As far as I know, Michael Gurian is THE MOST FAMOUS author about the differences between Boys and Girls! He gets paid big bucks to travel the world and teach people what he knows. A few hundred educators and I had the privilege to attend his workshop, compliments of our school district. (Thanks Jeffco).

This book is pretty heavy reading as it is stocked full of wonderfully brilliant information about the difference between boys and girls. It’s great for any parent or educator that would like to understand gender based learning differences.


  • The Corpus Callosum is a bundle of nerves connecting the left and right hemisphere. Females are 20% larger. Females also have better developed Frontal & Occipital Lobes.
  • Female brains are wired for language
  • Females take in more sensory data & are better at controlling impulsive behavior. They also rely heavily on verbal communication.  Males are more non-verbal.
  • There are huge ramifications in atmosphere – both at home and in the classroom, many of which rely heavily on talk, conversation, and words.
  • PHYSICAL Differences: Male brains are more developed in the right hemisphere: spatial-mechanical (mechanical design, objects, geography, map reading)
  • CHEMICAL Differences: Male brain secretes less Serotonin: resulting in fidgetiness and impulsiveness. Females produce more Oxytocin activity – the chemical in the brain related to empathy
  • HORMONAL Differences: Males are dominated by Testosterone (aggression / sex drive). Females are dominated by Progesterone (bonding)
  • Boys hear less and require more stimulants – resulting in fidgeting and boredom. Adults can perceive it as being rude, impulsive, or out of control.

3 Suggestions:

  1. Be patient
  2. Encourage movement
  3. Encourage graphical / storyboard

Questions to Comment on:

  1. What are your thoughts about brain differences between boys and girls?
  2. Michael Gurian addresses the need for movement for boys to have movement. What are some examples of things that teachers and parents can do to encourage more movement with boys?

Posted in: Content

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Jackie Burhans

    My son just finished a course in Symmetry 101; teaching different types of symmetry. While he has great language skills and great math skills, this class included using clay to create symmetrical items and his creativity just exploded! He needed extra space for all of the items he created which aside from the skulls everyone did, including Greek temples complete with braziers, and various forms of weaponry that displayed rotational, bilateral and I’m sure several other types of symmetry. Not sure its JUST a boy thing (the class was half boys, half girls) but adding a physical, artistic component to this math class was a BIG HIT!!!!

    Think of it as silly putty writ large :-)

  • samanthajr

    That seems like a great book to read. I think the highlights of it were wonderful. It all makes perfect sense. Girls are more emotional and they ae all verbal. Boys are not all that emotional and not as verbal.

  • Rose

    Great insights from the book.

    Here’s my take on the issues:
    1. Girls are more inclined to develop the language/linguistic ability. For some reason, I think girls are physiologically wired that way. But that doesn’t mean boys are not geared to excel in the language skills area. We have to be creative to get them to appreciate reading. Boys love visuals/graphics. Colors, shapes, drawings excite them. That’s our cue. Capitalize on those items which engages their interest.

    2. In a reading session, for example, we can include “play time” that would let the boys get a better grasp of the story. It could be in the form of group/individual drawing of their favorite character in the book or let them do skits for a specific scene in the story.

  • zemlene

    As a teacher in mathematics, I have observed that boys are really good in numbers,while girls are more on reading and writing. moreover, boys aren’t expressive that girls.

    What we have done in our classes here is to indulge the students in a group activity which could capture their interest more than classroom lectures alone. In this manner, all of the students could grasp the lesson more through sharing ideas and group discussions about the topic.

  • vanessa_cruz0615

    Girls are more patient and they are more into verbal, and writing. Boys are more into physical activities, so instead of reading they will do some other things. But we can help develop it. Aside from that, many school overemphasize classics and analyze them to death, this reason trains boys that reading is work. School often also focus on “coming age” stories centered on girls.

  • jwaage

    The Silly Putty Predicament…

    Boys really need to move… constantly! While it is best when you are able to get up and get moving while putting your learning in action, it’s important to helps kids find a way to deal with situations where they may need to sit ‘still’ and work.

    For some students (boys and girls alike) they simply can’t sit still and focus. Students with ADD/ADHD, sensory integration disorder, and a variety of other factors which can distract from learning, there are a few little tricks that can make a world of difference.

    A few years back, I had a young lady in my class with sensory integration disorder. It seemed as though she could focus so much better if she had something to just touch. I gave her silly putty. She would come in daily and take her putty egg off my desk and rub it between her fingers during class. She began to share her putty with the boys who wanted to play, and it seemed to have a calming effect on them as well. The simple act of touching with fingers was enough movement to release a little energy.

    Today, I try to keep a few key items in my desk when kids need to release some energy. Silly putty, squishy balls, and fuzzy stickers. The predicament comes with the trail that is left behind! I find silly putty and fuzzy stickers EVERYWHERE!!! …I still want to know how the kids got it on the ceiling!

  • Debby-6-Kids

    I love the idea of the silly putty. I wonder if this has anything to do with the ‘pencil tapping’ that I notice a lot of the boys do while in class and at home. I have also noticed that if they do not have anything in their hands they tend to fidget more in their chairs.

  • Mike McQueen

    Well said Rose and what a great, informative comment, jwaage. There are many, many issues that involve sensory integration with boys and literacy. Sure, there are often classroom management issues at hand when trying a new techniques such as silly putty. Great teachers like you take those risks and find ways to implement strategies that will work. Bravo!


    In this book, Michael Gurian addresses many different facts based on the brain and a boy’s need for movement.

  • Chuck

    Using Graphics and Movement!

    My 3rd year students love movement and graphics. They would fidget and move around the classroom without you requiring them to do so. I also see kids scribling around while I’m discussing.

    So, one day, I cam to a realization that since I am teaching in an all boys institution, why not use their being mobile and love for graphics to my advantage.

    A couple of things we did:

    (1) We went out of the room every now and then and held our sessions in different locations.

    (2) I also involve them in making artworks to express what they understood. We recently had a project involving them to really be creative in expressing themselves in art. It took me 2-3 sessions for us to finish that project. I was so happy all the kids wanted to be involved.

    I’d love to get a hold of this book.

  • Anonymous

    this is great


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