Friday, February 15, 2013

Boys versus Girls

I recently read an article in Time Magazine by @erikachristakis the link is here: Do Teachers Really Discriminate Against Boys?  This article forced me to research some things and this is what I discovered-

*  A 2006 study found that boys are almost twice as likely as girls to have a learning disability (10% vs. 6%) and almost 3 times as likely to have a diagnosis of ADHD (11% vs. 4%)

*  Boys represent 90 percent of discipline referrals

*  80 percent of high school dropouts are male

*  Males make up fewer than 40 percent of college students (Gurian, 2001)

*  Boys earn 70 percent of Ds and Fs and fewer than half of the As

*  The 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress finds boys one and one-half years behind girls in reading/writing

As I read the article and the statistics one feeling came over me...sadness.  I wasn't completely shocked, I wasn't angry, the feeling I couldn't shake is being sad.  As educators we may say, "I teach everyone the same."  Well this wouldn't be correct or appropriate.  I mean, I'm sure at some point I uttered those same words, but if I was truly doing my job I WOULDN'T teach all students the same.  I'll admit, the young studious girl that listens, follows along, and participates is much easier to teach than the rambunctious boy that is constantly trying to get in the last word.  As teachers we don't teach all students the same, we differentiate, we accommodate and we modify for student differences.  Sometimes the differences are ability and sometimes they are gender.  

I think back to my schooling, I was an average student.  Some days I felt engaged and excited to learn, other days I simply went through the motions.  I was a well-behaved boy that put forth decent effort, I was polite, and I was friendly.  I got the impression that my teachers usually liked me.  I did have a teacher that I struggled dearly with.  For anonymity purposes we will call him Mr. Easyen.  Early on in his room I was intimidated, maybe scared.  He positioned boys in the back and sides and all the girls in the front and center tables.  He would laugh and joke with the girls and with the boys he was very strict and authoritarian.  I did not care for his room.  One day my neighbor and I completed an assignment that was leading up to a Frog Dissection.  We were discussing how we couldn't wait to dissect the frog.  It was likely the first time in class that we were looking forward to something.  A second later that was gone.  Mr. Easyen walked up to us, scowled, grabbed our papers and ripped them in half.  He said cheating is not tolerated.  Immediately Doug and I looked at each other with open mouths...I then began to blurt out, "But We..." Mr. Easyen said, "shut it!"  You both just received a zero for cheating.

From that day forward I busted my rear to get my grade up.  Not Doug, he gave up and said he hated school.  I think back and this was the most blatant experience I ever had where a teacher was teaching to the opposite gender.  This isn't exactly what the article states, but this is an example of why boys sometimes lose interest and get "turned-off" to education.

Over the past couple weeks I have focused on Student Engagement, the research states that boys typically need - 

*  Use manipulatives to promote fine motor development. Boys are behind girls in this area when they start school.

*  Make lessons experiential and kinesthetic

*  Keep verbal instructions to no more than one minute at the elementary level

*  Use male mentors and role models, such as fathers, grandfathers, or other male volunteers

*  Let boys nurture one another through healthy aggression and direct empathy

So this week's big idea, how are you engaging all learners?  Is there a difference in how you approach male and female students?  Should there be?  Look at your data, is it similar to what the statistics say?  How could you make a difference in the gender disparity that we are seeing nationwide?  

Next Week at a Glance:

Monday, February 18th:  No School
Tuesday, February 19th:  SIFE Healthy Eating event at Warner Elementary 7pm-8pm 
Tuesday, February 19th:  String Team 4pm
Tuesday, February 19th:  After school SIP (40 indicators)
Tuesday, February 19th:  Practice Lockdown mid-morning
Wednesday, February 20th:  K-2 assembly
Wednesday, February 20th:  Kim Powell will be back for PLC time from 2:35-3:35
Friday, February 22nd:  Interest Fair set-up at Bean El. 4:00-5:30pm
Saturday, February 23rd:  Interest Fair at Bean El. 9am-12:00

iPad iNformation:

20 apps for struggling readers shared by @DrLaPrairie

Top 5 apps for Kids (week of Feb. 11-15)

Using Your iPad to Help Deliver Your Lesson shared by @YCS_Tech

Articles Worth Your Time:

Gender bias in teaching?

With boys and girls in mind

Project Based Learning Academy in our neck of the woods  shared by @dreambition

10 Wonderful Common Core Standards Cheat Sheets shared by @DarrinPeppard

10 ways to Fake a 21st Century Classroom (Is it really faking it?)  shared by @MrPowersCMS

The Book Whisperer gives thoughts on Acc. Reader shared by @donalynbooks

Videos Worth Your Time:

You must watch this video, "Not cool Robert Frost!"  (3 min)

Unbelievable image of a meteorite flashing across the sky! (1 min)

John Wooden, it isn't about sports and basketball.  Great video on life, philosophy, and character.  Highly recommend you take the time to listen.  (17 min)

Laughter is the best medicine! (4 min)

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