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Successfully Teaching Boys and Girls Together By Dr. Dave Kommer Ashland University

Boys Essential Differences

Language Arts

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Social Studies

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Mathematics

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Science

Girls

Have trouble discovering their best way to learn Competitive Active Risk takers Physical Spatial Math & Science Lack emotional language Influenced by the media

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Generally like to please the teacher Cooperative Relationships Use communication Non-risk takers Less physical Linguistic Language Arts & Social Studies Deal better with emotions View selves through the perceptions of others Hear better Better able to read the emotions of others Influenced by the media

Boys need choice of reading and prefer action and humor to relationships. Boys’ writing assignments should allow them to express pent up aggression. Some work may be filled with dark images, violence, and extreme images Start as Boys’ Writing Club Have boys build a model and then write about it

Projects and assignments that help them explore girls’ rites-of-passage Allow girls time to discuss emotions Start a Girls’ Book Club or Girls’ Magazine Club Journals Diaries

Projects that are open ended and allow boys to build models or re-enact historical events Assignments and projects that allow boys to learn what it means to “be a man” Boys love to debate. This is a successful strategy in social studies

Math Dictionary: Helps boys get organized Word Problems: Helps change the spatial nature of math to words Math Group Projects: Structure these to be active and practical

When doing experiments, give a brief introduction with basic safety tips and then let boys loose to explore. You can give guidance as questions arise Blow things up

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Narratives of historical characters of interest to girls Letters to historical characters Plays about historical events Projects about women in history Math Dictionary: Gives girls word symbols instead of numbers Word Problems: Since literacy is a strength, this helps girls in math Math Group Projects: The groups build relationships o Using varied methods is more girlfriendly o Use multi-modal techniques, such as instruction that is verbal, visual and tactile (note-taking) Girls want complete instructions before getting into experiments. After they get started, you only need to monitor

National Middle School Association Annual Conference 2009

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All Subjects/ Both Genders

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Separate the genders when necessary Character Education o Help develop boys’ emotional literacy. Note-taking o Boys do not know what to write and tend not to write anything Quick tension release activities Boys like computers, but tend to use it for games, to look up sports information, and other Internet activities o Have boys use the computer as a communication tool. Have them use Instant Messaging, Pen pals, and MySpace pages Help boys discover their best way of learning Graphic Organizers: Boys’ natural spatial tendency makes these good learning tools Media Literacy: Incorporate into content classes or advisory o Discuss the images of women as portrayed in the media o Discuss the images of masculinity shown in the media o Evaluate advertising techniques and tricks Moderate boys’ natural tendency to take unwarranted risks Use humor to keep the boys interested

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Separate the genders when necessary Cooperative Groups Character Education o Girls are all about relationships but need help to build positive ones o Discuss the ways girls tend to view themselves through the perceptions of others Note-taking o Girls want to write everything down. o Assign a note buddy for poor note-takers Call on girls as often as boys Girls use computers for Instant-Messaging and to look up Internet information on media stars o Encourage more technical uses of the computer, such as Excel, PowerPoint and content specific software Graphic Organizers: Girls begin to see information in non-linguistic ways Media Literacy: Incorporate this into content classes or advisory o Discuss the media image of a woman from her appearance to her position relative to men o Evaluate advertising techniques and tricks Encourage girls to be risk takers

National Middle School Association Annual Conference 2009

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Content Matrix