Princesses Don't Wear Pants

story by Sara Rajan , illustrated by Aśka

Learning intention:

I am learning to discuss literary experiences with others, to connect ideas in stories to my own world and to express a point of view.

Success criteria:

  • I can identify the inequality experienced by a character.
  • I can connect the ideas around women, in Princess Don’t Wear Pants, to other texts I have read where women are treated similarly.
  • I can discuss whether these ideas are common to human experience in the real world.
  • I can discuss how these ideas fit in with what I believe.

Read Princesses Don’t Wear Pants. Discuss all the things the princess is not allowed to do, that her brother or other males are able to. Sample responses include:

  • wear pants
  • travel on horseback
  • compete in the races
  • compete in riding games

Discuss further opinions provided by other character’s in the story about what princesses should and shouldn’t do, for example:

  • that they don’t slump
  • that they must do as they’re told

Inform students that they will be considering how the ideas in the story relate to their own experiences and participating in a class discussion on the topic.

Briefly discuss each of the following questions collaboratively and provide examples:

  • Does this story remind you of any others you have read where women are not allowed to do the same things as men? (for example, fairy tales such as Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White, where the princesses wait for a prince to save them or stories where the opposite occurs, such as Zog by Julia Donaldson where the princess becomes a doctor instead of being rescued by a prince)
  • Does this story remind you of anything you have experienced in the real world? (for example, a time when a sibling was given greater or lesser freedom based on their gender, something from the sporting world, where someone wasn’t allowed to join a team based on their gender, or perhaps the opposite is true and students’ have experienced equal opportunities in all areas of their lives)
  • How do these ideas fit in with what you believe? (for example, no one should slump as it is bad for their posture, or everyone should have equal rights)

Inform students that they will be continuing their discussions in small groups. Prior to allocating students to groups, agree on rules for group discussions. Sample ideas include:

  • Ensure everyone gets a turn to speak
  • Respect the ideas of others
  • Listen respectfully without interrupting

Place students in small groups and allocate each group one of the questions from above. Instruct students to discuss their allocated question in greater detail with their group.

Once students have had time to discuss their ideas on their allocated question with their group, bring the class back together. Instruct each group to share their ideas. Tell the other students not to comment for now, just to listen to the ideas of others. Inform students that they may make notes on key points shared by others that they wish to comment on.

After each group has had a chance to share one idea, tell students that they will now be discussing further questions or comments students may like to make on what the other groups have shared. Instruct the students to re-focus their attention on their groups, discussing comments and ideas they may like to share, based on what the other groups have presented.

Provide sentence starters to guide responses, such as:

  • I agree with this point because…
  • I have a different interpretation because…
  • My experiences are similar/different, such as…

Invite students to share their ideas and responses to what the other groups have shared.