March 31, 2016
Making Time for Play
I teach third grade, and I love it! I love how my kids are big enough to have “real” conversations about life and tougher issues, and how they are still small enough to race inside and tell me about the special leaf that they found at recess time.
At this age, there is such a great opportunity to integrate play in the classroom. Our students are already familiar and eager to play, so why not use purposeful play activities designed to engage students in our curriculum.
Here are two of our current favourite ways to play!
One of my favourite “exit ticket” type activities is Painting the Room. Although a traditional exit-ticket takes only 3-5 minutes, this one can take 30-60 minutes. This play based activity combines Art and any other subject you would like.
I start by taping up large banner paper around the room, and dividing students into small groups. Then, I set goals. Depending on our current unit of study, I may ask them to paint the answer to a guiding question (“Show me how plants grow and change.”) or show what they have learned (What promises do you have from God). They are then free to express what they know using paints. In this time I will go around and be assessing orally as well in casual conversations while they paint.
Play and Talk was born out of a need for my students to break out of their “cliques” and get to know other people in our classroom. Students are divided into pairs, or groups of three, and pick a board game of their choice. They then pick two Question Cards. (I bought mine from another store on TpT - Bright Stars Learning) Throughout the game time, they must figure out the answer to these cards about each member of their group. At the end of the playtime, we meet as a big group to present the new things we learned about group members. The only rule is that you may not talk about yourself, you may only share new things you learned about someone else. In doing this, I am easily integrating Oral Language, Social Responsibility, and Health and Careers outcomes into one fun activity. Plus, students have started to make connections with people that they don’t usually play with on their own. Win for both of us!
How do you play in your classroom? Do you integrate the curriculum into playtime? I would love to hear from you!