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It’s a Good Thing to Play in the Classroom
- July 21, 2017
- Posted by: yorktown
- Category: Student-Centered Learning
Play has not always been an accepted practice in traditional classrooms over the years. Play was reserved for recess when you could run and laugh and release the stricture of sitting quietly in your chair. And that was no easy task if you recall those days.
Today the 21st Century classroom looks strikingly different. Welcome differences that make learning much more inviting.
Students are encouraged to collaborate, share ideas, discuss views, innovate and create solutions that are unique and very much their own. Integrating play into the mix offers a valuable training ground for discovery.
To some people using play in the classroom takes the form of a game that has rules to be followed with the teacher monitoring the process. It might be a math game or a science quiz or a spelling bee. And certainly there’s a place for games, but games are not necessarily play. Especially if they have too many rules.
Fun with Language Arts
Finding dictionary definitions can inspire a sense of play. How? When asked to find definitions in the dictionary, students discover phrases or odd words that make them laugh and have fun with one another. When asked to find a special word they like and write a poem with that word, they can learn more about the language and have fun at same time.
Another playful project for the classroom involves bringing together two unrelated items and using them to create something new and fun. It might be a roller skate and a balloon; or a bird nest and an umbrella. Plenty of discovery and LOL moments result from this project.
Language can be fun and playful when writing is experienced as both a constructive and destructive process. For instance, when students write five lines of prose off the top of their heads, then go back and cross out words or phrases they think could be better or more creative, they have great fun and it’s a good self-editing skill to learn.
Writing and sharing stories is a wonderful creative way to enjoy play in the classroom. Stories might originate from a child’s imagination or things they talk about at home or with friends. Creative writing is an inspiring, playful tool for building confidence and encouraging students to embrace new challenges.