is it ok to take away recess? - ProTeacher Community





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is it ok to take away recess?
Old 02-05-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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Is it ok to take away recess when kids misbehave, talk excessively during instruction, or get up constantly and walk around? I have been taking away recess from my 4th graders for misbehavior and I'm not sure it's a good thing to do. I don't want the class to resent me. I know kids need this time to run around, but it seems that there needs to be a consequence for bad behavior.

Yesterday, i had 10 kids miss recess for misbehavior or not turning in hw.

thanks for your advice....


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That's what I do...
Old 02-05-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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...because there really isn't anything else to do! When kids act in appropriately or don't complete their work, they stay in at recess.
I can't keep them after school. I can't send the work home (because then I can't assess it - who knows who does it at home?). I really don't have any other options than to take away their recess.
I am certainly open for suggestions!
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nope
Old 02-05-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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In my opinion, no...usually, these are the very kids who NEED recess. I have seen many coworkers do this, but..Does it work? Aren't the same kids missing recess day after day? I will on occasion take 5-10 minutes of their recess. They walk "thinking laps". Walk around a designated area and 'think' about why... This way they are outside moving, but not playing (and they see others playing).
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missing recess
Old 02-05-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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I had kids do laps for me! Before they could play anything else, they owed me whatever amount of laps I suggested. I use a positive behavior system, but the students can move down. So if they start on green, and move to yellow, then orange, they might owe me 2 laps for 2 downward movements. Since orange is "teacher's choice" they could owe me more, or they could forget about recess all together. It depends on my mood and the reason they moved down.

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Old 02-05-2011, 10:05 AM
 
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My admin says its not ok to take away recess... but if the child already "had their recess" during time when they were supposed to be working, then I think it's ok. You can also just make them walk laps during recess.


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Depends on your mood?
Old 02-05-2011, 10:05 AM
 
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I'm not a fan of taking recess away, but I sometimes do it because we are so limited. I never have kids just sit on the fence. I try to make the consequence more meaningful. If kids are goofing off in line, then they might spend the first few minutes of recess walking in line. If they were being rude to someone, they might have to spend the first part of their recess writing an apology letter. Sometimes kids have to finish their work if they were goofing off during work time.

I try not to make it just missing minutes for the sake of missing minutes, but instead I make it about "This is something you have to take care of first."

I try to never make it dependent on my mood. I do have "teacher's choice" so that all of the kids aren't tied to the same consequence when they don't all need the same thing. But even on my worst PMS day I try to remove my mood or emotions from the situation.
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I have mine sit
Old 02-05-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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long enough to write me a paragraph about why it's disrespectful to misbehave or complete the classwork they didn't finish while they were messing around, and then they can walk laps for the rest of their time. I don't think it's right to take away their physical activity, but I don't think they should be rewarded with playtime if they are disrupting class. They hate watching their friends play, and they are getting some exercise, so I feel like it's an effective consequence.
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I only take recess away
Old 02-05-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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for not doing homework or not completing classwork. My feeling is they played while others took the time to do the work(either at home or in class) so they can give up recess to complete work. I have fewer students staying in for homework now.

We've only had one recess since coming back from Christmas break. It's either too wet from the rain or too cold(Admin. decision). Those that have turned in all homework and completed classwork get to work in the computer lab.

