“SHALL WE PLAY A GAME…”
War Games 1983
This year I am going to do something I always did when I was in the classroom. I am going to play at recess with my kiddos. The benefits to playing with instead of just supervising (you can play & supervise) your students are huge!
1. Build relationships! Playing a game with kids is a chance for you to connect with “those students.” You know, the kids who may not be exceptionally strong at traditional school work. However, on the playground they come to life. Take advantage of this time to connect with them. Play four square, play tetherball, play football. I am not an athlete but I knew enough about football to be all time quarterback for both teams during a game. While teaching 5th grade, I brought a deck of UNO cards to one recess. After a little instruction, the kids started bringing their own UNO cards to play at recess.
2. Use this time to teach character. If you play, lose. Lose gracefully.Kids need to see someone be a good model for losing. If you play, football fumble the ball. If you are running and fall, get up and laugh it off. Too often during these games kids play like it’s the SUPER BOWL and lose their minds when things don’t go there way. Show them a different way to react when they lose! Also, use this time to include friends who may get overlooked.
3. Be proactive with discipline. Be right in the middle of disagreements and arguments before they start. You can guide and redirect before something goes down. This will save you valuable classroom minutes you normally lose due to recess disagreements. Also, if you are using recess as a punishment every day for certain kids. Ask yourself, “By taking away their recess am I getting the change in behavior that I want or need?” If you are keep it up. If it’s not bringing the change you need try another tactic. Try playing with them.
Let’s all take a recess a week to come up out of our chairs and or offices to get on the playground and show kids the right way to play. Show them how to lose gracefully. While you are up playing, get to know them! Strong relationships equal strong learning.
Thank you for reading and sharing! I will see you on the playground. May the force be with you, always!
Toby Wan Kenobi @Jedipadmaster
Assistant Principal Richland Upper Elementary School