Addressing Gender Specific Play

Unit Essential Question:  What types of gender roles are found in our classroom and community?  How do these roles change when you are in different places or with different people?

Lesson Essential Question:  What does our classroom and community think about the types of activities that only boys/girls can play?  Is it ok to tell someone that they cannot play with you because of their gender? 

NCSS Standards:
·         Standard 4: Individual Development and Identity

o   This lesson investigates which activities that our classroom and community define as only for girls or boys and will help develop students’ concepts of what boys and girls should be allowed to participate in – broadening their perspective of gender specific play.

·         Standard 5: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

o   This lesson will investigates how groups of people can discriminate against a specific gender in regards to play.  Students will better realize how it feels to be excluded from a favorite activity on an individual level.

MMSD Standards
·         Demonstrate confidence in expressing one’s own beliefs and opinions

·         Demonstrate empathy for feelings of others

·         Participate in making rules and guidelines for various groups and situations

Elementary Education Standards:
·         Standard 2: Understands the Social Contexts of Schooling

o   Through this lesson, students will understand that social contexts of gender specific play affect their lives within the school community and on a broader level.

·         Standard 6: Connects School and Community

o   Through this lesson, students will connect gender specific play to the community’s perspective of what boys and girls should do in their spare time.

·         Mama Played Baseball by David A. Adler

·         A League of Their Own DVD

·         Chart paper

·         Poster paper

·         Markers

·         Pictures of students in the classroom/members of the community participating in an activity

·         Students will recognize what activities are gender specific with the context of the school and the community.

·         Students will create Venn diagrams comparing gender specific play within the classroom and community.

·         Students will learn about changing gender roles with regards to play and profession within a historical context.

·         Students will discuss how to handle whether specific genders should be allowed to play certain activities within a school context.

Lesson Context:
·         This lesson will be taught following the gender roles and profession lesson with the transitional lesson taking place on the first day.  Students will have had previous experience working with Venn diagrams and class meetings.

Lesson Opening:
Day One:
·         Have the students come to the carpet/large discussion area and have them sit facing the teacher.

·         Ask the students questions about gender specific jobs

o   Why do you think that our community has jobs that most people see as only for women/men?

o   How do you think these thoughts and perspectives have changed throughout time?  What types of jobs do you think women/men would most likely have in this community fifty years ago?

·         Talk to the students about the role of women before WWII and how the war helped shift these roles.  What do you think the men decided to do once the war started?  How might the role of women in the workplace shift if the men are at war?  Talk about how jobs opened up for women since the men were drafted for the war and how women needed to work in order to earn enough money to support their family.  Tell the students background information about the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.

·         Read Mama Played Baseball by David A. Adler and ask questions throughout as class discussion

o   Why do you think that her mother decided to try out for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League?

o   How do you think the girl felt about her mother trying out for the team?

o   Do you think other people in her community would have supported her?

o   What do you think about the uniform that her mom had to wear?  Does it look like the uniforms that baseball players today wear?

o   Do you think that her father would have let her mother keep playing baseball even after he returned home from the war?  (explain how this league ended shortly after the end of the war)

·         Show the students 2 clips of A League of Their Own – Etiquette lessons & tryouts in the gym clips

·         Discuss questions about the clips in a think/pair/share format

o   Etiquette lesson questions:  Why do you think that the women had to get a makeover and go to etiquette lessons as a part of playing in this league?  Do you think that this was something that the women wanted to do or thought was important?

o   Tryouts in gym questions:  Why do you think that this woman tried out for the women’s baseball league?  Do you think that the other men in the gym saw her as their friend?  How do you think the men felt knowing that she was better at baseball than they were?  Do you think it is ok for this woman to play baseball with men?  Would they have let her play with them if she was not better at baseball than them?  Should they?

Day Two:
·         Have the students come to the carpet/large discussion area and have them sit in a circle.  Discuss different questions about the material from the previous day.  Do you think that the communities of women who were a part of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League supported them?  How might their perspective of them change if they went to see them play baseball?  How do you think other students would react if the girl from the story tried to play baseball (or another sport) with the boys at her school?

·         Discuss as a class gender specific activities seen within the school and community context as a class discussion.  Record their ideas on a piece of chart paper.

o   What types of activities do girls/boys usually participate in school?  What types of activities to girls/boys usually participate in the community?

o   Why do you think that these activities are different for boys and girls?

·         Tell the students that they will be making two Venn diagrams about gender roles and play – one within the context of school and one within the context of the community.  The students will be split up into groups to create these Venn diagrams.  In preparation for the Venn diagrams, the teacher will go around the school/community taking pictures of people participating in different activities and make copies of these pictures so that the students can paste them in their Venn diagram.  On one side of each Venn diagram will be activities that the group defines as mostly girls participate in and on the other side will be activities that the group defines as mostly boys participate in.  The middle will be for activities that are seen equally for both boys and girls.  Students will be making these Venn diagrams on poster paper.

·         Bring back the students together for a class discussion about the similarities and differences between these two Venn diagrams.

o   What are some similarities between these diagrams?  What are some differences?

o   Do you think that these perspectives should stay the same or change?  How could we change this perspective?

Day Three:  Class Meeting
·         Have the students come to the carpet/large discussion area and have them sit in a circle.

·         Tell the students that we will be having a class meeting about different situations that I have witnessed on the playground.  I have noticed that sometimes students will say that another person cannot play with them because of their gender.  How might this person feel if you tell them that they cannot play with you?  Give a personal example of when I was in elementary school and the boys wouldn’t let the girls play football with them at recess.  Tell the students that we will pass the talking piece around and that they can share a comment, idea, opinion, or question about this topic.  Explain that I do not necessarily want to find a solution to this problem but just discuss if it is fair to not let someone play with you because of their gender.  Should there be a rule that you cannot say you can’t play? (Vivian Paley style) 

·         Let each student express their opinion about the matter and then open the floor for discussion.  Teacher will not lead the students’ discussions but rather use guiding questions to question perspectives/ideas that the students have about this issue.

Lesson Closure:
·         Tell the students that this was a great start to the exploration of this topic and that we will continue to question these ideas and opinions with the help of other people within the school/community.

·         Look at the Venn diagrams that they completed to make sure that they clearly defined their idea of the concept of gender specific play.

·         Ask review questions the next day about the history of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League to check for understanding.

·         Observe the students discuss and listen to each other about whether they should discriminate against who can and cannot play in school.  Note students who participate and share thoughts.

Adler, D.A. (2003). Mama played baseball. Harcourt Children's Books.

Marshall, P. (Director). (1992). A league of their own [Theater].