I do take away recess for those that have more than three infractions a day. They are required to write about the rules they broke. Lot of this lately since getting a new student who has turned my classroom upside down.
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It's a last resort, but I will if I have to..
Old 02-05-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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Yesterday, the students were hyped up big time after having 2 snow days off. It was Friday, the sun was shining, and I knew they were going to have a hard time listening. I dropped them off at gym, and reminded them to be good listeners. When I came to pick them up, lo and behold, they were getting a lecture from the gym teacher for being argumentative with each other and not listening. I began teaching math and they became poor listeners, because the math lesson was a bit complex (hey I didn't assign it), and they were just plain hyper. After Math they said, time for snack! I still had Social Studies and Science to teach and cursive writing. So, I bargained with them. You listen good for Social Studies, we had to read 5 pages about African America History in Michigan, and then you can have snack. What! They said, and started to whine. I said, "Hey, you guys are hyper and I need to motivate you to listen." "That or no snack at all." They were angels during social studies and seemed to enjoy the reading. After that I let them eat their snack while they worked on their cursive. Instead of taking time out for them to sit there and just eat snack, I combined it with work. Then I motivated them to do Science by finishing up with a game of mum ball, which I scheduled during cursive time. So, for me, if recess is the only thing I can take away, then I will and I only take 5 minutes, but if there's something else I can use as leverage, like snack or a game, then that's what I do. I tell people that don't do their work, that they will watch others play while they finish their work. This is what works for me. It's all about Preferred Activity Time. If you have preferred activities in your classroom you can use then you can take these away instead of recess.
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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I try not to take the whole time away, I too have the student[s] write a paragraph about their need for self-control. It has helped, but again I try not to take the whole time because I feel kids need the release of recess.
I have also in the pass [with other teachers permission] taken away gym, music or a special activity. Do whatever you need to, to get the message across that there are consequences for behavior.
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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I can't get my kids to walk laps or whatever during recess because I'm not out there with them. If they're not getting their work done b/c they're goofing off or whatever, then they have to finish it during recess.
I would never take away music, gym, etc. as a punishment. That gives the impression that those subjects are worthless.
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:09 PM
 
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I think it depends upon your school district's policy or school's policy. We are not allowed to take away recess. This is the children's physical activity/education time. Teachers make misbehaving students walk the track instead of playing with their peers and/or give them silent lunch.
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Well...
Old 02-05-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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We aren't even allowed to have "recess" in my county, so I suppose they can live without it. (When I say recess, I'm not talking about their 25 minute P.E. time with the P.E. teacher.)
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Please do not
Old 02-05-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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Please do not punish students by forcing them to lose recess time. I am sure you have heard of the obesity tragedy in the USA. Also, this lack of physical activity is not going to make them behave...just the opposite. I am surprised there are still districts who allow this option, especially with all the current research on the topic. You had 10 kids who did not do their homework so they missed recess? I am shocked you didn't get 10 phone calls. I guess it might be worth thinking over what the homework was and the reasons why that many students did not complete it! Was it meaningful? I know it can be difficult to get your class to function as a community that respects the process and rules that you have set forth. Why don't you start over with them...perhaps develop a behavior plan with them (keeping it clear and precise). Talk to them about how their behavior effects the entire community and that it is unfair for them to take learning time away from others. etc. etc. It doesn't happen over night, but is so worth it!

I found this article to be helpful and worth reading, while making a difficult choice such as this one, just read up on all you can so whatever you decide, you know that you did your research and feel informed with your choice.
http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/688

Last edited by kali; 02-06-2011 at 01:04 PM..
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Sometimes it's necessary
Old 02-05-2011, 03:15 PM
 
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I tell the kids that lunch is a right, bathroom breaks are rights, but that recess is a privilege. I rarely take it, but it is a last resort for students who refuse to use their time wisely in class or choose to act up, thereby cheating the rest of the class out of work time. I want the kids outside and moving whenever possible, and I cannot enforce laps either, because I am not there. So sometimes it becomes necessary to say, "Look--your classmates have finished this and you haven't because you have been fooling around. You may not participate in the next recess until you finish (or complete X number of questions/problems, etc.)". It's amazing how quickly kids will get busy and how little recess they actually lose.

I would never take away time at a special because those teachers have curriculum they are following, too. I wouldn't be very happy if the gym teacher told me he was keeping one of my students out of math for the day!!

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Fabulous 15
Old 02-05-2011, 03:45 PM
 
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I don't know if this would work in the upper grades, but this is something I do in my first grade classroom. It's called the Fabulous 15. Every Friday, the class gets an extra 15 minutes of free time (they play games, color, socialize...) ok...its extra recess.

