Run a successful recess—Part 1


There’s more to recess than just sending kids outside to play.  It takes effort and planning to make recess a successful active and social time.  Here are some tips to help your class get the most out of recess.

Part One: Gather recess equipment

Play areas like swings and jungle gyms are nice, but they generally aren’t designed for the numbers of students in a given recess.  Kids need other activities.  They need play equipment.

Does your school have an adequate supply of balls, jump ropes, etc?  Sometimes these supplies are made available to students only at lunch recess, leaving a grade level recess with no supplies.  Often these supplies are in a state of disrepair.

There are different ways to solve the problem of recess equipment:

  • During my first year, a retired teacher and principal subbed for our class.  He noticed that we did not have recess equipment.  A few days later, he brought us a wonderful present: enough balls, jump ropes, and other toys for our whole class.  Thank you, Mr. Langdon!
  • I taught third grade with a close-knit team of teachers.  We each received a budget for the year, which we ordinarily used for classroom and office supplies.  One year, we realized that PE equipment was availed in the district catalog.  We each contributed some of our class’s budget and purchased enough recess equipment for over one hundred kids.  We kept it in a large garbage can in our hallway.  It was prominently labeled “Third Grade Recess” to keep other grades from poaching it or custodians from dumping it.
  • Class toy drive: Ask the kids to bring in recess equipment.  Some items will be donations; others will remain one child’s property, which is just fine.  Prominently label everything, and label it again later in the year after the labels wear off.
  • Ask the PTA or parents for contributions: maybe the PTA can give you money you can use at the district’s rate for equipment, or money to buy equipment on the regular market.  Parents might donate money or equipment.
  • If nothing else, get tennis balls.  Lots and lots of tennis balls.  Used tennis balls are fine, unless they have been used by a dog.

I hope that your recess equipment drive yields some fun toys for your students.   I find that if you tell the kids about the effort that went into obtaining the toys and how much they cost, the students will take much better care of the equipment.  This goes double for equipment that they helped to procure.

Have a happy recess!

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Posted in Classroom Management,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Sep 8, 2014


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