Phillips Friday Focus

April 8, 2016

Helping BOYS Succeed in the Classroom

Whoa! Boys make bad decisions frequently and they are often disruptive by doing so. The majority of our office referrals come from boys - boys in the restroom, boys at recess, boys in the classroom. You get the idea. In the book, "Helping Boys Succeed in School," Dr. Neu and Rich Weinfeld help us identify potential road blocks and solutions to help boys better relate to you and your content, and to equip them to be better students.

  • "Rather than changing the boys to fit our schools, schools might change to capitalize and expand on the strengths of boys." How many times have you played a physical or competitive game where your boys were the leaders in the class? We're always shocked by how much they participated and how much they actually knew. When we make activities mobile and competitive, we are designing activities that set our boys up for success. And when your boys are successful, chances are that classroom discipline decreases as well.
  • "Another powerful emotional factor that is at play in the classroom is the boys' extreme sensitivity to shame." This transcends all cultures and stereotypes; we see it time and time again. When correction is made in a very public way in front of peers, we have essentially drawn a line in the sand and the situation generally escalates. So now, their choice is to suffer consequences or lose face in front of their peers. They almost always make the same choice: they can live with parent and office discipline; they cannot, however, live with a persona that portrays them as weak. So before we set out to teach our boys a lesson, we need to ask ourselves a question. What are we trying to teach them? Are we wanting them to comply with our directions and meet our expectations, or are we wanting to teach them a lesson about how this class is going to run?
  • "There is a biological need for boys to express themselves through motion and to find an outlet for competition." While this is very similar to the first point, I would like to add that the expectation to sit in their seat and do the same activity quietly for 70 minutes goes against their very nature. The quote above references a biological need, which is why I believe we have so many that fidget, wiggle, and cause us to say things like, "He just can't sit still!" That's just it - he can't sit still. Some boys have matured enough to know they don't want to get in trouble, so their eyes glass over. They may be there physically, but not mentally. Their minds are elsewhere. The biggest gift we can give is the gift of transitions. Give them an opportunity move, shift gears, refocus. It will pay dividends to the teacher, the boys, and those poor girls that have to sit next to them day in and day out.
  • "When a boy sees that his teacher or parent knows who he is at his best, what he is capable of, and what he is interested in, the boy will be much more likely to be willing to work on developing his weaker areas." This quote is really about building relationships with our students. We just build them differently with boys and girls. Just like we question our kids in class to get feedback, we need to ask students questions about their interests and pay attention to their responses. The bottom line is that if we want to be influential, we need to know and capitalize on what already influences our students.

I just wonder what our classrooms would look like if, when we planned, we intentionally included activities that would play to strengths of our boys. Movement, activity, transitions, sport games, and competitions would enhance any classroom, regardless of the content. In the end, isn't student engagement and participation what really gives us a sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction?

What's Ahead...

April 11-Dental Health presentation in PE today

April 12- 4th ELAR planning

April 13-SST meetings (date change), **3:45 Staff Meeting**

April 15 Teacher self report (parts 2 and 3 due), 3rd grade Awards

April 18-April 29-Teacher Summatives

April 18-4th grade Awards

April 19-21- 4th grade Science Fair

April 22-NED Show at 1:30

April 27-Secretaries' Day

May 2-3-Google Training(during conference periods)/Teacher Appreciation Week begins

May 9-STAAR Math

May 10-STAAR Reading