Friday Two Cents: Playing Increases Productivity


 

    This past week I was able to work in a school as a physical education (PE) teacher. This was not the first time I supplied as a PE teacher and every time I do a quote “Leaders, lead by example.” comes to mind. I always show the students how to play the game or activity we are doing in gym, yet some how I always love participating with the students. Most of the time I referee the activity or participate if one side is winning by too much but I find that I do enjoy joining the students in the activity. And by the looks on their faces I can see that they too enjoy it when I participate with them. I sometimes get other teachers coming by and they usually smile when they see me playing with the students. Some say that I am the biggest kid in the school and I respond with a smile saying, “You have to lead by example.”

    Mind you I am a bit tired at the end of the day, who wouldn’t after teaching 7 classes in PE. Yet it’s like a good tired, like I accomplished something. Sometimes I even have extra energy to pursue my own passions such as art. I thought nothing of this until I read an article about “playing increases productivity.” The article mentioned that many companies such as Twitter and YouTube encourage their employees to take small breaks in the day to play. I have always been a big proponent that play is a great way to learn. Even the education system has endorsed this philosophy with play-based learning in the full day kindergarten program. There have been articles suggesting that play-based learning should be increased to grade 3 but we will have to wait and see about that idea.
    However, in the mean time I will continue to find every opportunity I can to play. Be it solitaire, darts, video games or just playing with my paints, pencils and simply creating what ever comes to me.
    I remember a wonderful poem written by an unknown author and it is posted at the entrance of the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans entitled “Play”.

 

Words that I truly believe and live by.

 

A verse by an unknown author at the entrance of the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans

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Friday Two Cents: Playing Dodge Ball


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‘Youth has no age.’ Pablo Picasso

 

This past week we had a rain day at the school. If you don’t remember those days, its raining so you stay inside and just chill for 15 minutes reading, playing cards, playing boards games like chess and other non physical games. Well this day was like many others and the students where the same. Restless. Even I have to admit I too was a bit restless.

Well I told my partner that because we are probably not going outside with the students in the afterschool, that it was best to let them have a very physical game in the gym, for about an hour. Many of the students enjoy one particular game that we haven’t played in about 4 months. It is called “War”. An all out, no holds barred game of dodge ball with no end in sight for about hour, if at all.

Dodge Ball

The game is played this way. You divide the students into two teams on either side of the gym. You pick two scouts (they wear red pinys) and you give them two folding mats that they setup on the their side as forts, and pylons to mark two jails on either side. The object of the game is to knock down the forts or get everyone out. We use foam balls so as to minimise the amount of injuries. Also the scouts are allowed to cross the centre line and enter the enemies’ territory and get people out or knock down the forts. If the ball hits you, you have to go to jail. However ever so often I call out jailbreak and everyone is free again. This way the game can go on for a very long time.

Watch out!!

We played this game and the students loved it. I also add music (from Star Wars) to help enhance the game experience. I too got into the game and threw the ball around and was having a lot of fun. Some parents and teachers commented that maybe I was having too much fun. I guess they where hinting that I should probably act my age. But then I remember hearing about how dodge ball can help us live longer. It has something to do with the quick reflexes required to play the game. Research shows that the more you work on increasing your reaction time you actually increase your likely hood of living longer. They say that there is a correlation between slow reflexes and dying sooner.
There you have it. I guess I’ll be living longer than other people because I am working on my reflexes with the students. I have always said it, that you are as old as you feel not your age. I guess that means I am allowed to continue playing with the students because I feel young at heart whenever I play with them.
Here’s to acting as young as I feel, because just like what Pablo Picasso said “Youth has no age.”

You’re as old as you feel.

Friday Two Cents: Vacationing In Ontario With George Part 3: A Day With My Niece


 

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On the adventure side of this summer vacation, this week has been a very quiet and relaxing one. I didn’t go do anything exciting or mind-blowing. I just stayed around the house cleaning and trying to do a massive purge. My father has kept ‘things’ since before I was born and hasn’t thrown away anything so its time to purge, organize and clean out the garage and tool area. To say that it is a mind numbing, tedious and disheartening task would be understating the obvious. Yet midst this chore I had a moment of comfort and to my surprise, a small adventure.

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Mufasa, Charlie and George

One day I had a couple of little visitors; my nieces came over for the day. I adore my nieces and look forward to any opportunity to play or just spend time with them. This day they came over and amidst their playing they discovered George and some of the other puppets and stuffed animals I have for me class. They know that George helps me teach my students and one of my nieces wanted to play with him. The other niece got attached to my little Simba from the Lion King (I have a large Mufasa Puppet to go with it).   I told them that they can play with them but they have to be gentle and play nice with George and Simba. Seeing them play with them was entertaining and surprisingly fun. I too got involved with Mufasa and we all had fun.

We were going out for lunch at their favourite place, McDonald’s, and they wanted to take George and Simba. I sad yes and we left. The lunch was as enjoyable as any when you “try” to eat lunch out with a couple of kids. After the lunch the little one was going to sleep and I took the opportunity to take the older niece to the park for some fun. I asked her and she wanted to and of course George came with us.

We went to a park I have not visited for some time, High Park. It is in the west end of Toronto and a wonderful example of trying to bring a natural setting to an urban environment. It has a pond, soccer and baseball fields, a pool, tennis courts and a couple of playgrounds. They also have a nice nature trail but I was not able to go with my niece this time. She of course wanted to go to the playground and the wading pool. We had a wonderful time playing on the structures and digging in the sand together and so did George.

The day was great and I had a wonderful time, as did my niece. But I was pushing with my niece on a swing in the park; I realized that being on vacation doesn’t have to mean that you have to go away somewhere. Sometimes it means just enjoying friends and family in your own backyard. My niece and I (and George) had a wonderful time together just hanging out. Vacation means to have a time for some recreation. Well I had that with my niece and that was more fun than traveling to a distant destination any day.

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