Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Remember to Play Every Day!

I made this Remember to Play Everyday Prezi, which is free at my TPT Store. It is not an interactive Prezi, more like a power point of favorite reminders of the importance of play in the classroom.

I made this for several reasons.  First of all, I strongly believe in play in the classroom.  I taught 4 years of Kindergarten, homeschooled my children, and am back for my 6th year in Kindergarten on the second go round-so 10 in Kindergarten altogether. I know that from both public school teaching and home school teaching, hands on learning is my favorite way to teach, and what I believe to be the most successful way for a child to learn and retain knowledge- I don't care if it is math games or biology! 

In this age of testing, testing, testing, I see the focus shifting away from children's best way to learn to the fastest way to throw knowledge at them.  I guess I just wanted to make myself feel better and prove that there were years of other "experts" who also believed in play.  "Play" can mean so many things in the classroom.  It can be free choice or very intentional.  We all know that.  I know that you bloggers are fabulous at incorporating meaningful  play into your school days. Sometimes I just see the hours of our Kindergarten day filling up more and more with standards and requirements, and often "play" is the first thing to go, if we aren't careful and protective it.

Another reason I made this Prezi was that as I look back on past students, one of my happiest successes for one child in particular was through play. He had a very stressful home life, which manifested itself in all areas of his life.  For the first ten weeks of school, this child did not want to leave my desk during Free Choice time. He just wanted to talk and talk and talk to only me and not interact or make friends. If I did convince him to join a friend, he would have to have his own toy and wanted no part of anything else or the friend for that matter.  He would stay with me and do math facts for the entire Free Choice time if I let him- which I know sounds dreamy for some students, but it was not what he needed. He was terrified of making a mistake- even though I went through mistake after mistake that I had made to try to  make him feel better. (So much so that he probably thought, "How did YOU ever make it through life so far?!") Whenever we would work on  learning read, he was so unsure of himself that he looked to me after trying every, single word, and would never carry over skills from lessons to independent work.  He could not focus on learning, because he was trying so hard to be "right."

This boy ended year passing a Level F benchmark- (and, of course, was a whiz at math facts)!  BUT- my happiest and biggest success for him was that he left my classroom  comfortable with himself, made friends with every student in the class- and I could actually mark down that yes, he "PLAYED well with others!"

To the "untrained eye" saying that a child "plays well with others" seems like a given on a report card;  a subheading  just to get to the real grades, the important stuff.  Playing well with others  is the important stuff- and I found the quotes to prove it!

Here are some of my favorites that I put on the Prezi.

 (I love this one so much, and think of it every time my husband and son go off to play golf!)

 (This is my VERY favorite because these 2 princesses are my girls when they were little! :)

So- during this break from school, don't you forget how important play time is, no matter how old you are! ;)  Have fun and ...

I put a link to an interesting Washington Post article about play in the classroom at the bottom of this last picture. 

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