Thursday, October 25, 2012
Please sir, just a playground
We've been in school 35 days and our school still does not have a playground. There have been a number of set backs preventing us from getting a playground, the most recent being that a very, very large pile of dirt has to be moved before a playground can be built. I don't know the specifics, but we were told that there was some confusion over who was suppose to move the dirt. Our administration suggested that we have kids write them letters asking for the dirt to be moved.
Always up for grabbing an opportunity to teach self-advocacy my co-workers and I decided to have our children write letters using Boardmaker and then record their feelings about the playground on a voice thread. We did this over the course of a week, squeezing every learning opportunity possible out of the problem. (I mean, how rare is it that you can identify a real-life, extremely tangible, story-book-type problem? There is dirt where our playground should be and we can't get a playground until it is moved!)
On Friday we delivered the voice thread and our letters to our administration. Dirt removal was already scheduled to begin on Monday, but of course our students didn't know that.
Today at recess our kids stared in awe at the heavy equipment slowly moving dirt off of our playground space. They could actually witness their efforts of writing letters making a difference. (Not to mention the absolutely fascination with watching heavy machinery in general- it doesn't get better than when you have a front row show to bull dozer work).
One little girl even called out, "Hey, can you move that dirt, please?" causing an entire conversation between her, the driver, and the other children about what has to happen to build a playground.
It is ridiculously frustrating to not have a playground. Recess has been the saddest, most pathetic time of the day- watching our children chase after a few playground balls on the black top. Yet I have to admit- the lesson of advocating for yourself and being a problem solver is worth it. We'll get a playground one day, and when we do our kids will feel like they built it themselves.
A think tank focused on creative solutions for future problem solvers -tree