Saturday, February 12, 2011

Play to Flourish

 Although intellectually I know that play is vital to well-being and is a critical motivating factor for students, I sometimes get caught up in the seriousness of "lessons" and "designing the best learning experiences," and forget how important it is to spontaneously engage in play.  

This week, I spontaneously chose 3 opportunities to "play" with my students:
  1. While on recess duty, I played four square with students. It was fun to hear their delight in exclaiming to peers, "Hey! Mrs. Young is actually good!" and "I got her out!"
  2. During P.E. when I was there to help supervise with the P.E. teacher, I actually participated on a team in a fun relay game. Once again, not only my class, especially the boys, but also the 5th grade class were a bit surprised to see that I could throw! They came back to class, "all smiles" and not as competitively driven as usual.
  3. During math rotations, instead of "teaching" one of the groups, I "taught" by playing a card game that involved simplifying fractions and comparing them to decimals/percents. This game was a challenge for most students, but the added fun of playing with "the teacher" seemed to make the experience more exciting for them.   
Please take some time to watch the wonderful talk below by Stuart Brown and let me know what you think! Also, I would love to know how you use play and fun to support student flourishing. 

Stuart Brown says play is more than fun | Video on