Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Get Your Game On!

Hello Son, how was your first day at school?
It was all right Mom, except for some woman called "Teacher" who kept spoiling all our fun!

After reading the chapter on 'Play' in Daniel Pink's book, A Whole New Mind, I'm reminded that play, joy and humor are important not only in our daily lives, but in school too.

Way back when in the 1930s at the Ford Motor Company "laughter was a disciplinary offense - and humming, whistling, and smiling were evidence of insubordination." This is not only true of school during those times, but this same philosophy is held true today in many classrooms. This makes me sad.

It makes me happy to play. Play, according to Pink is becoming an important part of work, business and personal well-being that manifests in three ways: games, humor and joyfulness.

So what games do you play? Did you know Albert Einstein said, "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." What games do you play with your students? I love this quote by Pat Kane, the author of The Play Ethic because it takes play to a whole new level. "Play will be to the 21st century what work was to the last 300 years of industrial society - our dominant way of knowing, doing and creating value."

I'm sure that you already know that games are being used to train soldiers, doctors and pilots. I'm sure you've also heard that data proves that these training tools can enhance skills and productivity. Why aren't more teachers gaming in the classroom? Most of our kids love games whether they're playing a hands-on game w/ manipulatives or a virtual game on line. Either way, they're still practicing and learning.

Kid's have fun when they're playing games, especially when they're social. Fabio Sala from the Harvard Business Review states that "More than four decades of study by various researchers, confirms some common-sense wisdom: Humor, used skillfully, greases the management wheels. It reduces hostility, deflects criticism, relieves tension, improves morale, and helps communicate difficult messages." In the classroom, humor, used skillfully not negatively, has the potential to improve learning. It reduces anger, deflates frustration, relieves fears, improves motivation and helps kids to feel good. What a joy!

So what can you do to bring more play, humor and joy into your classroom?
  • laugh
  • play games
  • create cartoons
  • encourage wit
  • foster creativity w/ inventions
  • tell jokes
  • play right brain games
  • have fun
  • smile
Pass it on.

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