Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Boy Friendly vs. Boy Proof Classroom

Thanks for joining me today on a topic that is near and dear to my heart!  No, I don't have little boys of my own (yet)!  But I do have brothers.  I have a husband.  And I teach wonderful little boys every year that steal my heart with their bright smiles, high energy and mischievous ways.  And every year I worry about where I'm sending them to in the future.  Will their new teacher understand the unique needs of boys?  Will they grow up to be lifelong readers and writers?  Will they graduate from college someday?  As it so happens, the odds are not in their favor.

What is going on people?  According to recent research, here's some of what's happening:

What do the boys have to say about all this?  Well, in survey results shared by Kathleen Cleveland in her book Teaching Boys Who Struggle in School, here's what they shared:

I want to step in a brief minute and share why this hurts my heart so.  I have a wonderful husband.  He is the best hard-working, down-to-Earth guy I've ever met.  I don't talk much about him because I figure this blog is mostly for teaching ideas, but I love him from the top of his head to the tips of his toes!

If you're ever stranded on an island, he would be your man.  He can also recite facts, names, and dates of battles like you couldn't believe.  He can name almost every country in the world and even knows their location on the map!  He's the kind of guy that can navigate blindfolded, put together furniture without looking at the directions, and so on.  Studying battle maps?  You bet.  Watching endless hours of documentaries and retaining every fact?  Sure thing.  Picking up a book?

Houston, we have a problem.

My husband hasn't read a book for pleasure in years.  In fact, I think he's only read about 3-4 books for pleasure in his entire lifetime.  And he's not the only one.  The world is full of boys we have failed in school, who grow up and never know the joys of diving deep into a good book.  

This problem (and it IS a problem) isn't just confined to males.  When I got a pedicure last week with my mom, she asked me if I was catching up on my reading this summer.  I said it was great and I'd read my way through about 20 books the last month.  (Keep in mind we don't have kids yet!)  My pedicurist dropped my foot and said she didn't think she had read 20 books in her entire lifetime, and everyone in the room enthusiastically agreed.  (Am I the only one who read all the assigned books in high school and college, then?)

So what can you do about it?  Who better to tell us than the boys themselves?  Here's some ideas based on what boys like best about school:

I'll be talking more about each of these in the coming weeks!  Looking for more resources in the meantime?  You might want to check some of these out!

Thanks for reading through my rant today!  I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!


  1. Such a cool topic! AND important! Statistically there are more boys than girls in special ed. Our summer school group has 1 girl and 7 boys in it! Some of our pre-school teachers end up with mostly boys in their classroom too. Such a great topic to elaborate on too!

    Creating & Teaching

    1. You are so right Erin! I forgot to add the bullet point on how much more likely boys are than girls to be diagnosed with a learning disability. Sometimes I wonder if it's more that they learn differently. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I love this post. Thank you for sharing. I teach Early Childhood Special Education and as you can imagine most of my students are boys. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. :)
    Preschool Wonders