Walk and Talk Recess

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by susiestar, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I posted about this on another thread and one parent commented that she loved the idea and would take it to her difficult child's teacher. It occurred to me that many of our difficult children could really benefit by this, and so could the teachers.

    Here is what I posted:

    Our state legislature decided about 3 years ago that every child MUST have recess. NO child can be kept inside and denied recess. They linked this to the growing weight problems our kids have. Temperatures were even set for when it is too cold or too hot to have recess outside. Inside recess is required to be in the gym or other space where kids can be active.

    Now our teachers give kids "quiet walks" or "noisy walks" or "walk and talk". Quiet walks mean walking the perimeter and not talking. Noisy walks are walking the perimeter and yelling or shouting all the anger/pent up vocal energy/whatever out. It works very well for students who cannot stop talking in class. Of course the child is not forced to scream or yell after their voice gets tired, no screaming until the voice is gone, but they do have to be louder than an indoor voice.

    Walk and talk is done before school every day. It is optional at that time, but strongly recommended. Kids who are on early buses or who are dropped off early walk the perimeter of the playground and chat.

    Walk and talk recess is for kids who chronically chat with each other during class. They must spend recess walking together and chatting it all out.

    These are strategies that our teachers say IMPROVE the behavior in the classroom. Kids are not as restless, do not have so much energy built up so they can pay attention in class. Chronic chatters work most of it out and do NOT get to chat with other kids than they chat with, so these social butterflies try hard to not get this. They want to talk with everyone, not just the 1 or 2 people they chat with during class.

    I just cut and pasted the above from the other thread.

    i think that most of our kids could benefit from this in one way or another, even the pcs.

    The one thing that has to be worked out with the people who supervise recess was the "noisy" walk. A couple of the adults thought that it meant the child had to yell for the entire walk. Any of us who ever went to a concert knows how hard this can be on your voice. It can even be physically painful if you keep it up. The principal worked with them to understand that the child has to spend a few minutes being as loud as possible. After that first 2-5 minutes (timed) the child can be silent. If the child chooses to speak/mutter/etc... they are directed to do so in an outside voice. ALL kids are well aware what an inside voice and an outside voice are as these are frequently used terms at our school.

    The purpose of walking is to give them the separation from freely chosen activities while still letting them work off energy. Often other kids will join the walk or even walk alone if they are bored or whatever. So it isn't punitive, but it is not meant to be really punitive. (I hope that makes sense.)

    anyway, if you want to share this, feel free.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Neat ideas Susie-Thanks for sharing! I may be able to use some of these!
  3. miles2go

    miles2go Member

    My difficult child has failed a recess so many times (chase, grab, tag, hit) that he just doesn't feel like having an outside recess anymore. I mentioned walk and talk to him -- "that wouldn't be any fun". So he'd rather stay inside and read, which with his medication-related weight gain, is not so great either.

    Me -- married dad
    difficult child 8y.o. boy, BiPolar (BP)
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I wonder if part of this is that so many of the old-time recess activities for kids were games that involved physical contact (Red Rover, Tag, Freeze Tag, Ghost in the Graveyard, etc), or were things like 4-square and tetherball where a child could catch a ball in the face.

    I'd bet kids aren't really allowed to play games like that and I think that's a huge mistake. I think kids need times to run and blow off speed and steam and play like this.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    These are awesome. I don't see them as punitive but rather a positive solution to a behavior. It is teaching kids that there are times and places for chatting which are outside the classroom.

    Around here 4 square is still a favorite recess activity. difficult child's small private school had all kids Kindergarten through 6th at recess together last year. The kids are good at allowing EVERYONE to join in whatever group game there is. It is fun to watch as the different ages play well together.

    Another favorite is one kid with the ball who throws it at one of the other kids. The other kids are all over the playground equipment ducking and hiding and sliding down slides trying to stay out of the way of the person with the ball.