Anyways...I have a chart that only I can see with the kids names and the numbers 0-15. I take fab 15 minutes away during the week for kids who are misbehaving. Then when Friday comes, the kids who owe me minutes put their heads down and the students who earned their free time do just that. I have also incorportated a punch card for more incentive for kids to keep all of their minutes each week.

I'm not against taking recess away for when it is needed as an immediate consequence, but I know that the kids who have a hard time not talking or doing other small behaviors usually are the ones that need their recess...so the Fabulous 15 is a great alternative.
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Is is OK?
Old 02-05-2011, 05:16 PM
 
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Yes, it is ok, I have taken it away in the past and I will continue to take it away in the future.

If a child chooses to spend his/her time in the classroom repeatedly causing a problem/not being productive, not respecting the classroom/learning environment, they must realize there is a consequence... NO recess. I do allow them to walk around the perimeter of the area for exercise, but do not allow interaction with peers.

I have no problem with a parent calling me about this. I will do whatever it takes to provide a learning environment. They can request a transfer to another teacher's classroom, if they desire. The other teacher will take away recess, also.

(... and I do not feel personally responsible for the "obesity tragedy in the United States" )

Last edited by madelyneva; 02-05-2011 at 06:06 PM..
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Old 02-05-2011, 05:46 PM
 
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Yeah, I don't feel personally responsible for the "obesity tragedy in the USA" either. The parents who let their children eat fast food or junk food every day and who let their children sit watching television or playing video games for hours are responsible for that. You will not make a child obese by having them miss recess. Children are at school to LEARN. If they get some exercise, too, then that's great. If not, the parents should be ensuring their child gets some exercise at home. I'm not talking about scheduled P.E. I'm talking about recess.

Taking away recess isn't my first option, but sometimes that's all the students will respond to. Students need consequences. If a child goofs off instead of doing his or her work, why should he or she get extra time to play with peers if the work wasn't finished?

But to answer your question.. I think it's okay. I don't take away their whole recess unless the behavior was especially sincere, but a few minutes to think about their actions while the others enjoy playtime isn't going to hurt.
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Old 02-05-2011, 06:45 PM
 
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Taking away recess isn't my first choice. I try to make the punishment fit the crime... separation from the group, etc.
But sometimes missing recess may be the only way to get their attention.
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:09 AM
 
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I rarely have kids who don't have the homework done. The few that don't get shamed by the others. OOOOOOOOHHH ____ is lazy and other such phrases.

I just have them sit outside and finish it. When they are finished and it is done right then they can join the others at recess.

I really don't think the fat problem in the USA has anything to do with the lack of recess. It has to do with terrible food portions and a fast food culture.
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Yes, but...
Old 02-06-2011, 07:56 AM
 
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I agree with Learn4Life. Excellent post.

I'm not sure why, but over the past few years, I've noticed taking away recess isn't the major "bite" that it used to be. When I was a kid, if I lost recess, I was so upset. I hated sitting out while others played, so I straightened up. My students don't enjoy missing recess, but it doesn't really work as a punishment.

If I'm not on recess duty, I have no idea what my students who are on the wall are doing. Sometimes I'll catch them visiting, misbehaving, etc. Then the punishment is useless. If I keep them in with me, it is more of a punishment for myself-- I have so little prep time that if I'm not a slave to yard duty I'm a whirlwind of making copies, making phone calls, etc., and if I have kids with me it inevidably creates more work and stress.

What has been more effective this year is having kids return to me after they eat their lunch and sit in the classroom for however many minutes they wasted in class. Usually after the first two tally marks, they wise up.

A word about exercise at recess - only half, if that, of the students vigorously "play" during recess. Many just walk around with friends, visiting, which I encourage them to do since I don't want them visiting in class. They also have lunch recess to play, plus P.E. twice per week. If a child is overweight, only the parent could insist to their own child that they run some laps or play an active game during recess. No teacher, not even a nurse, could order a child to get active during recess because of their weight. Our heavier children are usually the ones that are sent with unhealthy snacks, and that is what they spend a lot of their time doing during recess. Sad.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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I do take away recess time if I have to, but I NEVER make a child miss the entire recess. 5-10 minutes? Yes.

