramatic portion of the lesson (presenting alternative views of media texts) and the curriculum expectations will be used for the final task of this lesson.

**3) Grade 6 Health and Physical Education (see below)

**4) Grade 6 Language Arts (see below)

Curriculum Expectations:
Grade 6 Language Arts: Media Literacy

1. Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of media texts.

-1.2: Interpret media texts, using overt and implied messages as evidence for their interpretations (p. 117).

Grade 6 Language Arts: Oral Communication

1. Listen in order to understand and respond appropriately in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes (p. 108)

-1.8: Identify the point of view presented in oral texts, determine wither they agree with the point of view, and suggest other possible perspectives (p. 109)

Grade 6 Health and Physical Education

C3: Demonstrate the ability to make connections that relate to health and well-being—how their choices and behaviours affect both themselves and others, and how factors in the world around them affect their own and others’ health and well-being (p. 171).

C3.3: Assess the effects of stereotypes, including…assumptions regarding gender roles and expectations…on an individual’s self-concept, social inclusion, and relationships with other, and propose appropriate ways of responding to and changing assumptions and stereotypes (p. 177).

Learning Goal(s):

We are learning to listen and interpret oral texts about a social justice issue and make personal or worldly connections.

We are learning to interpret media texts and to identify and justify overt or implied messages based on gender.

Success Criteria:

I can identify the difference between overt and implied messages.

I can identify biases and stereotypes in society based on prior knowledge.

I can identify the main message or goal in a media text (advertisements, commercials, etc.) while considering gender biases/ stereotypes.

I can discuss the effects of stereotypes in an oral or written form.


  • The short story has YouTube videos available for students that need to hear the book a second time or prefer to use a Chromebook to view the book personally.
  • Provide additional time for reflection.
  • Instructions written on the board and/or extra visual and verbal cues and prompts.
  • Use of a Chromebook or iPad to write reflection. Use of google read-and-write available.
  • If necessary, use ability grouping or meaningful pairings in the class.
  • Provide a graphic organizer for ELL students or lower level writing students to aid with writing reflection and/or scribe for the student or provide the student with the opportunity to verbally reflect on their learning.

Minds-on: Students will have some prior knowledge about implied/ overt messages and stereotypes in their own lives or in society to be able to call on these experiences and make connections. Students will be engaged by being able to express their own knowledge to start the lesson.

Minutes: 15 minutes


  • Teacher will ask the question, “what is a stereotype?” Using student responses, the teacher will write a definition on the board of what the students came up with.
  • Students will be put in groups by being numbered off into numbers 1-6. There will be 6 groups of approximately 4 students.
  • Students will be given a piece of chart paper with the drawing of a large box on it. Half the groups (3 groups) will have the word “girl” in the box and the other 3 groups will have the word “boy” in their box. Students will be asked to write gender stereotypes inside the box that they know from either previous experiences or stereotypes they’ve seen or heard someone say.       EXTENSION: This could be done in the form of using magazines and cutting out words/images that perpetuate stereotypes/implied meanings in the form of a collage.
  • Students will post their chart papers around the room and share their responses, either using words or by acting it out.
  • The teacher will be moving from group to group encouraging discussion and/or asking critical questions. Examples of questions:
  • Do you agree with…?
    • What do you think about…?
    • How is… an example of a stereotype?

Action The teacher will introduce the short story, “You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer,” by Shana Corey using critical questions before, during and after reading.

Minutes: 30 minutes.


  • Teacher will read the short story, “You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer,” by Shana Corey and ask questions before, during, and after reading. Questions might be:


  • Tell class they are about to hear a picture book about the life and times of Amelia Bloomer. Show students the cover and ask them to make observations and predictions about the story.


  • Are there any styles today that your parents disapprove of? Do you agree? Would you wear them? Would you object to other people wearing them?
  • Why do you think it was only appropriate for women to wear skirts? Are girls able to do as much as the boys in the book?
  • Why does Amelia think it’s so silly that women are expected to dress this way?


  • How and why did Bloomer change women’s dress and how did people react to these changes?
  • Did you detect any stereotypes in the short story? If so, what were they?
  • The story ends with two questions. How would you answer them?
  • Does the school have a dress code? What is it? Do you think it’s fair that the school has a dress code?
  • Teacher will provide a quick overview of the short story: There were many inequalities between men and women during this time period. Amelia Bloomer decided to go against the social norms of society and do something that made her happy. This made her an “out of the box” character.
  • One student from each group will gather their group’s chart paper. Students will be asked to write ways boys/girls could be “out of the box” relating to stereotypes. Students will write their responses visually outside the box on their chart paper.
  • Teacher will circulate to observe discussions amongst each group.

Consolidation: Students will be able to reflect on a stereotype they find in the media and offer ways to combat stereotypes.

Minutes: 15 minutes


  • Students will research or use a magazine to find a commercial or advertisement that perpetuates a gender stereotype.
  • Students will be given an opportunity to write in their response journal and will be given a list of guiding questions:
  • What is a gender stereotype? Have you experienced a gender stereotype in your life? How is the example you found a gender stereotype?
  • Using your example, how might gender stereotypes be negative? Positive?
  • Using your example, how could gender stereotypes be implied or overt? Is your example an example of an implied or overt stereotype? How do you know?

Assessment: Assessment for learning using a checkbric (using the learning goals) with a section on written feedback and next steps.
Students will be assessed on their ability to identify the difference between overt/implied messages and detect biases and stereotypes by picking an example of one in the media/online. Students will also be assessed on their ability to make personal or worldly connections to stereotypes. Students will also be assessed on their ability to discuss the effects of stereotypes in an oral or written form.


  • 6 chart papers with a box drawn on it/markers.
  • White board with markers.
  • Magazines with scissors and/or glue.
  • iPads, Chromebooks/ access to internet.
  • Short story entitled “You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer” by Shana Corey.

REFLECTION: Questions to determine the success of your lesson:

  • Were my students successful in meeting the learning goals and success criteria? How do I know?
  • Did my instructional decisions meet the needs of all students? If not, what are my next steps?
  • What worked well and why?
  • What will I do differently in the future when teaching this lesson? For the subsequent lesson?
  • What are the next steps for my professional learning?


Students will use the example of the commercial or magazine/online stereotyped advertisement they found to create an alternate version of it that doesn’t perpetuate a stereotype. Students will be able to create their own dramatic skit or use technology to recreate the commercial/ advertisement.

*Students will be assessed using overall expectation 3 in the grade 6 media literacy strand (creating media texts).


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Social Justice Picture Books Copyright © 2019 by Ruth McQuirter, editor and Gurbinder Kaur, contributing editor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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