Perseverance Activities for Students

How to Teach Perseverance through the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Perseverance for Students

We all know that perseverance is a critical component of student success, yet we wonder about perseverance activities for students that are meaningful and engaging. Although there are no shortcuts to teaching perseverance, these perseverance activities for students might give you some fresh ideas.

In our character strength lessons, students to learn the meaning of perseverance and its synonyms. The perseverance activities in our perseverance lesson provide students a clear and common understanding of the meaning of the word, perseverance.

According with VIA Institute on Character, perseverance means finishing what one starts, persisting in a course of action despite obstacles, “getting it done,” and taking pleasure in completing tasks.

The Suffrage Movement as an Example of Perseverance

To say that the suffragist movement is a great representation of perseverance is an understatement. Spanning over 70 years to include nine presidents and multiple generations, the suffrage movement is truly a demonstration of perseverance. Starting with the women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, suffragists lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to help women gain the right to vote. Progress was slow, but the suffragists persevered.

The women's suffrage movement is a great example of the character strength perseverance.

Slowly, women began earning the right to vote, starting in the progressive western states. For example, women in Wyoming and other western states started getting the right to vote in 1869. This contrasted sharply with many northeastern states, in which women didn’t get the right to vote for another 50 years. In fact, some eastern states didn’t give women the right to vote until the passage of the 19th Amendment made it a federal law that women could vote.

The suffragists demonstrated perseverance in gaining the right to vote.

With the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, 26 million women could no longer be denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. It was the greatest expansion of voting rights in American history. However, the struggle had lasted so long that many of the women who started it, such as Susan B. Anthony, died by the time that the 19th Amendment passed in 1920. Anthony even acknowledged the bitterness of not getting to see voting rights for women before she died:

According to Susan B. Anthony, "To think, I have had more than 60 years of hard struggle for a little liberty, and then to die without it seems so cruel."

Using the suffrage movement as a backdrop for teaching perseverance is effective and interesting for students. We learn through stories, and the story of the suffrage movement is long, interesting, and affects everyone. It can show students that change is possible, although it is often a long and slow process that requires patience. Our lesson on perseverance has been thoughtfully designed to allow students to read a story of perseverance, reflect on their own perseverance, and to learn ways to increase their perseverance.

Perseverance activities for students to read, write, solve puzzles, and learn ways to perseverance.

5 Ways to Increase Perseverance 

  • Encourage students to ask for help or feedback. Help students to see that a person who seeks help is a solution seeker.
  • Encourage students to surround themselves with positive people. You know that when you surround yourself with positive people, they support you and encourage you, and they will be there to help you when you need it. This can be a huge help when you are trying to reach your goals, as it can be difficult to do it alone. With the support of others, you are more likely to succeed.
  • Teach students how to set a goal and take small steps toward achieving it. Take a step, even just a small one. Identify one small thing you can do right now to make progress towards your goal. Helping students see the value of taking small steps to move forward may be just what they need to keep going.
  • Guide students to reflect on a time that they persisted. Share examples of times that you persisted. Remembering times that you persisted can strengthen your resolve and give you energy, focus and determination to keep going.
  • Read biographies of historical figures who have had to perseverance through challenges and hardship. Learning about other people’s struggles can renew our grit to keep going. An example of a perseverance activity for students is our lesson on Perseverance featuring Susan B. Anthony, one of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement. By reading about others, students can see how progress is seldom a straight line; progress is more of a zigzag.

Other Character Strength Lessons

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