Example lesson plans / activities

Grades: All Ages

Lesson provided by: Sofia Gotfrid, teacher

Toys are Just Toys

  •  Before you begin talk to the class about being respectful and kind with other people’s belongings.
  • Show kids pictures of toys. Ask them to decide if the toys are “boy” toys or “girl” toys.
  • Ask students to make a list of 8 toys they play with.
  • Tell the kids to pick one toy from the list to bring to school the next day.
  • The next day put all the toys in the middle and ask student to pick a toy that they would not normally play with. Remind them about being careful with things that belong to others.
  • Let kids have 20 minutes of free play time with that toy.
  • After the playing session ask students to write down 3 great things about the toy and attach it with an elastic band to that toy.
  • Have each student stand in front of the class and read the list of great things about that toy, then the toy can be returned to its owner with the three compliments.
  • At the end of the lesson have students add 3 new toys they would like to explore to their original list and title the list: TOYS ARE JUST TOYS!

Grades: All Ages

Lesson provided by: Naomi Pfeffer & Sari Targownik, Primary School Teachers

You can't do that!
Lesson Objectives:  In this lesson, we will be exploring thoughts regarding gender stereotypes and gender roles.
Time: 30-45 Minutes
Materials required:  
     *Department store flyers
     *Magazines and advertisements
     *Probing questions (i.e., When you look at these flyers, what do you notice about girl's clothes?  Boy's clothes?  What types ofthings to you think boys like and girls like?  I.e., Are they playing or doing something?)

     1- Read 'Be Yourself' book
     2- Follow-up with questions like, "What do you notice about the main character's style?  What do you think about when you pick your clothes or hobbies?
     3- Can you think of a time that you were told that you could not do/play or wear something you wanted to?  How did you feel about that?
     4- Do you think it's important what colour you wear or what your style is?  Why or why not?
     5- If the character was in OUR school or class and he / she was being teased, how would you respond?

Closure:  Generate student ideas of scenarios to role play (I.e., Provide a card with a scenario and have students act it out and respond to it). 

Grades: K-6

Lesson provided by:  Rachel Floom, Teacher/Educator, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Time: 60-90 minutes
Goal: To uncover gender stereotypes embedded in the marketing of toys and children play.
     *Glue, scissors
     * Toy catalogues
     * 2 pieces of paper or cardstock paper per student (to glue pictures or collage on)

     * About a week before you plan on doing the lesson, send the children home with a note.   State on the note that you will be   doing an activity the following week that requires toy catalogues and kindly request that you will be collecting catalogues from the students to use for the activity.
     * On the day of the lesson make sure that each student has scissors, a glue stick, and 2 pieces of paper at their workspace.
     * Put the toy catalogues in a designated area of the classroom that is easily accessible to the children.

1. Have your students label on of their pieces of paper “BOYS” and the other “GIRLS” (they can do this in regular print or fancy, whatever they prefer).
2. Instruct the children that they are to cut out pictures of toys being sold from the catalogues.  Make sure they are aware that if in the picture of the toy there is someone playing with the toy, they are to cut out the person as well (this will be a key part of the lesson once the gluing is complete).
3. The students are to glue the pictures onto the “GIRLS” or “BOYS” piece of paper (it can be a collage if they want) depending on a) the gender of the person playing with the toy or b) if the toy is perceived as a “girl” or “boy” toy.
4. Once the students have finished, get them to come form a circle on the floor and put all of their papers into the centre of the circle for everyone to see.
5. Begin the discussion.  You can ask things like:

  • What do you notice about these pictures?
  •  What colours are you noticing on the “BOYS” paper versus the “GIRLS” paper? Who is wearing pink and who is wearing blue?
  • What types of toys are you noticing on each paper?
  •  Who is playing with the dolls, taking care of babies, cooking in the kitchen or playing house?
  •  Who is building things (like blocks or Lego)?
  •  Who is playing with weapons?
  •  Who appear to be playing quietly and calmly versus who is playing loudly and appear more active?
  •  Who are playing inside and who are playing outside?

6. Ask the students if they have ever played with a toy that is glued on a paper with the opposite sex title.  Ask them if they have played or seen someone play with what are perceived to be “GIRLS” or “BOYS” toys (can explain traditional gender stereotypes and how these are JUST stereotypes.  These are not what ALL people follow and that is ok! ).  If they cannot think of examples then you can give them some.  For example, in Kindergarten have you ever seen boys playing house?   Girls building with blocks?  Boys doing art? Girls playing sports or doing active things in gym class?  Ask the students if they think it is fair how the toy catalogues are selling their toys?
7. Read the book “Be Yourself”.  Ask the students to write a response to the question: “How can you relate or connect this story to the prior work that we just completed above?”
8. Feel free to post the children’s papers on a bulletin outside the classroom and title it “uncovering gender stereotypes in play” or something along those lines!  This will spark others thoughts and start a discussion in the school.

Grade: Kindergarten

Lesson provided by:  Carrie Standil Cox, BA, B ED,  SERT

The book Be Yourself, by Jackie Swirsky, could be used in a variety of ways in a Kindergarten classroom. I used it as part of an introduction to an "All About Me" unit. After reading the book to the class simply ask the students what their own style looks like. Have many visual examples ready to show the children. The examples can be prepared by using photographs of everyday people from magazines or the internet, or if you have, pictures of the actual students.
     - Discuss how their own personal styles instill a sense of pride in them.
     - Continue with a discussion about how we all need to honour each other's style; that everybody's style is "wonderful" even if    you yourself have a different style.
     - Have the students draw/paint/colour a picture of what their style looks like, encourage creativity and individuality.
     - Invite the students' to share their drawings/ paintings with the class.
     -Display the students' creations in the classroom or hallway in order to broaden the conversations about diversity and acceptance.