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Today, We Played

23 August 2012

We played together today.

My 6th graders and I are away on a two-day “Breakaway” trip to Victory Ranch about an hour and a half outside Memphis. It’s been a day full of character and team building activities. I’ve been able to spend some time getting to know the guys in my mentor group better, and we’ve had a great time facing some challenges and enjoying some friendly competition. We’ve also talked a lot about leadership and what it means to be a godly man, but perhaps my favorite part of the day Has been playing with my homeroom.

We spent a couple of hours this afternoon riding the zip line and playing on the water slide. I put on a harness and joined them. We ran. We swam. We ate sno cones. We wrestled in the pond as the boys tried, rather unsuccessfully, to dunk me. We received a reprimand from the lifeguard. We tried to catch a football while going down a four-story water slide. We did flips and barrel rolls. We took turns. We told stories. We laughed. We connected and bonded as a homeroom class.

Playing is learning. It’s important. We spend a significant amount of time thinking, learning, and problem-solving in school and it’s good, but so are the times when we play. Play allows for self-expression. It develops our creativity, imagination, and empathy. Play reduces anxiety and increases self-confidence. When we play, we learn to cooperate, share, and resolve conflict. We improve our concentration and learn to persist. We develop our ability to communicate. (Singer, Golinkoff, Hirsh-Pasek 2011)

We weren’t in class today. The desks sat empty. But don’t say we didn’t learn. Today, we played.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. John T. Spencer permalink
    24 August 2012 7:15 am

    That’s awesome. I wish I could do something like that with my class. I think it’s so critical and a valuable way to form community as a group!

    • 24 August 2012 7:21 am

      Thanks, John. We are having a blast! I wish I had come with last year’s group, but I was still transitioning. I did take them out and play some football and soccer with them, though. I love how intentional my school is about educating the whole child, too. I just hate I missed the paintball fight yesterday. :)

  2. Julia Porter permalink
    24 August 2012 7:58 am

    It sounds so fun! The classroom was definitely lonely, but I am glad you’re getting to bond with them.

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