Principal Says Can't Take Away Recess - What to do instead?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by elemMM, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. elemMM

    elemMM New Member

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    Jan 28, 2011

    I know a few schools where the principal does not allow the teachers to take away recess. I had a couple interviews where I've been asked about my behavior management and I always stress being positive with students, good communication with parents, etc. I've also mentioned about having the student miss a few minutes of recess as a negative consequence. That's when the principal mentions the no taking away recess policy and the teachers in the room make a face.

    I understand that many kids who are talking, etc. need to run off their energy, etc, but if you can't take away recess, I feel there are no consequences for slight to medium misbehaviors. Not for the child who hits another student (because you have to tell the parent about that) but for those who are talking instead of listening, running in the hallway, etc.

    These are not lower income schools either. The principals with these policies are leading middle to upper middle class income schools so it's not like the kids live in an unsafe area where they can't play at home.

    I am very positive with students, praising and helping them. I also have individual and class rewards in mind. Yet, I find that some students just do not stop without a slight negative consequence (like sitting out for two minutes of recess). So, I guess my questions are: If not recess, can I have them eat lunch in the classroom instead? Sit in a timeout chair in the classroom right after it happens? Any other ideas? Or should I steer clear of working at schools where principals have this policy?
     
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  3. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Jan 28, 2011

    Maybe you have the offending kid run laps or do bear crawls or something... still "exercising"
     
  4. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    I agree with John Lee. Have them do physical activity that is uncomfortable. It works for athletics when the team isnt playing hard, they will just condition and run. Now a days there are sites and books on exercise for kids you could look at for ideas. These ideas would difficult but not too strenuous for a younger kid.
     
  5. bunches3614

    bunches3614 Rookie

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    I really think, and this is just from my observations, that middle to upper class principals have this rule often. I think alot of it has to do with parental influence. Parents are on campus more, they are involved more, and complain considerable more. It is a hard place for teachers to be in as far as discipline, but I like what the other posters have said about making them do something outside. At the school that I student taught at, they would make them run laps, or "take away" something they knew they liked on the playground (balls, tetherball, field time, etc.).
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 28, 2011

    We plan in a reinforcement period. Basically...once a week, we take away study hall to reward to kids who were doing their job as students (behaving, completing work, etc). The other students get to silent read or sit quietly during this time instead of going to play games or play outside. You aren't taking away "recess".

    Another thing is to have the student move places. Maybe they sit in the front of the room, the back, away from a friend, etc.
     
  7. AKitchin

    AKitchin Companion

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    Jan 28, 2011

    We are not allowed to take recess, or even make them walk the black top, and as part of our wellness, we do run laps, which is seperate from recess! (and the kids love it, they're mad right now when its cold and snowy!)

    What we do, is go with the rule that our kids have to have 15 minutes of recess a day. Well, most of our classes give over that alotted time, in fifth grade, we give 20 (since we do need all the instruction time we can get!) so we take away 5. In some cases, the principal has taken the recess for kids, and recently with the work habits of our classes, he has taken it more often!

    So, maybe you can do something like that, or have a big reward that the kids are working for, and if they arent good, they dont get it.
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jan 28, 2011

    John Lee already gave the answer that came to my mind.

    Recess does not necessarily mean "free time", it just means a break away from academic classes in which the kids can release excess energy through physical activity. If you are not allowed to deny them this recreation time, the next step is to provide structure during this time.

    One of our middle schools will have students walk from one end of the sidewalk to the other, then back again, for 5, 10 or 15 minutes (depending on the severity of their disruptive actions). During Summer Camp, I was having trouble with my group of kids during recess because they kept arguing over the rules of the games they were playing. I told them to form four lines along the side of the basketball court, then had them run different relay races for the next 20 minutes. The next day, there were NO ARGUMENTS over rules when it came time for recess. :D

    AKichin - I'm rather surprised you are not allowed to have children walk the black top (I'm assuming this means walking laps around the parking lot or similar area). Still, if you can't do that, you can always have them do jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups or running in place. :cool:
     
  9. theteacherpet

    theteacherpet Rookie

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    Jan 28, 2011

    Make them walk the wall outside- they are getting physical activity-- it is just boring.
     
  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 28, 2011

    We can't take recess away either, but we can prohibit them from playing on the equipment. That leaves just walking around in the sand. I also give extra recess for the well behaved while the others sit inside and work.
     
  11. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Here, the teachers will bring the students out to recess, but not let them run out and play until x minutes have passed.
     
