Playing, Tinkering, Making A Mess

I get play-based learning… Well, I think I do. My version is probably different than yours because I’m tinkering with the idea.  

Last year I ventured into the land of grade 2 to test the waters.  I learned that for the most part a primary class is not for me.  However,  I also realized how much I buy into the idea of letting students mess with things.  I would hand out new books and say “tell me what you think.  I would plop down all of our math manipulatives and say "make something amazing”.  I would ask them what they wanted to learn about.  This happened in moderation, and it was designed mostly as a springboard for lessons. I can tell you with certainty students loved it, and they they learned a lot from the process.

At the end of my year in primary I vowed to bring elements of play into my junior class.  The first opportunity came last week.  

We were reading a story from a  dusty old textbook and made it into a short movie.  In the past I’ve used this story for drama and literacy.  This year I asked the class what they could see in the room that they wanted to use to help make the story come alive.  Here’s what they came up with: 

After we finished playing with the story.  I read a wonderful article about the maker movement in schools.  As I looked at my students’ work, a few things came clear. 1) The process that they went through was rad.  They got to tinker, play and problem solve. 2) I think that I can do so much better.  I think we, together, can do so much better.  

So many people talk fondly about everything that they learned in kindergarten.  But are we walking the walk?

I think I’ve found a good PD area for my annual learning plan 🙂

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