Teaching First Grade has reminded me how new everything is to these students.  They truly are discovering the world around them.  Not only do we want to teach them to identify letters and sounds, how to read, and introduce numbers and counting, but it is also our responsibility to teach them the rules and routines of school and how to interact and play with their peers.  It is a long school day with a lot of information to take in for a young child.  Sometimes these kids just need to a break and chance to play.

Play can happen in the form of a break, game, or recess, or as an activity in a lesson.  For a math exploration activity, students were split into 3 groups and told to explore the materials-base 10 blocks, pattern blocks, and geoboards.  Some of these materials were new to the students, and the students loved being able to build and create designs.  To introduce the science unit of balancing, students were given a tagboard crayfish and 2 clothespins; they were told to find a way to balance the crayfish on one finger.  The students were creative and tried putting the clothespins in different places.  Some students also tried balancing the crayfish in other places, such as their forearms, and later, some tried to balance their own body on one foot.  They had fun being hands-on and exploring; as a result, they were able to correctly answer my objectives: what is balancing and what is the purpose of counter-weights.

Even with the increasing standards and demands of school, we can’t lose sight of the fact we are teaching young children.  Sometimes they just need to have fun and have the chance to play.  picstitch