Sunday, January 20, 2013

Indoor & Outdoor Recess

I would venture to say recess is the most favorite part of any student's day! It has amazed me though at times when a child expresses their wishes for indoor recess while we are getting ready to go outside. What kid does not want to play outside?!?! There are days when I want to stay inside because it is too cold for my liking; however, I force myself to take them out so we all do not go crazy inside! 

We are a small private school and do not have a gym. Indoor recess means playing with class toys inside our classroom. Not always ideal for 30 minute stretches. For the most part, indoor recess is educational and fun for the children. My classroom toys are purposefully chosen to draw out the creativity in the students during play. I have a bin of animals, a bin of blocks, a bucket of beads, a box of lincoln logs and then a bucket of various toys. I usually only let them bring out any 2 of these items to minimize cleanup time. 
Cleanup time commences with a counting song I turn on and it is supposed to end when the song ends - approximately 2 minutes. Most days they finish on time but some days... well, not so much. It is always a goal to strive for though, right? :) 

The kids continually amaze me with their creations during indoor recess. It usually corresponds to something we are learning about in class. This is always a gratifying thing because it validates their understanding of what I am teaching. One time, they had a rainforest being built. They combined the various rainforest animals on hand with blocks that were built into "trees." There were frogs and snakes everywhere! When we were talking about farms, they built corrals and put the appropriate barn animals inside. 
The one personal benefit of indoor recess is that I can continue working on my school things while watching the children at play. :)  I have gotten many things accomplished during those 30 minutes that would otherwise not have happened! Since it is indoor recess and only affects my room and schedule, those 30 minutes sometimes stretch into 40. :) 

My preference though is outdoor recess. The children can be loud and free the entire time. I do not have to constantly remind them to keep their decibel level down to a dull roar. They can get their physical exercise too without realizing it. They run, they climb, they swing, they push others on the swing... all while soaking in essential Vitamin D. Meanwhile, I sit in a chair or walk around monitoring play and conversations. They tend to think I cannot hear what they are saying so sometimes there are arguments outside that I do not hear inside. There are outdoor toys to play with as well but during these winter months, they are content to run and swing and act out lots of pretend scenarios such as pirates on a ship or Mario Brothers! Last year, it was Angry Birds. You can always figure out what the next trend is by listening to these types of play acting. :) 
So what is your preference for recess - indoor or outdoor? and why?

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