My students always have a choice-get your work done during work time or do it during recess. Be kind to others or you can practice at recess.

I do Friday Fun Time where the kids get the last 20 minutes of the day as free choice time in the classroom, and I do take that time away if needed, but in first grade, if it's Monday and Friday Fun Time isn't until Friday, it's so far into the future that they don't really care, KWIM?
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Don't take recess, redirect it.
Old 02-07-2011, 04:10 AM
 
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Those little angels should have recess outside with physical activity. The lack of physical activity on a daily basis is one reason for the misbehavior we face daily. You should have them go to recess....just not to play. Insist they spend their required physical activity time walking a track you designate or doing exercise WITHOUT their buddies. Make it a no-choice recess and see how long it takes them to get it together. Plus the offender will have depleted his or her energy when returning from outside.
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How dare we punish
Old 08-12-2011, 03:38 AM
 
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Teachers are here to teach. To educate. We are not their parents.Correct me if Im wrong...or dont but this is school not prison. Where do we get off having the right to punish other peoples children for not doing homework? Where does this problem start? AT HOME. You think that a child, who is completely reliant on their parents schedule, is going to take homework with them when the parents are out running around or dont even have a space at home for them to do it? No. Write to the parents. Get them involved. If the child misbahves have the mother or father come into the class and sit with them!!! Then the parent has to take off work and will be more apt to discipline at home and follow because they don't want to take time out for this again. We have noooo right to make children walk/run/sit during recess. It should be against the law to force someone to do labor against their will while they are at school. This is the parents responsibility. Give it back to them. They rely on teachers to do everything for them and when the students get home they put them off because they know you will take care of it.
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Recess is not just a break!
Old 11-18-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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This is a huge pet peeve of mine! Besides breaking playground rules, children should never miss recess...it's just as important as math and reading and I don't see them punishing kids by withholding those classes. I will gladly deal with behavior issues when my child gets home!

I just don't want teachers to think that's the only thing they have for leaverage. They have parents and other classroom tools. If they break playground rules I understand sitting out for a few minutes but he got "10 minutes and 10 laps". So he missed recess and then he was also punished with exercise.

Kids also have to finish their work on the fence at recess if they don't complete their assignments...is that necessary for a 5yr old??? Send it home!

If teachers stopped looking at recess as a "break" and looked at it as another class where specific skills are learned that can't be learned elsewhere, they'd stop withholding recess. Recess helps develop social skills, problem solving, gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, imagination, as well as exercise and probably other things I haven't mentioned. Recess is another class at school. It may not violate school policy or even district policy, but it does go against national health initiatives.
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I have purposely not read the other posts
Old 11-18-2011, 06:49 PM
 
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I used to take away recess. I do not believe I ever will do that again.

Kids NEED to move during the day. I took two classes this past spring that were phenomenal, so interesting and informative. There is so much research out there which tells us kids that kids not only need their recess, but also they need to move within the classroom, too. Even at 4th grade.

Also, after being up close and personal with my grandson, trust me, taking away recess not only does not solve the problem, it compounds the problem. My GS is just a very active 8 year old child, but he's gotta move.

It is not always easy to do, but it seems to work better when the consequences of a student's misbehavior is a better fit than missing recess.
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Consequences
Old 11-23-2011, 01:31 AM
 
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I know students need to have recess and it is as important as other subjects but I don't think it is a punishment (like prison) if a teacher or school chooses to use it. It is a consequence. Part of being a teacher is teaching that there are positive and negative consequences and that our choices reflect which consequence happens. I rarely take away recesses. Usually I have students eat lunch in the office if there is a recurring problem. Sometimes I will take five or ten minutes and that is spent talking to the student(s). If students miss homework or do not finish work they cannot participate in Friday Free Club or some of the extra activities. I do differentiate for those students who need more time to complete assignments so everyone has an equal chance to participate.