  12. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    Here in the state of Florida it is a state law that all children must participate in a 30 minute teacher directed PE. Now, technically what Gov. Crist intended was that each teacher would take their children out for thirty minutes a day in addition to recess and do some type of teacher led activity. That just isn't happening in today's classroom here in Florida. So, we have done away with the name of recess and our recess is now called teacher directed PE. Those who have earned it are allowed to use the equipment and play while the teacher's are directing (observing) their play. The one's who haven't earned it, walk laps between trees. As I tell my children every day, the law says I have to take you outside and direct you in an activity. The content of the activity is pretty much up to me, so you really need to behave.
     
  13. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jan 29, 2011

    That is a good option as well. As long as you give them 1-5 minutes of activity, they technically have NOT lost recess.
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I think any principal that is against losing recess would also be against a forced exercise as well.

    To me the punishment should fit the crime. Unless they are acting up at recess, then recess shouldn't be taken away. My favorite is when teachers take away recess for children not doing their homework-where is the connection there?

    If they are running around the classroom, then recess is the perfect time to say-here is where you run around. It depends on what the child is doing but if they're talking to others in class, then they have to sit and work by themselves, etc. Recess is the only time of day kids can actually be kids-talk and play.
     
  15. strepsils

    strepsils Companion

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    Taking away recess isnt a logical consequence for those behaviours.

    A kid is running in the hallway? Make them walk back and do it again properly. Talking in class? They have x minutes where they are silent in class/praise those who are doing the right thing. Perhaps those consequences fit the behaviour more appropriately?

    I believe in positive but firm behaviour management and have never taken away student recess.
     
  16. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I totally agree. I don't think kids should ever lose recess for any reason other than being unsafe at recess. And even then I think it should only be for a little while until they can calm down and get it back together again.

    The consequences should fit the reason the consequences need to be instituted.
     
  17. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    Jan 29, 2011

    I think that losing recess is a logical consequence for not doing homework. If you don't get your work done, you don't get to play. Work, then play. Isn't that what we do as adults?
     
  18. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    I have had kids lose their playtime to complete work that hasn't been finished because of playing around in class (you had playtime while everybody else was working so now you get to do the work while they are playing). Often though I will give the rest of the class a reward (e.g 5 mins free time) while the others practise doing the right thing (sitting still, lining up etc). They don't like missing out on this so it is a good motivator!
     
  19. passionateacher

    passionateacher Comrade

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    This week I had 5 students finish an easy assignment that they had 30 minutes to do in class, but instead chatted with their friends/played. This is the first time ALL year I've ever made kids bring work to recess. Normally I say "Ok you had your play time while everyone else was working, so now you get to walk laps around the black top." However, that does not get the work done either.

    When I had those 5 kids finish their work, that took less than 2 minutes, NO ONE else this whole week played during my Workshop time and EVERYONE got a lot of work done.

    Sometimes I have to make examples so the kids take me seriously. I will probably not have to do that again for awhile. The offenders were much sadder to sit and finish their work versus when they have to walk laps. Some kids LIKE walking laps anyway and since they're moving, they don't consider it much of a consequence.

    I DON'T, however, ever give ANY consequence for not doing homework. I have parents who just don't care to help their child. Even though the kids should know how to do it anyway, I still think at 7 years old, their parents should be making them do it when they come home. I give rewards called "Homework Coupons" each week when students turn in their HW. They are for privileges and the ones who don't turn in, don't get their privileges.

    (Some of my kids don't even eat a decent meal at home for dinner, if at all. Is it fair to punish them at recess the next day because they are not responsible enough to do their HW without their parents forcing them?)

    I think it is appropriate for middle school teachers and high school teachers to expect more responsibility with HW, maybe even 4th and 5th grade. But not for 2nd grade...not my class anyway. (Most of my kids do their HW...even my non-reader completes his math HW and earns a privilege every week).
     
  20. passionateacher

    passionateacher Comrade

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    And just to clarify, I think HW IS appropriate in 2nd grade. I meant I don't think it's right for me to punish my kids for not being responsible enough to do their HW if their parent is out all night at a club or bar. The ones who have no dinner or like one girl told me "We had a pop tart for dinner last night" (while mom ate at the mall with her friend) probably did not even THINK about HW that night. I probably wouldn't do any work either until my stomach was satisfied. All I can think about is eating when I'm hungry. My brain literally shuts down (even when I'm not pregnant like I am currently).

    I just wanted to explain why I randomly brought up some kids not eating dinner...

    I do TELL my kids they should do their HW and I lecture them about how "It's not your mom's HW, it's yours...it shouldn't matter if she forgot to tell you to do it...." VERY contradictory to what I just wrote, I know. I hope they will become more responsible (at least the ones who do eat dinner and just rather play video games) in the absence of parents....I just don't punish them if they're not yet.

