Published at Wednesday, December 02nd, 2020 - 21:31:42 PM. 6th Grade Math. By Elisabeth Martinez.
We play a rendition of childhood game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, where I ask the kids to tape index cards containing the changes that happen during puberty on the appropriate gender symbol. Yes, more giggly! We then move on to basic anatomy and physiology, including an overview of the brain, glands, the pituitary gland, hormones, testosterone and estrogen, followed a discussion of the sperm, the egg, menstrual periods, wet dreams and ejaculation. The giggly is over, replaced with an occasional exclamation "Ewwwww, thats gross!" These outbursts are consistently normalized by reinforcement that the body is an amazingly intelligent and complex machine; that the miracle of life is indeed a miracle; and that each child in the room is, in fact, a miracle. We take some time for questions and then move on to an introduction to the emotional changes that happen during puberty as a set up for our next class.
Simple answer.as much as we are the same, we are different. And thats a really cool thing! If we can learn how to appreciate the differences and work with them instead of against them, we will much happier, more connected and more productive. We tie school policies into the conversation, set some expectations about limits and boundaries on behavior at school and help the kids identify their adult support systems for any questions or situations they may need help with. I sometimes get challenged by parents and teachers about covering this topic in mixed gender groups. My answer is always the same. Its important to begin healthy communication and understanding about gender differences early on in the process. Its a set up for healthy and effective communication and mutual respect over the life span. Another issue is the impact of technology on how and when kids are developing relationships today as well as the kinds of information they have available at their fingertips. This makes it even more necessary to teach skills and boundaries at this age.
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