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 🙂