I Can Do Anything
- Grades: PreK–K
- Unit Plan:
- Draw and tell about what they think boys and girls are able to do after a class discussion and a reading.
- Compare and contrast what they drew before and after.
- Use listening strategies while hearing a story being read.
- A book about gender, stereotypes, and how name-calling can hurt. My favorite book on this topic is Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola
- Two copies of "What Can Boys & Girls Do?" (PDF) printable for each student.
- Pencils and crayons
- Chart Paper
Set Up and Prepare
- Copies of the "What Can Boys & Girls Do?" printable
- Chart with two columns with the headings, "What Boys Can Do?"
and "What Girls Can Do?"
- Copies of the Home Survey printable
Step 1: Tell the children about a student from last year who was the best kickball player in the class, who loved to go fishing and catch lizards, and was always getting into fights with other students. Write the names of three students: Jose, Kayla and Franklin (try not to use names of children in your class). Read the names and ask the children which student they think you were talking about. Have the children raise their hands and tally the responses. Most will think it was a boy.
Step 2: Show the children your chart entitled "What Boys Can Do? What Girls Can Do?" Ask the children to tell you what boys can do and what girls can do. Chart all responses.
Step 3: Distribute the "What Can Boys & Girls Do?" printable and ask the children to draw (and write if appropriate) one thing a boy can do on one side and one thing a girl can do on the other side.
Step 4: Gather the children together. Have volunteers share their pictures. On a few, ask, "Could a girl could do what you have pictured a boy doing?" and "Could a boy could do what you have pictured a girl doing?"
Step 5: Read to the children an age appropriate book about gender, stereotypes, and how name-calling can hurt. I like to read Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola. After the story, remind children of the student you talked about yesterday. Tell them that the student was Kayla. Explain to them that many of us thought it was a boy because we have an idea of the way people should be. That is called "stereotypes."
If you read Oliver Button Is a Sissy, ask the children to explain what people in the story thought Oliver should do and what they thought he should not do. Discuss how the people in the story had a stereotype of the way Oliver should be just like we had a stereotype of the way Kayla should be.
Ask how Oliver was different from the stereotype we have of the way boys should be. What did the boys in the story do to Oliver because they had a stereotype of the way boys should be (they called him a sissy)? Tell them that calling someone a "sissy" is name-calling. Ask, "How did this name-calling make Oliver feel?" Ask the children if anyone ever called them a name and how it made them feel.
Step 6: Refer children back to the chart they made yesterday. Talk about how some of these things are stereotypes of the way boys and girls should be. Go through each response and ask if the other gender could do it too. Encourage discussion.
Step7: Distribute the "What Can Boys & Girls Do?" printable again and ask the children to draw again one thing a boy can do on one side and one thing a girl can do on the other side. Encourage the children to use suggestions from the chart, but to use activities from the opposite list for boys and girls
Step 8: Gather the children together. Collect the pictures and share those that might show "gender diversity" (a difference from what the children may have charted on day 1).
Supporting All Learners
Allow emerging writers to write their own sentences on their papers, while taking dictation for others. For Spanish speakers, read the Spanish version, Oliver Button es una Nena.
Read William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow. Tell the children that the things that Oliver and William liked to do made them special. They continued to do them even though people called them names, which is wrong. Ask the children if there is anything that they think they would like to do from either of the lists, especially from the opposite gender. Encourage the class to support those children who feel they can do anything. Remind them that sometimes people have stereotypes about what they can or cannot do.
- Complete the "What Can Boys & Girls Do?" printable
- Complete the Home Survey (for homework)
- Did the children understand the word stereotype?
- How do the pre and post responses differ?
- How might I do this lesson differently next time?
Teacher observation: Observe children's oral responses during class
Written Outcome: Compare the pre and post drawings.