Two Saturdays ago, I was fortunate enough to attend an AMAZING workshop put on by the Life is Good company. You know those t-shirts? Did you know that the company was created for the purpose of helping children who have experienced some form of trauma in their lives, and the t-shirt side of the company was developed as a way to promote their program? Fun fact!
I was so inspired and excited when I left the workshop, that I wanted to share some of the things that I learned with you!
Did you know that play is important to children who have experienced some form of trauma (and even those who haven't?) Play helps students thrive and even helps them nearly overcome the effects of a traumatic experience.
So how can we incorporate playfulness into the school day with all of the standards we have to help students reach and all of the content that we have to teach? Well, one of the most helpful quotes that I took away from this workshop was..
So you don't have to make time to squeeze in play… you can make what you already do playful! Here's some fun ways that I've made my lessons more playful after being inspired by the workshop:
-Jazz up a boring letter/sounds lesson by having students give a drumroll on their knees while they're waiting for you to say the next letter.
-Have students practice the counting sequence by making it into a game. Choose a number to count to and a movement to do. The kids will count as they do the motion. Ex. Count to 80 while doing jumping jacks.
-Use a pretend microphone for your kiddos to read with during guided reading. They can pretend that they're a celebrity!
-Trade places with one of your kiddos during a calendar lesson or other lesson. Let them be the teacher while you sit in their carpet spot and pretend to be them.
Know your kids and when you notice they need a break, let them take a brain break. But, don't go prep for the next lesson during the brain break. Do it with them! Show them that you can be playful and that it's okay to be silly! I have to say, I've started doing the brain breaks with my kids instead of putting things away, and I see such a difference in my kids who are letting their guard down and letting themselves have fun. It makes my heart happy!
Lastly, talk with your kiddos and find out how they are doing. Sometimes, they need to know that it's okay to be having a bad day, or that someone cares that their tummy hurts. I took down my question of the day and turned it into "How are you feeling today?" with a smiley face and a frowney face as the choices. I take time to check in with the kids who chose a frowney face and talk to them about how they are feeling. It takes just a few minutes to check in with them, and you may be the only adult who shows them that they care all day.
Visit lifeisgood.com and click on "playmakers" to learn more!