Sunday, December 20, 2015

Global School Play Day, Are You In?

Last year, I saw something about Global School Play Day in my Twitter feed. I don't remember who posted it, but my initial thought was, "This is for me and my kids." I wasn't wrong.

I introduced GSPD to my students this way: "This Wednesday, we're going to have a day for you to play. There are only a couple of rules. First, I'm staying out of it unless someone does something dangerous or hurtful. Secondly, we're not using electronic devices. Other than that it's your day. Think of it like one of those days where Dad's watching you, but he's busy, and doesn't want to be bothered." I answered a few questions as I was telling the kids about it, and by the time we were done, you could see on their faces that I'd blown their minds.

When the day came, I busied myself playing with a project that I wanted to help some other teachers with, and the kids played. They had games, action figures, puppet shows, Lego, and some took apart old electronics that we had in the class for that purpose. Only a few times did students come to my desk. Mostly they came to see what I was doing. I showed them and said politely, "Now I should really get back to work, go play!" One boy had more trouble though. "Tim" was upset because some other boys didn't want to play the way he wanted to play. Later, he didn't like the rules they'd made up. Both times I said to him, "Well, you'll need to figure it out peacefully, or if you can't, you could always find another place to go play." He sat and pouted for a while, and I wanted to go fix things, but I knew that he'd learn more if he figured it out for himself. And he did. There were no other real complications on the day.

Afterward, I had several students write glowing editorials about the day, and realized how much we're missing if play is relegated to one day a year. In October, I was at EdCamp Tampa Bay, in a session led by Bryan Miller, with the topic of play in the classroom. We discussed the reasons for play in school - play decreases stress, & increases social skills and class culture, play is a natural form of learning, play makes our learning memorable - and teachers' reluctance to play in school. At the end, Bryan laid out a challenge - schedule in 10 minutes of play each day. When you see the good that it does for your students, share it with other teachers at your school, share it with your principal, start a movement.

I did just that, and it's been fantastic. I've seen my students creativity come out, and I've learned more about their interests and tastes. It's allowed me to teach to the people I have, rather than trying to mold them to what I want to say. My classroom's climate is better, as well. There is less stress, and less irritability.

The Play train goes on, we discussed it in the #2PencilChat, and went whole hog with Play as learning at Teacher Play Date. So when the notices started up for Global School Play Day, I want to wave the banner from the top of the school. "Return childhood to our children!" I want to yell, "Bring PLAY back to your classrooms!"

So if you haven't signed up yet, hop over to the Global School Play Day website and sign your classroom up today! Let's do what's right for education, let's do what's right for our kids.


Lastly, I wanted to share a blog post on the subject from one of my students. As you read it, you can see her passion. 

Global School Play Day by Kayla

Hi guys, Kayla here today I’m going to tell you about this AWESOME event it’s called global school play day!.   So what you do is you PLAY ALL DAY!!!  Of course I’m not crazy about the outdoors but you can go outside it’s on February 4th our class is doing it. So I’m really glad I could do this because I’m going on a cruise on February 5th so yeah. I plan on bringing all my monster high / ever after high dolls so I’m super exited.  And this is just another reason my teacher is AWESOME no offence other teachers. So I’m really happy that were able to do this now. Not many other teachers are doing this it’s an AWESOME event so I would really like it if more teachers did this because after working a lot kid deserve to play for a day. So if you see this please convince your teacher to do it. And share the idea because I know it’s going to be AWESOME. But I want to share a few more things I really would recommend it and keep being Awesome students. – KAYLA AT HEART 

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