Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Free Play and Holidays

We are just back from a week off - a new holiday to us called Fall Break.

Some people do a lot of complaining about fall break. They would rather have a week in the summer when the weather is nice. Some people went exciting places. Some stayed home.

It was interesting to talk to my students about fall break. Predictably, I had my students write in their journals about what they did during fall break. One thing I love about my class is they really don't hold back. If there is something they don't want to do or don't like they let me know right away. There was lots of whining and complaining and questions about how many sentences they had to write.

I figured it was time for a good talk. It seems that some kids, if they didn't go somewhere exotic, felt like they didn't do anything. My mind went back to an article I read recently on the importance of free play. 


Staying home for a break really gives a kid the chance to figure out what they like to do and to make their own fun - a key to healthy development. We talked about the wonderful things about staying home.....time to do whatever you want (watch TV or Youtube, read, do Lego, stare out your window.....a favorite of many kids). We talked about going tobaganning. We talked about going to the mall (some love it and some, like me, hate it). Eventually, they all started to come on board. I tied it up with, "Besides, if the principal hears that we don't like fall break maybe he will decide we should just be in school instead." That clinched it. Suddenly everyone realized they had a wonderful fall break!

And the writing!!! I told them there was no way they could tell me how great fall break was in 5 sentences. I also told them I wasn't going to give them a number. Rather, they needed to write until they wrote enough that what they wrote would remind themselves when they read it again about how great fall break is.

And it sure is!

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