Let the Children Play

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Trafford Publishing, Jun 25, 2012 - Reference - 208 pages
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They need a routine. Otherwise, they get very confused. Five or six minutes of practice at anyone or thing is long enough. Obviously, the older the students, the longer the attention span. One of the first things I learned was that gym and lunch held great significance. I, as the gym teacher, became a movie star overnight. I made myself a premise early in my career as an elementary physical education teacher that I would not talk too much. I would LET THE CHILDREN PLAY. And as I watched the little children stand in line for the bus, stand in line for lunch, and walk in line through the hall, I vowed that in gym class, they would not spend a lot of time standing in line. I would LET THE CHILDREN PLAY. This book is based on the premiseLET THE CHILDREN PLAY. We managed our class using the four Cscooperation, competition, consideration of others, and control of the self. The activities are selected first because they are fun. The second premisehave as many children as active as possible at one time. This was accomplished through the use of small group games, stations, and circuits. The third premiseall children will be treated fairly and affirmatively. All children are the leaders, all children get to be the taggers, all children get to have a turn, and all children have an equal opportunity to learn the fundamentals in all areas taught. The fourth premiseto teach children to compete, to practice, to persevere. The concept of doing the best you can and respecting yourself and others is a necessary thing to teach. The fifth premiseto teach the children how to cooperate together. The big question is this: If we call children names or make fun of them, will they perform better or worse in the activity? We learn to share and help each other in all of our activities. The activities are based on ten years of experience teaching beginning skills and games. The children decided what activities should be included in this book. It is packed full of the things they like to do. LET THE CHILDREN PLAY is a compilation of activities that work with average, normal children and is useful to the classroom teacher as well as the specialist.

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About the author (2012)

Ten years ago, I was asked if I wanted a new teaching assignment in the elementary school. After a twenty-year career in the middle school, I would teach kindergarten, prefirst, first, and second. I accepted my new position and my first quest was to discover what the children were like. What do they like to do? How do I keep them busy and active? They are short and tall, they are courageous and afraid, they are bright and they are dull, and they are slow and they are fast. Some have played Pee Wee Soccer; some have sat in front of the TV. They are strong and weak. They will do exactly what you say and are willing to please. They are all good guys. Some want you to hold their hands and others don’t want you to help them. They each have a unique personality that is relatively molded by the time they enter kindergarten. They have shoelaces to be tied and noses to be wiped; they are rough and rugged. They are gentle. My first reaction was that children were darling. They want their own ball or other piece of equipment. They didn’t know how to share. The children hear half of what you tell them and anything or anyone extraneous to the environment was a big distraction. I recall trying to teach a class outdoors on the first day the dandelions bloomed. All of my cows, chickens, and horses wandered off on their elusive search for the beautiful flowers. If one child has to go to the rest room, they all have to go. They will all love you. They have no concept of space. Don’t expect a nicely shaped circle or the perfect line. I remember organizing the class into groups and sending them to different stations to play on the big equipment. Soon they were all over the place. I had a student psychologist observing the class. As I was throwing up my hands, he reminded me they were having a great time. Some children even though four or five will behave as though they are three. They love to run. There is always a screamer or two. The teacher must repeat the directions several times. The first day, I asked them to stay in the pigpen. I had several pigs out of the pen. They honestly forgot.

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