Last week I wrote about our new thinking routine, where children are paired together in order to speak and listen to each other as they talk through a problem or question that has been posed. This speaking/listening routine is part of what is termed oracy and is the first step in acquiring reading and writing skills. In developmental terms, humans acquire oral language first — a prerequisite for literacy. Although I wrote about this routine in relation to our read-aloud time, we also use it during other periods throughout the day as we explore our identities and build community. This purposeful dialogue, which is focused on the exploration of complex ideas, helps extend student thinking and develop their speaking skills as they shape their viewpoints.
On Thursday, I shared with the children a newspaper clipping about a six-year old named Vivian who had written to BMC Toys about the fact that their plastic green army toys were only men. After an online search with her mother, Vivian did find some pink army toys but again, they were only men. Vivian wanted to know why this was so; especially as many of her mom’s female friends were serving in the army. After sharing the clip with the children I found they had many questions and comments centered on the color pink, which led to these questions, “Is pink just for girls?” “Why do girls wear a lot of pink?” While children shared their musings with each other, I quickly jotted down their words.
Here are some observations from your children:
- Some girls wear pink because they can’t find their favorite clothes in other colors.
- Maybe they just like the color.
- Boys can wear pink.
- Maybe they can’t find other colors in their size.
- Maybe they are forced to by their parents.
- Maybe they like pink because their family likes pink.
- People that make the clothes think pink is for girls.
- I think the reason that girls have to buy pink clothes is because it’s very common.
- Maybe because it’s kept in a certain section of the store – the girl section.
- That’s sexism.
- Cause a girl can like boy things.
- Fashion isn’t only for girls.
- Girls can wear long sleeve shirts and pants but boys cannot wear dresses.
- Bows and arrows are not just for boys.
- Some boys do wear dresses. One drummer from a band wears a dress with giant donuts or circles on it.
After hearing this discussion, I quickly hopped over to the library and checked out some books. One of the books I read was, Pink is for Boys by Rob Pearlman a picture book that showcases how colors are for everyone, regardless of gender. Again, the children paired and shared their thinking. Next week, we will read 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert, a story about a little boy who dreams of dresses. I can’t wait to hear their thinking.
Melissa and Cory