I don’t know about you, but with two weeks of school left, we are all a bit squirrelly! You can feel the end is near and it’s making everyone a bit crazy and cranky, kids and adults alike. Recess is a saving grace and the promise of EXTRA recess will motivate even the most active kids to focus and work a little harder. I sit in a LOT of IEP meetings throughout the year, and recess comes up often for my friends with social language issues. Unstructured times, like recess, are often the wild west of hidden rules for these kiddos. You will either see them walking the perimeter of the playground on their own or trying to join in, but in unexpected and unwelcome ways.
I found several videos on Youtube that explain the rules of recess, from the teacher and student point of view. You can find them on my Youtube channel under social play modeling or on my social videos Pinterest board. Many schools have adopted PBIS (positive behavior intervention and supports) to address the “rules of the schools”. PBIS often addresses recess and playground behavior specifically, so how great would it be to make your own school video or school posters to talk about the rules of recess? You could brainstorm with your students about the rules (both spoken and hidden rules) of recess and then have them teach their peers through a video. Talk with your administration and media specialist about sharing the videos at school; we have morning announcements that show on TVs in all the classrooms. Bonus: it’s a great way to work on tone of voice, volume, orienting your body towards to camera, thinking with your eyes and more social concepts that your student may be working on, as you film them! Don’t forget to get parent permission first!
To further this concept, what about making videos to show how to join into games, ask other kids to play or even how to play certain games, like rock, paper, scissors ? Remember, our kids are not incidental learners, so breaking down the steps to play may seem too basic, but it’s often where we need to start! We also know there are students that could benefit from this visual support that don’t have IEPs , but still struggle socially at recess. I bet you could get a LOT of buy in from your counselor, other special education teachers and therapists in your school for a great project! Think about tapping into Donor’s Choose to apply for funds for a great video camera and editing software too.
How do you support your students at recess? Share here!