The Unexpected Benefit Of Indoor Recess

It’s been one more day of indoor recesses due to our frigid cold February temperatures, and it’s clear that the kids need the outside time as much as the teachers do. 🙂 When inside for recess though, I like when students move around and work together, and it’s fantastic when they have the opportunity to play. This is actually a great chance for kids to practice playing together in unstructured social situations. Usually before indoor recess time, we talk about some possible play options, and then the students figure out what they want to do. This morning, a few of the kids asked if we could bring in the large, heavy tub of Lego from the pod for building, and others said that they wanted to work on a “play.” Okay. I had some work to do in the classroom during the nutrition break, so I thought that I’d sit back and see what happened.

I couldn’t help tweeting out some of the photographs and comments that I heard from the play group. It almost made me chuckle to see students “dancing around the room” as part of their indoor recess activities, but at the same time it had me thinking.

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It’s clear that I have a large group of students that love drama and dance. They are very creative! They were eager to tell a story through their dramatic performance, and they built off of the ideas that the other people shared. Everyone could participate, and many students chimed in at different points this morning and this afternoon. From math expectations (on measurement) to oral language expectations (on listening and speaking for a purpose), there was definitely a lot of overlap between The Arts and other curriculum areas. I can only imagine how much students would love to create a class play — or maybe even multiple class plays!

And for the students that are less eager to participate in the play itself, I know they would love to create the setting (especially if they could use Lego). As these students built together at lunchtime today, I heard them describe the intricate details. I see a great focus on word choice (especially the use of adjectives), and having them use the letter-sounds as they add labels to the setting. They could maybe even make signs for the different parts of the play. I’m sure that these students would have many of their own ideas as well.

So here I sit, at 7:30 at night, thinking about the indoor recess times from today, and how I can help capture this same excitement in the learning tomorrow. Maybe it’s time for the grand opening of Dunsiger’s Drama Studio: Where Dance And Drama Come To Life! I wonder what the students would do if greeted with:

  • a large bin of Lego.
  • a huge supply of sticky notes.
  • the costumes from today’s play.
  • a template for a storyboard.
  • strips of paper for the lines (dialogue).

I think it’s time to find out. Maybe there is a positive spin on indoor recess: without it, I may have missed a new interest with Language (reading, writing, and media literacy), Math (measurement), Science (structures), and Art (drama, music, dance, and visual arts) possibilities. What would you suggest as I think ahead to tomorrow? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


8 thoughts on “The Unexpected Benefit Of Indoor Recess

  1. I suggest they use some lego to make a stage and let the performances begin. Math: what would the perimeter of the stage need to be, create their own skits…. Wow I think the possibilities are endless. Gotta love indoor break 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, Tania! I love the connection with perimeter. I wonder if there would be better building options for a stage. It might be hard to stand on Lego. I wonder what the students would think. Maybe the stage needs multiple types of materials. How would they build it? How would they decide on the size? There are great connections here with material choices (science) and measurement (math). Maybe indoor recess is better than I thought! 🙂


        • Thanks Tania! I love that too, and I saw such passion when it came to “acting” today. I think that with just a little provocation, the students will go with it. Excited to see what tomorrow brings!


    • Thanks for the kind words, Louise! I really appreciate them. I think that I’m the lucky one to work with such great students and families. I can’t wait to see what my class does today!


  2. Aviva,
    It is amazing to know that so much learning can also happen during recess. Indoor recess needs another lesson plan by itself.

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