    Ok and I just wrote that so you wouldn't think I'm babying my 2nd graders...or not trying to prepare them for 3rd grade!
     
  21. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    passionateacher, I agree - I tell my kids that it is their job to do their homework and bring their things to school each day to try and encourage responsibility. I know though that at this age it has a lot to do with what is going on at home and whether their parents are able to help them - sometimes there are things that take precedence over doing homework so I try to find some time to help them complete the work. Not as punishment though, just as support.
     
  22. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Yes. It is.

    As you correctly pointed out, this is more appropriate for middle school and HS since they are old enough to start learning (and taking) more responsibility. I agree it is not appropriate for 2nd graders who are not old enough to connect the consequences to their actions.
     
  23. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    So kids are allowed to go out and play regardless of any behavior issues, as long as those issues occur inside rather than outside? Since the principal doesn't allow the loss of recess, what if he says it also doesn't matter if they DO behave unsafely at recess, you still can't take it away?

    We have (and use) several options for behavior management at our school, but one of the most effective is still loss of break. Sometimes the loss is only for 5 minutes (for a minor infraction). Sometimes it means students sit on the sidewalk and complete work they did NOT do during class. Like many others said, the kids already had their "play time" IN class, so the consequence of losing play time outside does fit the action taken.
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    On an interview, it's best to remain positive and state you responses that way. When talking about behavior mgt, you might focus on building a proactive and cooperative classroom climate in which behavior problems are minimized. So you would reinforce good behavior choices, set kids up for success. Logical consequences can be an option, but recognize that the misbehaving kids may be the ones who need recess the most...you want to manage behaviors with as little disruption to instruction as possible...getting parents involved thru communicating good news as well as behavior blips goes a long way to building a strong home and classroom connection.
     
  25. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I don't agree. Talking in class is not the same as getting 15-30 minutes of sustained exercise/playtime. I've seen the same kids on the fence of our playground day after day after day-obviously it's not a consequence that works for them.

    I have a student whose mother is going through chemotherapy right now. She helps her grandmother take care of her brothers and sister. The mom told me before she started that homework may be an issue. Is it fair for her not to get playtime because she really is working at home, just not on her homework? Often when young children don't get their homework done it's no fault of their own. They have soccer practice or church or a family function. I don't think it's fair to take away the only break they get in a day as a consequence of that.
     
  26. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jan 29, 2011

    My school offers detention during recess (supervised by a yard duty lady). The kids have to go to the cafeteria and read, work on incomplete work, or put their head down. What frustrates me about having detention in elementary school (K-5) is that there are several teachers on campus who send half their students to detention each and every day!!! :mad:

    I rarely take away a student's recess, but when they need to miss their recess due to making a poor choice, I normally give them a pair of latex gloves and a garbage bag and have them walk around campus to "help make our school look beautiful (fancy way of saying that they need to pick up trash)." This way, they're still getting physical activity, but they're not able to play with their friends.

    Honestly, though, I'm not big on taking away recess time! It's normally a last resort for me.
     
  27. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    No, talking in class is not the same as sustained exercise/playtime, but it IS still "playing around" in class when the student should be working. Therefore, exchanging an equal amount of "work time" during the scheduled "play time" is a fair and reasonable consequence that fits the decision made and action taken. Even with that, loss of any recess time is still used only as a last resort.

    As for the 15-30 minutes of sustained exercise/playtime, having students do exercises, walk laps or pick up trash all meet the need for sustained exercise while still imposing consequences for the actions taken by the student.

    Recess does not have to be "free time". At the middle school level, it is a privilege, not a right or requirement. In fact, ours is the ONLY middle school in the district that gives their students recess at all. The need (and state requirements) for physical activity is met in PE class.

    That is a completely different scenario. Of course exceptions can (and should) be made in such extreme circumstances and such situations should be judged independently on a case-by-case basis.
     
  28. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    There are obviously different opinions on what is appropriate and unappropriate discipline/punishment for different behaviors that occur in the classroom. I personally believe that how you handle is up to you. As long the teacher has justification for their choice and they are not doing anything harmful, it should be your choice. If you want to take away recess because a student is talking out in class (I am okay with doing), then do that. I am not a believer in only using the positive types of discipline. Students these days don't have fear of consequences. The idea of taking away recess, is the students losing what they want, what makes them happy. Making them sit quiet in the class, they don't usually care about. I think it needs to be something that affects the students wants.
    I personally think our punishment in schools these days have gotten very soft, extremely soft nowadays. It makes me sad. Some of what these kids do today I would have been smacked upside the head in a heartbeat when I got home for doing. Thus, I didn't do it. Kids today, have no fear, they get what they want, more often than not.
     

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