Guidance / Language Arts

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INFUSING EQUITY BY GENDER INTO THE CLASSROOM:
A Handbook of Classroom Practices

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PRINCESSES DON’T HAVE TO BE PASSIVE
By: Sandra Moyer

The overall objective of this lesson is to explain the effects of stereotyping and gender bias on self-esteem, relationships, and behavioral expectations for both girls and boys. Although the initial focus is on the stereotypes of the princess, the teacher should also extend the lesson to the stereotyping of princes. Self-esteem, relationships, and behaviors of both genders are impacted by these types of stories.

STANDARD: All students will be able to explain the effects of gender bias, stereotyping and discrimination on access, learning, self-esteem, relationships and behavior.

GRADE LEVEL: 2 -5, Language Arts, Guidance

OBJECTIVE(S): Students will be able to:

  • Detect examples of gender bias and stereotyping in traditional fairy tales.
  • Express how such stories affect girls and boys.
  • Rewrite a fairy tale so as to eliminate gender bias.

TIME: One class period

MATERIALS: Suggested books:

The Paper Bag Princess - Robert N. Munsch
Princess Furball - Charlotte Huch
Princess Smartypants - Babette Cole

PROCEDURES:

  1. Ask the students to tell about fairy tales that they know in which there is a princess. As they retell the story, keep asking them what the princess is doing in the story. Frequently, the answer is that she does not do very much. Usually, a prince is trying to win her hand in marriage by pleasing her father. The princess has little say in her own future.
  2. Read one of the suggested books, or any fairy tale, in which the female leads a more active, self-determining role. Have the students contrast this story with the traditional fairy tales they discussed earlier.
  3. Define words such as gender bias and stereotyping (see Equity Terms handout) and relate them to the fairy tales they have discussed.
  4. Discuss how the traditional fairy tales affect the girls and boys who hear them. How will they see their future roles in life? How will they treat one another?
  5. Each child is asked to rewrite a favorite fairy tale to be more gender fair. The students may be assessed on their understanding of how the princess may be made more active and self-determining.

 

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Guidance / Language Arts

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This page was last updated on October 06, 2005.