Recess is one of the most important aspects of the school day; this is a time where students can not only free their minds but free their bodies. Long hours in chairs and possible looking at screens, they need to move, and they need a purpose that relates to their individual wants and desires. Recess is the place where innovative minds can explore the world of fun and unstructured play. A time where fantasy worlds can be created and the essence of sharing and collaboration finds its birth. Sadly, recess has taken a hit in some schools. There is a vast array of students who spend their recess time looking at phones or standing in lines to wait for the next turn. How can we help students experience meaningful recess without encroaching on their ability to have their freedom in play and being with their friends?
A great way to tackle this is something I have experience in implementing; I call it "Station Sensation". Take half the field or gym or MPR, wherever your recess is help pending weather, AQI, etc. As a physical educator you have access to all the recess equipment and in some cases the capability to purchase/add more to promote engagement at recess. Create instructional videos that teachers can share with their class or have a Station Sensation workshop during community meetings or advisory. Take the kids through the different games they could play at these stations. Each game focus on different ways of playing and integrating social growth and dynamics of collaboration. Each week you can designate what equipment will be at each station, and students have the choice of using your game, but more often than not, they will reinvent the wheel either based on your game or be inspired to create a new game utilizing the equipment available. This only takes up half the space, so those kids who want to participate in hop-skotch, soccer, basketball and other sports/activities still have the oppurtunity to do so. The purpose of Station Sensation is not to command kids and direct their play it's to give them an avenue to learn about creating play and having an outlet to get their innovative minds and passions rolling.