Classroom Dog Lot and Brain Research
In my classroom I have a small dog lot. The dogs are 7″ long and come in shades of gray and black with white markings. Each one has its own little house. These miniature Alaskan huskies are gifts to my pre-kindergarten students from their fourth grade buddies. The dogs are cute and cuddly and serve as an amazing catalyst to bond the buddies. But after this initial bonding, do they serve any purpose in the classroom other than a toy?
Of course, they do! These little huskies can help address some of the very real differences in how boys and girls learn. Brain research tells us that the right side of the male brain is more fully developed, causing it to better perform on spatial tasks than the female brain. However, the left side of the female brain is more developed, making for earlier language and reading development. Brain research tells us these differences are hard-wired into the brain before birth, but these gender differences do not mean that girls can’t do well in math or that boys can’t do well in reading. To quote Dr. Leonard Sax: “There are no differences in what girls and boys can learn, but there are big differences in the best ways to teach them.” (To more fully understand gender differences and how it impacts learning I encourage teachers and parents to read, Why Gender Matters by Dr. Leonard Sax.)