2. First Grade: “The Game Is Rigged”

When boys enter first grade, most tend to be more physically active and expressive than girls. At the same time they tend to lag behind in reading/verbal skills. Psychologist Michael Thompson observes that a lot of boys look around and say: “What is this school thing? The game is rigged. It’s a place run by women for girls, and the girls are good at it and we’re always in trouble.” He contends that “You have to have places where boys can burn up their energy and run around and not be constantly getting into trouble and not being constantly shamed for just being boys.”

? What do you think Thompson means by saying “The game is rigged?” Why are boys “constantly getting into trouble” at this age? What, in your judgment, is “trouble,” and what is normal boy behavior?

3. Language of Emotions

First-grade teacher Jamie Carlson teaches her students the language of human emotions along with reading, writing, and arithmetic. She says, “My job is more than just the delivery of the curriculum. It is to help the children understand themselves and their feelings and that their place in relationship to other people is critical.”

? What are some other ways in which parents and teachers can teach the language of human emotions? Why is this important?

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