I absolutely feel as a teacher today, that I help guide a community of learners. Always thinking, reading, writing, deciding, wondering, discussing, questioning, daring, making, creating. One word that does often enter into that myriad of descriptors is “playing.” Sure, we play with words and play with ideas but there is no time for play in third grade, we have far too much to create and discover. But, how do we look at play? Dare we say that play fosters imagination and learning in schools?
This week we played. Yup, you heard it. We packed up and took home some inspiration from a video we saw and we used our imaginations, created, and then PLAYED. At school. And it was awesome. There is simply no other word for it. Just awesome.
My lovelies watched Caine’s Arcade last week. If you are unfamiliar, I encourage you to look it up on youtube. If you don’t start immediately creating and thinking upon viewing it, then watch it again. You missed something.
Caine created an entire arcade out of cardboard boxes and tubes. Complete with working moving parts, prizes, and tickets. It is spectacular. I challenged my students to do the same if they were inspired by Caine.
During this week of testing my students lugged behind them giant cardboard claw machines, small ring toss challenges, and a multitude of boxes with tubes sticking out. They walked us through their plans and explained with a twinkle in their eye how you operated said game and then… we played.
I learned more about some of my students during those small snippets of play than I have learned sitting next to them in math class or while reading a book. Even during writing, when they are in the midst of their imagination creating, they seem to dial it back a notch or two to “excited school mode.” THIS was pure, unbridled imagination that drove them. You could see the wheels turning and smoke pouring out of their ears from the exertion of excitement as they described their game. You could feel the pride that radiated from them as their customers gave it a whirl, and offered up suggestions for improvement no less. 🙂
Every single student enthralled and thinking. This will remain with me for a long time. And my ultimate hope is that each of those minds took with them some imagination to hold on to and the need to share it.
Yes. Yes, there is time for play.