The Trouble with Boys Chapter 7: Requiem for Recess: Yes, They Need It – More than You Think

  1. What points of this chapter do you agree with?  Disagree with?
  2. Did you feel “guilty” as I did reading this chapter (e.g. by not allowing aggressive play and by taking away recess as punishment)?               

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Hi wanted to share this Blog I just ran across - The Boy Reader
I totally agree with almost everything stated in this chapter. We have had this discussion many times at the lunch table.
Children need the opportunity to run around, let out energy (and recharge energy), socialize, and even pretend and imagine. As this chapter states, many studies have been done that prove the connection between recess and the well-being (mental and physical) and the academic achievemnet of children.
The one thing that I don't totally agree with is the level of aggression- - I don't thik that aggressive play is acceptable for school- -there is a difference between strongly active and aggressive, we still need to keep them and others safe.
I really liked what Dr. Ginsburg (Pg. 106) stated "that movement is important for the healty development of all kids, but for boys it's crucial. Boys need movement to survive."
In response to your question, Lisa, I do feel guilty when I take recess away from students, especially when I know that these are the students who probably need it the most. Any answers on this one?
I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles with using recess deprivation as a consequence. Unfortunately, recess is what most kids care about -- so other kids seeing that it can be taken away keeps most students from misbehaving. And it does seem that the same students, the ones who need it the most, are the ones who seem to lose it. I too wish we could come up with a consequence which would deter misbehavior, but would not seem so punitive.
When covering 1st grade, I also didn't like the idea of always taking recess away from the students who were misbehaving. Maureen P. at Dawes made a suggestion once about having the students lose their classroom jobs for misbehaving. This sometimes provided an alternative consequence.

I do believe that we have taken the zero-tolerance regarding guns a bit too far, especially when the author states the incidents involving two 8 year olds being punished. One made a paper gun and one used a chicken strip like a gun. Many children are exposed to guns, not solely for the purpose of violence, but simply for play. Guns are used in many arcade style video games. There are also nerf guns and a whole assortment of other toys guns at every toy store as well as in every toy section in grocery stores and pharmacies. I am also guilty of showing a zero tolerance for guns without even being aware of it. Just the other day a student in first grade showed me a drawing that had a picture of two kids playing and one had a gun. The student must have noticed my reaction and looked at me innocently and said, "it's a nerf gun."
Requiem for Recess… what a title!

When the author spoke of U. of Penn. President Amy Gutman’s findings…which observed a “straight line from physically restrictive environments in early education to the post secondary school male shortage” it made me pause. Wow! We really need to pay more attention to the issue of movement and recess!!!

The principal from Massachusetts, who required teacher-directed games and instructional movement activities during the scant 15 minutes a day “recess”, claimed she “knows the school schedule is at odds with child development, but she’s caught between state and national mandates. She further claimed that “This is what the government tells us that it wants us to do.” Really? They mandate no recess or limited recess? Is that actually true? Or are schools just reacting to the overwhelmingly narrow vision of state and governmental authorities that feel the only way to evaluate schools is by testing, testing, and more testing!

Lastly…Broward County schools in Florida ban running on all 137 playgrounds????
Has anyone TESTED THEIR IQ’s lately?????
All the experts seem to agree-----kids need recess and boys need roughhousing. I believe them.

I'm not sure the Columbine shootings are what brought on zero-tolerance of aggressive behavior, though. The fact that we live in a litigious society and the likelihood that a parent may sue if Johnny gets pushed, bruised, or hit is more likely why schools prohibit the more aggressive play that most boys seem to love.

The connection between peer interaction and success on standardized tests was a surprise. Once competent on the playground, Pellegrini said , they do better in school. I'm not convinced. Don't you see boys with great popularity and physical, athletic ability who perform poorly in academics? I do. The answer isn't just in recess.

I never did keep kids in from recess as a punishment, although I had certainly "punished" them in some ways that I now know are not productive. Yes, I am guilty. If you don't understand a child and the reality of his/her life your expectations are likely to be unrealistic and you will be ineffective.
I agree, students need more time to run and play (recess). They are asked to sit and attend for a long amount of time in the classroom. I do take recess away and like others find it is the same students and the ones who probably need it the most. I don't feel guilty, I feel at a loss for a better solution.
I have concerns with allowing aggressive play and pretend gun play. The author asks "what are we afraid of, that they will grow up to be serial killers?" My answer is maybe. If we allow it,Is the message shooting others is OK? The authors response was "if that were true wouldn't the murder rates be higher?" Aren't they high enough? Are we feeding into the stereotype of boys?
Yet another (short) article about the importance of recess:



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