Today Squid is poorly home from school, and Mum is low on inspiration, so we will be working though some activities gleaned from the Internet.
I found these beautiful free printables on pronouns. The link explains them, but I had to go to ‘teachers pay teachers’ to download it (for free). I hope she loves them as much as I think she will!
I was enthusiastic enough about them to laminate them. Junior’s reading is not sufficiently advanced to mention the whole sentence, so I cued her in with questions: Q“Who is reading? ” A “She is” or “She is reading” (led by how confident Junior was with the rest of the sentence).
The genius is folding up the bottom of the cards so the answer was on the back. She was shameless about ‘cheating’ – but it really reduced her anxiety. It also passed the ‘distracted facilitator’ test – I had to leave the room and on my return she’d carried on working with the cards.
Source: Free Printable Flip Up Pronoun Speech Cards
Gender is just a social construct – right? Primary aged kids don’t have any differences in appearance or strength or biological function based on their gender – so it follows I should be quite content that Junior doesn’t differentiate he/she/it. I have achieved a child totally unfettered by gender stereotypes – a modern citizen!
Darn it – she knows she’s a girl. Because girls wear pink and dresses (and she loves pink). And girls do look different even at aged 4 in uniform. They look kind of fluffy and all wear a skirt/dress and a button down cardigan rather than a logo jumper. Junior wore trousers on her first day at school (like her brothers) and then never wore them again. And Junior referring to her friends as ‘he’ just marks her out as peculiar and even causes offence. A part of me thinks that it shouldn’t matter – there are bigger issues with her speech that cause more problems with her intelligibility. And then I get real – calling queen-bee ‘he’ is social death – it’s time to fix this.
<sharp reverse on gender neutral parenting>
Boys are noisy – they run around going ‘HE HE HE’ (comical caveman mime)
Girls are quiet – they go ‘shhhheeee shhheee shhheee’ (prissy mime of someone putting their finger up to their lips)
It made her laugh and it’s something we can keep playing. Sorry Mrs Pankhurst.
An idiosyncrasy of Junior’s speech is that she doesn’t use gender identifying pronouns correctly. He/she her/his all come out interchangeably. It never really bothered me that much, because it was easy enough to understand what she meant. However, I’ve now decided to make a project of it. I’m hoping it will be relatively easy to fix, and make her speech sound more natural to people who don’t know her so well.
My allies in this are Topsy and Tim – the boy-girl twin starts of the CBeebies show with the same name. There is nothing in the show itself about pronouns, but we acquired the tie in magazine, and we’ve been playing with the toys and activities. A simple thing that’s worked really well is for me to say something about Tim (He has brown eyes) and then ask Junior to tell me the same thing about Topsy (She has brown eyes). And on and on on any theme or storyline you like, keeping the echo going to constantly compare and contrast the male and female pronouns.
What helps a lot is that Junior is starting to read. We cut out the biggest pictures of Topsy and Tim from the magazine and wrote ‘She’ and ‘Her’ on Topsy’s tummy and ‘He’ and ‘His’ on Tim’s tummy. This improved her accuracy a lot. And a nice side benefit that her teacher thinks we’ve been super diligent teaching her sight words. Take the praise where you can get it!