The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.


It 0ccurs to me that, in the nearly two years that I have been keeping this blog, I have never actually written about recess. Sure, I’ve mentioned recesses in my posts, but I’ve never taken the time to what my students actually do during recess.

Today seems as good as any day to change that. I have arranged my daily schedule such that my class has a fifteen-minute recess at the end of the day. There are some days that we will take an extra recess in the morning so that the students can enjoy unseasonably warm weather. This was especially common in the first weeks of winter when it wasn’t really “wintery” weather.

The students also have opportunities to earn a few extra five minutes for recess when I select a “mystery student” for the afternoon. (The “mystery student” concept came from the PBIS conference. A student is randomly selected before the class goes to fine arts. If that student is silent in the halls and follows all of the expectations in the fine arts teacher’s classroom, then the class as a whole receives the five extra minutes. This works really well since nobody knows who the mystery student is, so everyone does their best. It isn’t something that can be used every day, but it can be used from time to time with great success.)

Most days during recess, my class divides into three groups: the soccer players, the kickball players, and the playground equipment players. The first two groups are fairly self-explanatory, I’d imagine. The third group varies from day-to-day, but they often climb around the equipment playing an intricate game of “spider monkey” –a game I had never heard of before until today. I honestly have no idea how this game developed, or where my students learned it, but it definitely seems to be something that most of them understand. I tried to follow the rules today, but I’m still kind of lost. Maybe I’ll make them write it out for me tomorrow.

Surprisingly, there was no interest among my students in playing kickball today, and the group playing soccer only had four or five playing instead of the usual eight or so. Still, everyone was playing during recess, which, really, is the whole point of having recess in the first place!


4 responses

  1. Has it really been reduced so far that kids in elementary school only get one 15 minute recess a day? If so, do you find this adds extra challenges to your day, such as pent up youthful energy?

    February 16, 2012 at 8:57 pm

  2. Oh, goodness, no, they also get a lunch recess which is about twenty minutes or so. I give them a fifteen minute recess at the end of the day because our schedule is such that there’s not enough time for any meaningful instruction. I think that any recess longer than that is not a very good use of the very short amount of time I have each day to teach, anyway.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm

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