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For Those of You in Cold Climates (long)
Old 02-07-2020, 01:51 PM
 
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What are the expectations about students wearing jackets outside for recess? I live in Wisconsin, so cold weather is a given in winter months. However, some days it's in the 30s, sunny, with no wind chill. And other days it's in the teens and the wind is blowing. Are your students expected to always wear a jacket and keep it on during recess? Are they allowed to take off their jackets as long as they're wearing long-sleeved shirts underneath? Is this a hill worth dying on?

We don't have a hard and fast rule, and I like to use common sense as my guideline. Our 4th and 5th graders go out for recess after lunch. I have duty on Fridays. Today was one of those sunny, no wind, temps in the 30s kind of days. I told the kids who asked about wearing winter jackets that they could take them off if they had long-sleeved sweatshirts or fleece jackets on underneath. My philosophy is if they get cold, they'll put their jackets back on.

After school, the 4th grade teachers wanted to discuss this and have a set temperature in which jackets can be removed. They suggested 40 degrees. When I said that sometimes 40 can feel like the teens with the wind and sometimes 30 can feel pleasant with no wind, they acted as if I had lost my mind. And they said that not being consistent across the board is becoming an issue. And I replied that the weather isn't consistent; we make decisions based on the weather sometimes at a moment's notice.

I don't want to be difficult, but I don't want to micromanage either. All students have to wear jackets outside in the winter. But to me, if the weather is pleasant enough, kids should be able to decide for themselves if they want to remove them.

What are your thoughts?


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Old 02-07-2020, 02:15 PM
 
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I do not believe in helicopter teaching or parenting. Plus, each child is different. My own boys wore shorts year round. I, myself, am famous for never wearing a coat (I'm from MT, but live in CO).

I let the kids decide. They are smart enough to know if they are cold or not. We do wear them outside, but if they are running around playing wall ball or football, of course they are going to get hot! So, I let them take them off.

Of course, at our school, we don't go outside if it is below 20 degrees, which I find ridiculous!
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:17 PM
 
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As mother of grown sons who camped outdoors year round with Boy Scouts in northern Illinois and north, every person is different.

As teachers and parents, we need to provide necessary materials (in this case warm jackets, hats, mittens) and information (what is the current weather) and teach them to make good decisions. If a kid gets cold, he will likely put on his jacket. And being cold for a few minutes is unlikely to cause any harm at all.

One of my sons wore shorts to high school year round--and walked a mile to get there. No need to wrap the students in bubble wrap. Just require that they take their coats outside with them.
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:27 PM
 
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Quote:
sometimes 40 can feel like the teens with the wind and sometimes 30 can feel pleasant with no wind
Same here in New England!
Teachers make the jacket decision for grades K-1. Kids in grades 2-5 decide for themselves, but the teacher decides if they need to bring coats outside (just in case).
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:29 PM
 
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oops! double post



Last edited by jov; 02-07-2020 at 04:04 PM..
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I'm in Alaska.
Old 02-07-2020, 03:16 PM
 
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We don't have a rule about what temperature kids have to wear coats. A 5'8"200lb Samoan boy is NOT going to feel the temperature the same as a tiny little Kindergartener. If kids get warm, they can take off their coats. If they get cold, they put them back on. Not something I'm going to waste time on.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:18 PM
 
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Iím sorry I have nothing great to share. Iíd err on your side and let kids pretty much deal with it/figure it out themselves. I just have to laugh at the discrepancy though because itís been in the high 30ís here this week and my kidsí school cancelled recess all week because of the cold! No wind, just sunny but cold for us!
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Old 02-07-2020, 04:43 PM
 
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I agree with you, but personally this is probably not a hill I'd die on. If they want to make a rule then everyone should enforce it.

This post makes me so glad teachers don't have to do recess duty at my current school (paras do). In a previous position I had recess duty several times per week and I know one issue is kids taking coats off and leaving them there. Given the ridiculous number of coats in our lost and found, I imagine it's also an issue at my current school.
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Coats get worn to go out.
Old 02-07-2020, 05:38 PM
 
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Students decide if they need them off or not. There're benches the jackets can go on.
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Old 02-07-2020, 06:10 PM
 
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Iím not the coat police.

Iím always hot. Iíve always been that way. I have never liked long sleeves, sweaters, hoodies, or heavy coats. I rarely wear a jacket.


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Old 02-07-2020, 06:21 PM
 
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Thank you, all, for taking time to respond.
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Old 02-07-2020, 07:04 PM
 
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I think along the same lines as you. A lot of times, kids are running around and heating up. It doesn't seem right to make them keep their coats on. As you said,if they get cold, they can put their coats on again. I do make them take their coats outside though. I have sent kids in when they don't have a winter coat with them and it feels like 10.
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recess
Old 02-08-2020, 03:31 AM
 
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Most of the time we let our 4th graders decide. They are running around heating up vs. teachers standing (and I'm usually freezing). They do at least start with their coats on when it's in the 30's.
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Old 02-08-2020, 05:13 PM
 
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When I taught in cold areas, we always let kids decide. Well, I take that back, for the Kinders, we would encourage them to put them on initially. If they took them off after running around, we didn't just made sure they had them when it was time to go back in. For older kids, they got to decide how they dressed.
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Just have to add...
Old 02-09-2020, 04:12 AM
 
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I'll be pretty much in line with the majority... there are different kids and different coats and different weather conditions. In general, we like the kids to have appropriate clothing: hats (or hood), gloves, boots.

I'm not a big fan of arbitrary rules for this reason: it excuses everyone (including the kids) from making judgments--which is exactly why arbitrary rules are often adopted. We (and the kids) no longer have to think about anything.

May I take my coat off?

Check the thermometer!

(So the thermometer makes the decision for both of us and we can blame it if anything goes wrong.)
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Old 02-17-2020, 10:37 AM
 
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Hi,
I have to say I with you; this doesn't seem like a fight worth taking on. Especially with 4th and 5th graders. I live and teach in Wyoming (the coldest place on Earth!). We send our kids outside at -5 or above without windchill. Our kids too want to take off their jackets at times and while we teachers expect kids to wear coats, hats and gloves out to recess they are allowed to take them off once outside if they want to. We've taken the stance that natural consequences will guide the kids' decisions.
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