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I asked the following questions to the students during my big idea discussion about play.
1. Describe playing.
2. How do You like to play (with friends or alone)?
3. Where do You like to play (inside or outside)?
4. How do You feel—what emotions do You feel—when You’re playing (happy or sad etc.)?
5. Does anything influence what You play (media, professions ie. Doctor, teacher etc., surroundings)?
6. How does culture—the world around You—effect the way You play?
7. What is going through your mind—what do You think about—while You are playing?
8. How is play like escaping?
9. How is play like learning?
10. How does play use discovery?
11. How does playing and learning relate?
12. When You are playing what do You notice (anything)?
13. After You’re done playing, what do You do next (rest, homework, eat, shower etc.)?
First of all, I want to say that I had so much fun! I was so blessed by my kids’ response to the discussion. Ms. Massey has cultivated a calm environment conducive for discussion, and I was so thankful that I had the opportunity to communicate with three of her precious classes. As the footage (videos and photographs) that Ms. Massey took testifies, the kids understood what I was asking them about play, and even had the capacity to expound on their thoughts in response to the questions. This was such a treat for me.
I learned far more about myself as a teacher, than they did through the discussion about play. I feel that the students grasped the information that we discussed, that I was able to keep the discussion at a comfortable pace, and the video related to the topic perfectly for the kids. I loved getting to express myself, artistically through the discussion about play. Especially when I had the chance to encourage the kids. Teaching is an art! I love thinking about the discussion as my canvas and the kids as the beautiful creation. What an exciting way to look at teaching.
After I had the initial discussion, when I asked the kids my questions about the big idea of play, I showed the Art21 video on Jessica Stockholder. After the video, I asked some more questions relating specifically with the idea of play and how Jessica developed and created art through playing. She was a great resource for my discussion, and we even talked about the possibility of contacting her regarding some of her artwork! Ms. Massey suggested this! I am so glad that everyone received the discussion and welcomed the idea of play in personal art making. I could tell the students have been making art by means of play, at home, because they were so proud to share about it with fellow classmates. They were making connections on their own, without guidance from me! I could see this easily developing into a unit plan with lessons evolved from the big idea of play.
My teaching philosophy came across so well through the discussion. I felt that when I taught it was second nature and sensed life in the classroom, which is represented through the waterfall metaphor in my teaching philosophy. I felt in my element, more so than merely taking notes, collecting data about students and helping with random tasks during my observations. Each observation assignment really built upon the previous one, and culminated in an enjoyable experience—the favorite of all—for me during the semester.
* Please watch the videos! Thank you!