Monday, May 15, 2017

We Have to Play!

Principal ponderings...

We may be allegedly inching closer to summer (although the recent temperatures definitely don't seem like it), but in our house we are still living in the cold and ice.  No, it's not because we ran out of propane and have no heat.  It's because Frozen has taken over our house.  You can't really go anywhere without stepping on an Elsa doll, seeing snowflake covered pillows or hearing Olaf singing about wanting to be in summer.  To say that Emerson loves Frozen is an understatement.  She is obsessed.

Not sure how many of you have seen Frozen, but one of the beginning scenes, the one where Anna is trying to wake her sister Elsa up, well many mornings Emerson acts out that scene when she wakes up.  Here's the scene:
Emerson has definitely been perfecting her Anna impersonation, complete with hand motions and dramatic tone.  So why am I telling you this story?  It's that line where Anna, and my Emerson, say, "we have to play."  That's what I want to talk about.  The fact that my daughter repeats this line over and over and over makes me think that maybe it's a statement we should be thinking about.

Our kids have to play.

When do our students get to run around and play?  Recess.  I know that we have recess scheduled every day before lunch.  I also know that many classes also take kids out for extra recess.  I think most teachers would agree with me that our students need to get outside and play on a daily basis.  Which makes me wonder why do I still hear from students that they missed part of recess?  Why do teachers talk about keeping kids in "for just five minutes" to finish up classwork?  Why do some staff expect me to use the consequence of taking away recess?

Here's my response to all of those questions: I don't know, and I don't agree with them at all.

Our kids have to play.

Here's a little interesting infographic about recess:

I could write a long post about why we should not be taking away recess, no matter whether it is a form of punishment or it's being used as time to "get work done."  But I don't really think I need to write a long post about this topic.  It's pretty simple.  

Our kids have to play.

No one should be missing recess.  Are you worried that there won't be a consequence for kids who misbehavior during recess?  Guess what?  There are lots and lots of alternatives that have been thought of in schools all across the country.  Some are ones that we have used at Florence Roche, including having the student do some sort of community service on the playground or having the student try out a specific social interaction or game.  I often tell kids when I assign this consequence: I want to see how you do at making better choices when you play X with this group of friends.  And then I check in with them after recess to see how it went.  

Trust me, I know when I was a teacher I used the tactic...if you don't finish this now, then you will need to finish it at recess.  I'm not proud that I used to say that.  There are other times in the day when we can have students finish work.  It should not be during recess time.

Did you know that after 20 minutes of sitting in class our brains basically start to fall asleep?  The CDC recommends that kids get 60 minutes of physical activity a day.  During recess time, our kids are having tons of positive experiences and they are learning how to solve conflicts on a daily basis.  What is learned on the playground will definitely have a positive effect on the classroom learning and interactions.

Ok, I said I wasn't going to write a long post so I will stop now and include some links at the bottom for you to check out if you want to read more about this topic.

Just remember, our kids have to play.  

(By the way, it's going to be a high of 86 on Wednesday.  Maybe I should think about keeping people 15 minutes after the staff meeting if they don't finish their budget work or placement work?  It might help me get my point across.  Nah, I will "let it go."  I know that after sitting in meetings, adults have to play, too.)

Currently reading:
As usual, my to be read piles keep growing.  I need to stop buying books, but I just can't.  I know, I have a problem.  Apparently there is even a Japanese word to describe people like me.  You can learn about the word and my book hoarding problems in this recent Huffington Post article:
I was very excited to get an Amy Krouse Rosenthal book in the mail before the weekend.  It was fitting for this weekend since it's titled Mother's Guide to the Meaning of Life: What Being a Mom Has Taught Me About Resiliency, Guilt, Acceptance and Love.  It's a funny, quick read that I dove into, and I am already halfway done with it.
I might have also given myself a Mother's Day gift of signing up for a book of the month club.  If my husband asks...I definitely did not do this.  But for everyone else...I was super excited to get my first book in the mail last week, along with a bonus free book!  The book I chose to start with is called The Leavers.  I figure I should probably try to mix up my reading habits instead of always reading kids books, young adult chapter books or professional development books.  It's a novel that addresses the issue of social justice and is told through the eyes of a Chinese boy and his mother who had to abandon him.  
I am also listening to Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, during my commute.  Definitely find myself laughing out loud in my car!  
Events this week:
Monday - Liz at Leadership Summit, 3rd grade math MCAS
Tuesday - Elementary curriculum half day, dismissal at 12:15
Wednesday - 3rd grade math MCAS, 3rd grade chorus @ 2:25, Staff meeting @ 3:30, PTA Meeting @ 7:00
Thursday - 4th grade math MCAS, Grade 1 Discovery Museum Enrichment program
Friday - 4th grade math MCAS, Liz and Dianna at SLT in the am, Email supply orders to Carol by Friday, Spirit Day - wear purple for our Aid for Epilepsy Drive!
Saturday - Color Fun Run at the high school, registration at 2:00, race at 3:00, proceeds to benefit The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Check out these great posted post it notes to help kindergartners with writing! 
  • I enjoyed attending School Committee meeting on Wednesday.  One of our 1st graders, Anya, and one of our 4th graders, Avery, were the winners of the All are Welcome contest.  They shared what they created and were recognized by the superintendent.  Way to go FloRo! 

  • Did you get a chance to stop by the Fine Arts Festival on Thursday?  Every single student had artwork on display.  Thank you to the fine arts staff for putting in so much work and showing off the amazing talent of our students! 

  • A special visitor came to school last week...a giant penguin!  Mrs. McEvoy's class was surprised at their penguin party.  Inside that costume is an awesome mom who willingly sweat it out in that costume! 

Check it out:
Just a few articles and posts that support the idea of not taking away recess:

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