    I suppose it would be how the activity is presented to the student as to wether the student views it as punitive or not. Me, I would be more apt to say something like, "Jane, you sure have a lot of energy today. It is good to have energy, however, during class time, you really should be listening to the teacher and not chatting with your neighbor. I am going to have you do a walk and talk recess so that you get some of this out of you system and will be ready for your next class." Or something like that - it is also important in the tone of voice used. Help the child know this is a learning activity and you are not mad at him or her. If a teacher were to show frustration and yell at the kid, then it would feel like punishment.

    For the kid who would rather sit and read - I think maybe trying to find a book on tape that the student can listen to while walking the perimeter?
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Around here we still have tetherball. The kids had an absolute FIT when plans for new playground equipment eliminated it. Since the kids were raising money to help pay for the playground, the parents pushed and got the game moved so that the kids could have both tetherball and the new equipment - which includes an 8 foot tall climbing wall.

    No safety ropes on the climbing wall. Parents are told if the child is in 3rd grade or higher and wants to climb, any accidents are not the school's problem past immediate care - meaning ice bags or bandaid and tylenol. Our schools are just not as lawsuit conscious as other schools. The wall is very well built, and falls are onto VERY soft beds of shredded tires. Most a child has gotten in 2 years is dirty. And some of the kids were purposely throwing themselves off at the top because the landing was "fun". Now an adult is there to stop that, LOL!

    Walk and talk is not punitive in any way. It is presented as a way to help the student be more in control for lessons after recess. The exception is MAYBE noisy walk and talk, but it is given only after several walk and talks where chatting is allowed.

    Some of the older teachers still want something more punitive for children who disrupt the class over and over. They have argued that walk and talk is not a punishment and that punishments are needed to teach kids what not to do. Luckily we have an administration that sees this as garbage. Detention must be run through the principal and mostly he says no. If he does allow it, it is for an older child and they are kept busy doing chores like scraping gum off of desks and scrubbing graffiti off the bathroom walls.

    Since we ARE a more "common sense" school system, I keep pushing to get them to use blackboard paint or dry erase paint on the stall doors. Keep some chalk or a pen there and let the kids get it out. Our kids don't write filth, more of the "X was here", "So was Y" type stuff.

    I got some REALLY funny looks at the PTA meeting where I suggested this. ROFL!

    As for the child who wants to read, well, I WAS that child, sans the weight. I was very underfed (and ate like a pig when I was hungry.) and by age 8 the Aspie in me was pretty apparent, in my opinion. I didn't understand why anyone would want to chase a ball for any reason. At home nobody expected it much and we didn't have gym class (private school, gym class was kickball once a month and I stunk when I didn't flat out refuse to play) at school really. No one knew what to do with me when I just refused to play kickball. I would sit down with a book and ignore everyone. Worked for me, but not very well.

    I read through many recesses. I dreaded having them insist I go outside with-o a book and would hide one (or two) in my sweater or coat whenever I could. I even kept 2 books in my coat pocket (bless my mom for making sure I had BIG pockets in my coats!) because they didn't hesitate to take ONE book from me, but after that they pretty much forgot most of the time.

    Walk and talk with an audiobook sounds like an awesome suggestion. Tyler likes to listen to audiobooks so his mp3 player is full of them. He will even choose to take the bus so he can listen to them. He hasn't quite grasped the idea that he could listen to them at home and have a ride to school, LOL!

    You will need to make sure that your son is permitted to have a cd player or mp3 player. BooksAMillion has an extensive supply of books on cd, and many are for children. They even have bargain books on cd that start at around $7.97. Or ours does.

    You can also check ebay for them. Or freecycle.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I think the Walk and Talk Recess is a great sensible plan. Personally I would like to think that kids could be paired by random drawing so they would learn about others and not just those in their BFF group. in my humble opinion it would be the "perfect" opposite of the old days (and I think some current days) PE "pick your teammates" horror. Oh how my heart broke for the kdis who were awkward or just socially behind the rest. DDD