Today in class I asked students to think about how we do gender as children in elementary school. Our reading talked about the ways that teachers enforce sex segregation in the classroom and on the playground–making teams of girls and boys for spelling contests, having girls and boys stand in separate lines, telling the boys to quiet down, “like the girls.” Schools teach all kinds of skills, but also how to be boys and girls. And yet boys and girls certainly play together. Our dodgeball games, school plays, reading groups, and more have boys and girls playing together. And some games pitch boys against girls in heterosexualized “rituals of pollution,” to use Barrie Thorne’s phrase–think cooties, chase and kiss, and those mock marriages so many of us took part in on the blacktop. So today when I rode my bike home for lunch, passing Holy Name of Jesus School on Calhoun St., I was struck by the sex segregation I saw on their playground. The school uniforms provide a number of choices. There’s the dress on the lone girl seemingly waiting for the soccer ball. Other girls wear the same uniform as the boys–khaki or navy shorts and red polo shirts. Marking sex difference seems important but not imperative. But the boys and girls do seem to have shaken themselves out according to gender, with the boys taking up the bulk of playground space while many girls were sitting and talking in the much smaller auxiliary playground on the other side of the school. I’ve been out of elementary school for a long, long time, but at first glance it doesn’t look like much has changed.