Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Expecting Them to Be Boys

A few weeks ago, on Look at My Happy Rainbow, Mr. A. talked about boys and school. If you didn't read his post and watch the posted video, I recommend you go check it out. (In fact, I'd recommend that you read his blog regularly.)

It often seems that when I see/read/learn/hear something new, I get confronted with that same issue in my classroom. This week, we did activities focused on families. In blocks we used our great "doll house" with furniture. (It's from Kaplan but now is now available. Sorry.)

Boys converged on the materials, assembled the walls, and began to fill the house the furniture. I'm a big advocate of open-ended activities and allowing kids to choose how the activity flows, so the furniture placement is...well...interesting.

Checking the instructions - to make sure it's "right"

Couch and chairs across from the toilet and sink - Hmmm.

Then I came along later and found that the people were now all on top of the furniture.

Boys came back to the activity later and I hear some "disturbing" conversation:

"The baby is roasting." "He's in the oven." "It's toasty warm."

"The boy's head is in the toilet." (Yes, there's a toilet with this furniture set.)

"Look at what she is doing. Look at what he's doing."

"Now the baby is sleeping in the toilet."

I heard some giggling. And the conversation ratcheted up a little louder.

How did I respond? "The oven doesn't seem like a safe place to sleep." "Poor baby." "Wow, that looks hard to do." "His head in the toilet is silly." "It would be warm if you were in an oven."

It's important to let kids be silly or to explore different ideas in a safe environment. Now, truthfully, both boys and girls are silly and may explore some of these ideas. But usually boys are leading the charge. If things get too loud, I encourage them to lower the noise level. If they get a little too "energetic," I'll tell them they need to settle a little bit since we are inside. But I don't stop a little energetic rough play or silly play. My classroom should be a place to explore these ideas and express these feelings. If it is, then my classroom becomes a safe haven to have true honest feelings and conversations. And that's what I want.


  1. Clearly you are providing a safe, loving environment in which your boys feel free and confident to express themselves through jokes and silliness Scott. You ought to be congratulated!
    Donna :) :)