What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverburg is a great example of a book that uses "some, many most" language.
When students make generalizations about gender, we find it really helpful to use the "some, many, most" model. This can help steer any question or comment in a more inclusive direction.
"Some boys like to play kickball, some boys don't. Games are for everyone!"
"Many people with long hair are girls, but some are not. We can't tell someone's gender just by looking at them."
"Most boys don't wear dresses, but some boys do. Clothes don't have a gender!"
Sometimes I find myself responding to statements simply by saying "Yes, some do!", or "That's true, most girls do, but not all girls."
We've found that when we use this language, kids are quick to pick up on it and use it too. They are more likely to correct their peers who use "all, always, never" language. These responses also provide opportunities for teachable moments where you can expand their language beyond the binary.
Here are a few comments or questions we have overheard in our classrooms. Can you imagine using the "some, many, most" model to respond? Submit any responses or other questions you've heard in the comments below!
1. "Your hair looks like boy hair."
2. "Why does _______ have sparkly shoes? They are a boy!"
3. "You can't play, you're a girl!"
4. "Look! All of the people doing origami are girls!"
5. "I know those shoes belong to a girl because they are boots."
6. "Nail polish for the girls, bouncy balls for the boys!"
1. "There is no such thing as boy hair or girl hair. Some girls have long hair, some don't!"
2. "Many boys like to wear sparkly things! What do you like to wear?"
3. "We don't exclude people because of their gender. Most people playing are boys, but all people can join."
4. "Right now most people doing origami are girls, but anyone can join!"
5. "Many girls wear boots, but some boys wear boots too. Boots are for everyone!"
6. "Many girls might want nail polish, but some boys might want it too. These toys don't have a gender, they are for everyone. Choose whichever one you'd like."