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Speaking Topics

All speaking topics are customized to fit the needs of the individual school and can be delivered as  a 1-2 hour keynote, a full-day workshop, or as a multi-day workshop. As an author of three books on teaching boys and girls, an international speaker and veteran school principal, Kelley is experienced in working with a wide range of organizations, including preK - 12, higher ed, private, public, coed, and single-gender.

Launching a school-wide/district-wide “Boy Friendly School” Initiative:

Writing the Playbook: A Game Plan for a Boy-Friendly School

You've seen it too often in schools: Boys struggling to master basic literacy skills, sitting outside the principal's office, collecting labels like "hyperactive," getting failing grades. Checked out, kicked out, or dropped out, they’re benched when they should be scoring goals on the academic playing field.

Based on Kelley’s newly-released book Writing the Playbook: A Practitioner’s Guide to Creating a Boy-Friendly School, this workshop provides educators with a step-by-step plan for increasing boys’ achievement and reducing discipline problems. For both school leaders and classroom teachers, this workshop equips participants with:

• The science behind how the male brain learns;
• The data you need to make the case with your stakeholders;
• Professional development tools to sustain learning;
• A close look at revising school policies that may be squeezing boys out;
• Relationship-building strategies that help boys feel like they belong;
• Instructional strategies that keep active boys engaged, motivated and learning at optimal levels.

If your school is ready for a boy-friendly transformation – that helps girls as well – this one-of-a-kind workshop will help you get a game plan. Because not a single boy should have to wait.


Social & Emotional Strategies for Boys:

Lost Boys: Re-Engaging Males in Learning & Life

Checked out, kicked out or dropped out: We are losing our boys –  not only academically, but also behaviorally and attitudinally – and too often we fail to see the vulnerable young man who is hiding behind that tough-guy exterior. Boys’ under-performance – especially for boys of color and poverty – is one of this country’s biggest barriers to school improvement and it is tied, at a very basic level, to the disconnect between boys’ sense of who they are and what school has to offer them. Turnaround for boys in school starts with understanding their inner lives – the social, emotional and biochemical drivers of boys’ motivation and engagement. Kelley King has helped schools across the nation close gender gaps and re-engage boys and young men through creating a supportive school culture and climate that embraces the very nature of boys and young men. Kelley’s workshop provides the building blocks of success through a powerful examination of male-female brain differences. Learn the practical strengths-based strategies for increasing boys’  sense of connectedness, competency, and confidence in school.

Academic Strategies for Boys:

Doing School: Helping Boys Make the Grade

If girls epitomize the “gold standard” for what it means to be a good student, where does that leave our boys? In our high-stakes accountability-driven system, we are losing the boys at an unprecedented rate: Boys’ test scores in reading and writing lag far behind girls’ and boys are getting most of the Ds and Fs. Some colleges are even resorting to lowering their admission standards because, increasingly, boys can’t compete. As educators, we need to understand what is driving this continuing downward academic trend for boys and what we can do about it. Veteran educator, author and international consultant Kelley King will share her extensive knowledge regarding brain-based differences between boys and girls and the strategies for creating a “brain-friendly” classroom for all students, with a special focus on high-impact academic strategies for boys. Kelley's own school closed the gender gap in literacy in one year. Students with disabilities made gains so significant that their state scores are now commensurate with the scores of non-disabled students in the school district. This workshop will engage participants in professional dialogue and hands-on activities that will profoundly affect their understanding of “what makes boys tick” and will empower educators with classroom strategies that engage even the most reluctant male learner.

Writing and the Male Brain

Do you have boys who can’t think of anything to write? Who can’t get their ideas on paper? Or, who are unwilling to edit and revise? This in-depth workshop focuses specifically on improving boys’ quantity and quality of written work, as well as their performance on writing assessments. Our focus on boys and writing will address ways to increase boys’ engagement in literacy and ways to support boys’ verbal expression of their writing ideas based on an understanding of the biology of the male brain. Specific brain-based classroom strategies will show teachers how to incorporate movement, art, music and visual-spatial tools to support and motivate boys in all aspects of writing development. Additionally, the training will explore ways to increase boys’ engagement in writing through changing the culture of the classroom by giving boys more choice and a greater sense of purpose. And we couldn’t wrap up this workshop without some brain-friendly and boy-friendly test-taking tips for attacking those wonderful writing prompts with gusto!

Parent & Community Workshop:

Support Your Son in Learning & Life
1.5 – 2 hours

Parenting a son can be a very different journey than parenting a daughter. I know firsthand - as the mother of both a son and a daughter and as a consultant who has spoken with thousands of parents - that we all seek answers and solutions to very common parenting challenges. It is critical to understand your son's nature and nurture so that you can be as effective as possible in raising a boy into a successful man. At an early age, however, too many boys do not believe that they will be successful in school. They are less likely to complete their homework and more likely to get in trouble at school. All of this can lead to power struggles and frustration at home. We have a responsibility, as parents and educators working together, to build on boys' unique strengths and turn the tide of underachievement and low engagement. To do this, we take advantage of scientific advances in the past couple of decades to look inside the human brain and identify strategies specially targeted to the way boys live and learn in the world. In this parent session, we address a number of important topics:


• What are the brain differences between boys and girls and what are the implications for parents when it comes to building relationships, discipline and academic support?
• How can parents help their son get organized, study effectively and turn in homework?

• How can parents help with schoolwork and avoid power struggles?

• How can parents support their son's healthy social and emotional development, including dealing with anger?

• How can parents work collaboratively with their child’s school to help their struggling son?


This informative session - full of funny and true stories of raising boys - will help you appreciate your son and equip you with game-changing strategies for supporting him to become a successful man.

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