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

Archive for December, 2016

Children at Play

I wrote this post in my head yesterday but didn’t realise until late at night that I didn’t actually write it and post. Does that ever happen to you? It is kind of like thinking you sent someone an email or a text message, only to find out days later that you didn’t and now they are mad at you and you are only just figuring out why.


I am a firm believer in the value of play, and not just for children. Playing, for all groups at all ages, is such an important way for us to build relationships, confirm social norms, and interact with diverse groups of people. I think this is one of the reasons that I love tabletop gaming so much. Some of my best friends are people who I met because of gaming!


I love seeing my students at play. It fascinates me how they create rules for games that are made up on the spot or modify existing rules on the fly to make sure that everyone can participate. One of the most common games I see students play outside is called Spider Monkey and, even though I’ve watched it played on a nearly daily basis for over five years, I am still convinced that the students simply make up the rules as they go. (Each time I tell students this, they insist that I am wrong; I keep hoping someone will write The Comprehensive Guide to Playing Spider Monkey for me.)


I also find it interesting that some games will involve a large number of students and others will be just two. Boys and girls will play in separate groups at times, but other times they will freely mix with one another. Some students will float from game to game while others will pick one and become an expert on just that.


It is nice to take a break from reading and writing and mathing and inquiring and remember that learning to people is important, too.