Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 11: Getting on the Soapbox for Blocks

Today was the first day of September. We sang a month about the months of the year. We extended our eucalytpus button collection to 1,800. We kept our routines going. Gavin enjoyed being the person of the day and bringing snack for his classmates. He especially enjoyed the privilege of leading the lines:

We ended the day with some time for activities the students chose for themselves.

Some chose to play with stuffed animals in the cubby area:

Many more opted for our second day with the wooden blocks.

There are so many reasons I like to make sure that I provide time for students to play with blocks.

One reason is that block play offers boys lots of opportunity to develop their social skills. In classrooms where test-driven seatwork is the norm, the development social skills is neglected by design.

What a shame! In almost every line of work, social skills are a major factor in determining whether someone will be a success or a failure. Why educational policy makers have largely turned their backs on teaching social skills in public schools is a mystery to me!

Block play offers students the opportunity to join play with others, to include new people into their social circle, to lead others, to follow, to make up rules, take turns, and, of course, to share. I see students practice these skills hands-on EVERY time we get the blocks out.

My collection of blocks is large enough that sharing blocks is not difficult. The supply usually outlasts their task persistence. So mostly happy play results.

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