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recess: Walk in or Line-up?
Old 11-11-2019, 05:35 PM
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Our school recently did a recess survey in which we watched students and staff and took notes on recess behaviors.

We noticed that lining up for recess is one of our biggest issues. Some students are slow getting to the lines but staff are too busy keeping those in line calm and ready to go in to help them. Many of our problems are directly related to the lines of students waiting to go in. Problems include pushing, rock tossing, arguments, students jumping on each other (for fun and sometimes in anger), wanderers, inattention, and a wide variety of teacher responses to their students when they arrive to collect them. We have seen positive interactions turn sour just in the time it takes to walk from the playground to the classroom. Many recesses end with teachers having to handle negative behaviors that happened after the bell rang, wasting class time and diverting attention away from positive student behavior.

So, we've been researching and brain-storming solutions. One question that came up was whether students should line-up or if we could try to train them to just come into the classroom on their own. Our theory is that if they are not crowded into under-supervised lines and taught to calmly enter the building, they will not have time to interact negatively with each other. When the bell rings, teachers could just step into the hall and wait for students to flow in more naturally and recess staff could focus on getting stragglers into the classroom.

It we can gather more information about this process, we are considering implementing it slowly and reverting to lines if it doesn't show the results we desire. This is a different way of thinking for us. We wonder if other schools have tried it, if there has been any research on it, and what other educators think of this solution. Not only would I like your ideas, but I would love links to articles or research that might be helpful. Thank you.

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