Also - as an educator I need to look at what is happening and reflect on the behavior. Is it something that I am doing or not doing that is contributing to this behavior. How can I help meet my students needs. I am lucky that I am good at preventing some issues with some of my students before they happen. I have students that can take a five minute break to think before that act. They let me know when they are frustrated. They take five and then try again. When they can tell that I am frustrated they tell me I need to take five.

In a perfect world all parents would be involved in their child's schooling - but unfortunately in this day and age parents are just trying to survive and cannot take off for P/T conferences let along come and sit in class. Unfortunately the teachers role has changed throughout the years. Our job is to make sure our students are able to learn no matter what life they have at home. Even though it is the parents responsibility they are sometimes sadly unable - unwilling or uninterested in being involved in their students behavior and learning at school.
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If I do not complete
Old 05-11-2012, 06:41 PM
 
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my work, I must give up my free time (later after school, or take home) to finish my work. That is part of the real world.
IMHO School is a child's job. Teaching them that there are consequences for not completing their work is helping prepare them for the real world. If I need a grade for that particular assignment, I have very little options. I can give the child a failing grade (which is not a true assessment) or give them extra time to finish. We have little success with parents helping children complete unfinished work at home. Our policy says that we HAVE to keep a child for 1/2 hour if they have to stay after school. It is also much easier for me to have them miss 5-15 minutes of recess than have to sit with them for half an hour after school.
IMHO Students who misbehave also need time to think about and discuss better options. We rotate recess duty, so walking/running etc. is not always an option.
My students have 2 recesses and PE every day. Taking a recess occasionally does not hurt him/her. Most students only need to miss one or two recesses to decide that they don't like that option.
Habitual misbehavior/incomplete work are harder to address.
I HATE taking recesses away. I agree that students need a break. I NEED the break. My students know that. They also understand that if I need to, I will take their recess.
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yes- but not all of it
Old 05-11-2012, 07:04 PM
 
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My students get a 40 minute recess every day. Many teachers use 20 minutes of that time for extra help sessions, mentoring, or to practice routines. Some students need extra help with homework, too. If I keep students in to practice routines (eg.- walking safely in the halls) it's only for 5 minutes, and I stress that it is practice. If it's for extra help, I give them 20 minutes. I have students requesting to stay in with me for the first 20 minutes for extra writing or reading time, and if I'm available, I'm happy to have them stay with me. If they didn't have a full hour for lunch (2 2o minute recesses and 20 minutes for lunch) I wouldn't keep them in for work.
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Playing or other?
Old 12-29-2013, 08:14 PM
 
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Are you sure that they were playing while other kids were doing homework. Maybe they were looking for food, watching siblings while parents were at work, trying to be quiet so they are not beaten. In our society, that is an unreasonable conclusion. Almost as much as punishing for no homework. I understand as a teacher, they need homework but some kids will never bring back homework. Maybe they don't have supplies at home, they don't have parents at home, or their parents are unresponsive to put it kindly. Those are children that you keep in for recess? That recess may be the only fun that child has in his or her life. Every child needs something different. Taking away recess should not be an option.
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:46 AM
 
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Taking away recess should not be an option.
I believe it depends on the child/situation. The disadvantaged child isn't the norm at my school, but I know some schools are full of them.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Taking away recess should not be an option.
I also believe it depends on the child. While the only homework I give my students is reading and studying for spelling words, I do take recess away if a student doesn't complete work in classroom. I don't take all of their recesses (we have two). I also try to allow them a few minutes of the lost recess time.
My reasoning: Yes, they may come from an unsatisfactory situation. However, I want them to know that I care too much about their education to let them escape the necessary classwork. I do try to find other times to complete the work ie. computer lab, free time. However, as most classroom teachers will agree, our curriculum is so packed that it is almost impossible to find time to make up that work. If I feel an assignment is important enough to give my students, than I feel it is my responsibility to see that all students complete the work.
Interesting fact: Some of my worse offenders see me downtown years later and run up to say hi. I believe that is because I always tried to let them know that I cared too much to let them slip through the system.
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