kids play. kids get hurt. kids cry. kids are made of rubber. kids bounce. kids heal. raise your hand if you don't get that. no one? that's what i thought.
see here. [right click it, open in new window or new tab so you can come back to me] back? good.
first an old story. my first year teaching, the kids played tag pretty much every day. they weren't overly rough with one another, but they were fast. those days when i'd join in (when there were no other classes on the playground), they'd either wear me out quickly or cut and juke and jive like a rabbit. one day, they were playing as usual. they were running in between the trees, which was generally a no-no for obvious reasons, but there were no classes but mine and nothing bad had happened...yet. it wasn't the whole class playing, so i wasn't too worried. cody was doing his best to evade being tagged, looking back at whoever was it. full-speed, full contact, stopped dead in his tracks by a longleaf pine. he toppled over. he remained conscious, but he was out for another day or two. honestly, his mother didn't say so, but i wouldn't be surprised if he had a concussion. gentlemen, if you saw joe theissman, you can remember it vividly. that kind of clarity of memory.
did i outlaw tag? no. i kept on them to follow the rules of staying in the open field. were there any more incidents? no. did his mother sue the school or me? no. she had a firm grip on reality. kids play hard. kids hurt, but they also heal. 'round here, that sensibility seems to be lacking. when my kids play tag here, they're up and down and all around the playground equipment. have any of them gotten hurt? no. why not? first of all, dogpile is ridiculous. any teacher with half a brain (and yes, we all have twice that) can figure out that dogpile is a bad idea. moreover, he/she can convey that to the class. play too rough, you're on the fence. someone's bleeding, they go to the clinic. it doesn't happen too often, but i'll admit it does. technically, they're not supposed to run inside the fence where all the equipment is, but then they're not really being active. recess could be better spent in the safety of our classroom playing sedentary games like hot potato or heads up, seven up. i'd rather assume those risks than have an obese class!
no, it's not as safe as sitting on the couch, but life's too short to be spent watching tv or playing video games. the world isn't bubble wrapped. our schools shouldn't be either...