Notes from a 5th Grade Classroom – Research for this week’s lesson

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Last night, I took some time to re-explore the fabulous and timeless resource, Our Bodies Ourselves, in preparation for an upcoming lesson. It provides great inspiration, and hey, our own Kim Comatas is on the new cover (can you find her?!)

I lingered over Chapters 5 and 7, specifically. You can check out excerpts on their website, and specifically one on Enthusiastic Consent here.

Then, this morning, one of my former students, now a stressed-out sophomore in college, emailed me this article from Rookie magazine on “The Invention of Sex.” She wanted to share it with me because it was ‘advice she had never heard and wish she had when she was younger.’ Now I’m paying attention, especially since she added in there ‘so get on IT, Ms. S!”

The article closely mirrors the chapters I read last night from OBOS, yet is written from a teenager’s point of view. Check it out:

The comments closely mirror what my former student was trying to impress upon me. Many other readers respond to say they wish they’d had this honest, fresh voice when they were younger, and how ‘this’ should definitely be taught in schools. What is the ‘this,’ I have to wonder, that is missing? It sounds like they are asking for someone to verbally reassure them that they are good enough, validated and valued. Is that how you interpret it?

When I look over the comments, I see that ‘barbroxursox’ mentions not being able to process the 8th grade health education classes; others chime in to agree. I respect that perspective, and wonder how/what/if my 5th graders are processing the information, and what is an effective way to determine if they are?

As an educator (with a captive audience!) I have the opportunity to give my students skills, language, etc that these readers wish they had experienced (and I feel really lucky to be entrusted with that opportunity…) I understand that this article, and the website, are a bit much for a 5th or 6th grade audience so I’m looking to take the essence of what these ladies are asking for, and make an age appropriate lesson.

Now….just how do I want to accomplish that? If you have any ideas (at all) as I set off to design this lesson, I would very much appreciate them!





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