I play all the time on different apps. I will find an app I like and play it relentlessly. My current obsession is Papa Pear. I usually will play a game until my nephew or niece tells me about a new game and then I start to play whichever game they suggest. I love sharing progress with them and discussing strategies and the game in general with them. I have gotten hooked on Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Doodle Jump, and Jetpack Joyride all because they suggested them. I have found that my attention span only lasts so long and then I move on, especially if it is a game that I have to keep up with (like feeding my animals or protecting my compound). I don’t have a lot of time to play games so I need games that I can play while waiting for the doctor or for my staff meeting to start.

I have always loved playing. I grew up on a farm with two brothers and one sister. We were always outside playing something with all the neighbor kids. We played kickball, football, veterinarian hospital, cops and robbers (our grain silo was our jail), and cattle drivers (we would ride our cows and try to make them herd the rest of the cows). We problem solved (our cows weren’t very good at herding) as needed and had a lot of fun. When I started school, I wanted to play school at home all the time. I now know that I was using play to make sense of the changes in my life and deal “with the massive influx of information” (Thomas & Brown, 2011).

I am fortunate that I get to play with my students every day. This year, I am only doing building and making centers because my classroom center time doubles as a makerspace. I will be including technology in the future, but for now my students have paper sculpting, Tinker Toys, K’nex, Dominos, Fiddle Stix, and Legos. My students are learning to play nicely with each other and talk about feelings to solve conflicts. I love being able to play and make things with them. I have noticed that I am in a much happier mood in the afternoon after I played with my students. It is important to “remember that play is important for all aspects of our lives, including creativity and relationships” (Tartakovsky, 2012). I definitely feel that play has helped me build relationships with some of my more difficult students. I feel that it is helping all of us maintain a positive social well-being. My students are connecting with each other through play and I am connecting with them (Yenigun, 2014). I feel that play helps me deal positively with changes and challenges. Play make me more creative and as I said, it puts me in a better mood. When I am happy, I feel that I can deal with change better. I have had a lot of turmoil being a new teacher last year and changing grades this year. I don’t have the curriculum I need to teach my students. I don’t have the supplies we need to do art. I can be frustrating and I get disheartened. However, I teach my students that we have to make changes sometimes. In my classroom, we roll with the flow and sometimes fly by the seat of our pants. I’ve had to explain the meaning of both those phrases to my students. I know that for a lot of people, change can be difficult. For me, everything is new. It’s all a change from what I’m used to doing, so I just go with it and try to “embrace” it.

References

Tartakovsky, M. (2012, November 15). The Importance of Play for Adults. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from Psych Central: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/15/the-importance-of-play-for-adults/

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Yenigun, S. (2014, August 6). Play Doesn’t End With Childhood: Why Adults Need Recess Too. Retrieved September 26, 20q5, from National Public Radio : http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/06/336360521/play-doesnt-end-with-childhood-why-adults-need-recess-too

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6 thoughts on “What does the way you play have to do with embracing change and how does this impact you as a professional?

  1. I like your post. It brought back so many happy memories for me. I grew up in the country in Oregon. Its amazing how fun a barn full of hay bales can be. With a little imagination those hay bales turned into so many things. I never rode our cows thought – LOL. Your post was a good reminder for me to use play to build connections with my students.

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    1. I have pictures of me riding our cows and I shared them with my students last week. They thought it was so funny. They also liked the pictures of me holding squealing piglets. I was rarely bored growing up. My students love when I go to recess with them or to PE class too. I know it’s my prep, but sometimes it is a good break for me as well.

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  2. You raised some good points this week. I have been trying to allow more creativity and collaboration in my classroom, but instead my students either goof off or argue. I keep thinking why don’t 5th graders know what to do when they are in a group? why are they so critical of each other? why can’t they get along? Am I teaching 1st grade? After reading this weeks blogs and with some reflection I have realized that no matter how young or old students need to be taught these skills. I do have some students that work well together and get their work done. As you wrote about you are using the maker center time to teach theses skills. I need to do the same. I need to take the opportunities as a teachable moment. I need to stop assuming that 5th graders will know how to act in groups, even when they pick their partners.

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    1. I had the same issue when I was student teaching sixth grade students. I kept wondering if my class was the first time they ever did group work. I think that it is easier for some students to focus than others, which is another reason why it needs to be retaught each year. My students are loving the makerspace centers. They are working together for the most part to build things. I have a couple students who are struggling with being kind and sharing. For now, I am just letting them build what they would like, but I plan on giving them tasks to complete using their center materials from time to time as well.

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  3. Thanks for the list of games. I agree with not wanting to continuously feed animals in a game. I had three devices beeping after the children went to bed. I’ll have to check out the games you listed.

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