Guest Blogger: Gender Friendly Practices

Hi bloggers! My name is Kendra and you may remember me from my post last summer Mary left me for Michigan.

Now you may not know this, but Mary and I are complete nerds, and we’re taking a few online classes this summer. (I know, I’m regretting it some days too!) One of our classes is on gender and how boys and girls learn differently. It has been super interesting and opened my eyes to a few key differences that I wasn’t conscious or aware of. As soon as I started reading, I was already imagining my classroom and aspects that I would change/add. (Let’s be honest, I was also saying “ah-ha!” to a few of the things my husband does on the daily). I wanted to share a few quick ideas, since I know many of you are gearing up for the school year already. Although I normally teach the “big” kids (5th grade), I think these strategies can easily work in the primary grades too!

1. Lighting

Boys and girls work best in different light—this was a real light bulb moment for me! I had no idea! Most girls work best in low light, where as the majority of boys respond to bright lights better. How great would it be to create different nooks in the classroom for girls and boys to use? I can already picture a back table or area with lamps that boys can turn on when they are working there.

2. Graphic organizers

If you’ve ever dated a boy, this next difference won’t come as a shock (it will probably confirm some long help suspicions you’ve had!) Verbal communication is strength for most girls; where as boys often rely on nonverbal communication. This fact totally explains the many boys I’ve had that have struggled with the prewriting process in my classroom. An easy fix is to differ the process: allow girls to discuss their ideas and then record them in writing on graphic organizers. For boys, graphic organizers that allow them to draw pictures help them to recall their ideas as they get ready to write. They even add extra details based off of the pictures they started with.

How do you make your classroom gender friendly?

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