Notes from the 5th Grade Classroom – November

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I’ve had a lively past two weeks of health class (read: sexuality education class), and wanted to get a few of those highlights out into the blogosphere.

Last week’s topic included Pregnancy, this week we focused on solo sex. The two main questions/obsessions from last week revolved around stillborn babies and the composition/lifespan of sperm. This class is particularly interested in science so we broke down the sperm vitamin, minerals, and sugars today, and spent a few moment reflecting on their curiosity around stillborn babies. It turns out many of them have had relatives or brothers/sisters who were born this way, and they wanted to know how/why can that happen and is it possible to prevent it? I bring these questions up because it is always fascinating to me to understand what’s going on inside the mind of a 5th grader.

During the masturbation lesson today, a young woman jumped up and expressed her dismay that “for a boy orgasm seems so easy! And for a girl it is so much more work! That’s so unfair,” she exclaimed. I am grateful enough for this curriculum to include talking about pleasure and solo sex so openly and frankly when some lessons tend to shy away from it and encouraged boys and girls to both understand and appreciate how their bodies work, and what makes them feel good (but did not assign that as homework as, I am sure, that would not go over so well).

Lastly, yesterday, for a birthday celebration, the birthday girl chose her dance party song, “Poker Face” by the Lady GaGa. I took the last 5 minutes of class today to bring out the lyrics and explore with the students what, in the world, is really going on in this song? We deconstructed the meaning of “bluffin with my muffin” (a metaphor for vulva; this particular class is well-versed in the ‘vulva’) and “stunnin with my love-glue-gunning” (they were actually quite quick to put two and two together on that one). The teacher pointed out that Lady GaGa is probably laughing at all of us singing and dancing around to her song without knowing the real meaning and power behind it. Bottom line: it was stunningly eye opening and the students have asked to analyze MORE of the music they sing and bop around to so for homework I have asked them to bring in a favorite song or two for us to break down. Stay tuned for more notes and a-ha moments from the classroom!

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