7 comments
  1. Great post! I really liked how you described how play seemlessly transfers into experimentation. It's too bad that with such a fear of failure, most in our society miss these golden moments of unbridled learning.

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  2. I think "play" is "work" minus the expectation of a particular outcome. There's no wrong way to play; if your block tower falls over or you can't find a rhyme for "purple", no one punishes you with a failing grade. It's the difference between divergent and convergent thinking: the best play generates many "what ifs", and the best work gets you closest to the answer at the back of the book.

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    1. And yet the system is all about "learning targets" and "objectives" and "measurable outcomes." How do we fit in the need to play?

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    2. Declare occasional assessment holidays? I read another teacher explaining how she gives her younger kids a day just to tinker with a new math tool (it was some kind of geometry building tool, I think) before starting in on the official lessons. That seems like a start, sneaking in tinkering moments. (Objective: To gain an intestinal-based understanding of the uses and functions of the tool through open-ended experimentation?)

      I'm not sure what the equivalents would be for every subject.

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  3. My high school students enjoyed planning parties, for themselves and for others. They would plan a Christmas party for a nearby elementary school, taking food, presents, and then playing games with the little ones. This was like playing to them yet it taught them so much about planning, budgeting, cooperating, and evaluating. The last year I taught, my seniors planned a chalk art contest and festival at a nearby mall. It was hard work, in many ways, but they saw it all as play time.

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    1. That's awesome. I love the concept of a chalk art contest.

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