Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let Them Play

"The glory of God is man fully alive," wrote St. Irenaeus. At times I've contemplated what that means to me and in my own life, but today there was no mistaking that people, more specifically kids, are fully alive when they play.

This year, I decided to have my fourth grade students learn a new American English proverb each week. Monday they are given the proverb to copy in their journals and practice at home for the week. Each day's activities then revolve around some type of lesson that connects the statement of truth with language arts, science, or social studies. The more connections made linking everything together, the better it will stick. Letting them play as part of that process? Absolutely unforgettable and necessary. Today, was a testimony to that.

"In unity there is strength" is our proverb for the week. Their task for science was to experiment with loose parts-tape, paper clips, Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, and yarn. They had to play or tinker with the items to create a design that represented the concept of unity. They could use all of the materials or just a few, but their final product could not break or it would be back to the drawing board.

Three of the girls gathered together at the first station, while the boys paired off at two other stations set up in the room. Feverishly, all of them worked trying to put things together that would form some kind of shape and not break. Kim started out with a circle and kept adding different materials to reinforce the edges while saying, "I'm upgrading." The other boys made triangles or diamond shapes with all the materials and the girls simply created one large circle linked together with all the different items. At the end of class came the testing time. I took each item one by one and proceeded to pull or break the items apart. Every one's broke, except for Tiger's. He started with a triangle shape and then reinforced it with other materials and lot's and lot's of tape. On the way out to the bus he boasted to another teacher, "Mine didn't break!"

Their conclusion? The more tape and stickiness, the harder it is to break; which leads me to thinking of another truth. "And over all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:14

Love is the glue that binds us together, "because love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8.

I have a long way to go in learning to love others that completely. Being the first one to take the initiative to love that way is quite another matter also. My prayer is that my students will be able to fully grasp how important it is to love and grow into that for the sake of peace and unity.

Today they were fully engaged, alive and testing what it is that makes materials strong and unified. I have no doubt they will remember the lesson for a long time. Now it is making that connection to loving and working with others. I suspect that too will come through more playing. Why? Because it's fun and they each have their own part to play.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there Leighann! I'm finally signed on to this new blog world and wanted to add myself to your follow list. Happy Blogging!