Monday, August 31, 2009

Dude looks like a lady??? (or "Why I Love Fifth Grade)

My class theme is "rockstars" and each table group is made up of four kids. Each kid has a role- guitarist, drummer, bassist, piano player. It's just a classroom management thing. That way, I can say, all right, all the "guitarists" come pick up materials for your group. Or "bassists," start a table discussion with the "drummer." and so on... That way all the kids rotate through positions and they think they're hip and cool, etc... It is all based on Kagan principles.

Anyway, in introducing this to the kids, I showed them a powerpoint which introduced them to the instruments (guitar, bass, drums, piano). I also showed them some photos of famous bands so they could recognize the various instruments. The whole point of the exercise was to make the kids realize that people in bands have to work together, listen to each other, and work through their differences to be successful. The kids quickly picked up that, as a table group, they ALSO have to work together, listen to each other, and work through their differences to be successful. Sweet.

However, this seemingly simple exercise developed into a more complex conversation. I showed the kids pictures of bands that I thought were important: The Beatles, The Runaways, and Ben Folds Five (because they feature a pianist).

From this photo, the kids thought Joan Jett was a man (Joan Jett is the one in the long-sleeved red shirt).
After much discussion, they revealed that they felt this way because she wasn't "dressed slutty." So apparently a woman in long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and short hair can't play rock and roll. I pointed out that a lot of teachers have short hair and wear modest clothes. The kids pointed out that regular women could wear modest clothes, but rockstars should wear tight/revealing clothes, wear a lot of makeup, and show a lot of skin. This led to a deep conversation about body image and the role of women in media.

I love fifth grade.


Aaron and Emily said...

what a fun class you have.

Wendy said...

Heather, you are a great teacher. I know a lot of people who wouldn't have taken the opportunity to discuss such hefty topics with the kids for various reasons. But not you. These kids are going to love you.