Lost Recess - Mothering Forums
Learning at School > Lost Recess
karne's Avatar karne 07:25 PM 01-11-2010
My 1st grader lost recess today because of an uncompleted assignment. I gather he wasn't the only one, but that's not really the point. He is extremely bright, but itchy and fidgety, and often completes anything related to writng or drawing quite slowly. Maybe an attentional issue, maybe just a boy thing-time will tell.

My question is this: I think that this is a really bad idea for little kids, and my energetic ds, specifically. I am going to address this with the teacher. Has anyone else been down this road, and if so, would you be willing to share your thoughts or experiences?

Parker'smommy's Avatar Parker'smommy 07:57 PM 01-11-2010
I would address with the teacher that your son would be able to focus better on the task at hand if he had a chance to get out the wiggles during recess. Did she keep him in to finish the task? Could he bring home unfinished work? Could she work on motivating him to stay on task and finish in a timely manner and ask what you could do at home. Little desk timers work really good with little distracted guys! If he saw that he had just 5 minutes left on the egg timer and he could see the time ticking away, perhaps he would realize that he needs to get down to business! Just an idea. I would also ask the teacher to brainstorm with you to come up with a different "consequence" for not finishing work on time than missing recess.
Good luck!
Emmeline II's Avatar Emmeline II 08:00 PM 01-11-2010
In some states this is not legal. In my school you only miss (part) of recess if you are not behaving at recess. She appears to look at recess as a privilege and not necessary exercise.
Gentle~Mommy :)'s Avatar Gentle~Mommy :) 08:01 PM 01-11-2010
I have a wiggly son too, but I would probably let it go and not say anything (if it's a one time deal) if it kept happening though, I would have to address it with the teacher.

because there were a few kids kept in and not just yours, it doesn't seem so bad KWIM?
Alyantavid's Avatar Alyantavid 08:03 PM 01-11-2010
My son has been kept in at recess before. For not behaving during school. That was last year and I never could get his teacher to understand that his bad behavior was from not burning off energy at recess, along with other things I also couldn't get her to understand.

Could you talk to her about alternatives to losing recess because of uncompleted work? Recess is way too beneficial to kids to lose it like that.
Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 08:18 PM 01-11-2010
was it homework that he didn't do or something from today that he didn't do?

Either way I'd talk to the teacher, but I would say different things. Last year if my DD didn't finish her homework, I would email her teacher and specifically say not to with hold recess and the teacher was fine with that.

If was was work from the same day, I'd ask that the work be sent home.
SunshineJ's Avatar SunshineJ 08:37 PM 01-11-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gentle~Mommy :) View Post
I have a wiggly son too, but I would probably let it go and not say anything (if it's a one time deal) if it kept happening though, I would have to address it with the teacher.

because there were a few kids kept in and not just yours, it doesn't seem so bad KWIM?
I don't know, I'd have to disagree with this. Other than the fact that recess is one of the few opportunities children have to burn off extra energy and is a much needed release, I strongly dislike the message we give to children when it's withheld. What do kids do at recess? They play. What is play generally a form of? Exercise. Yet keeping them from recess to me is like telling them that play and exercise are the least important things in life. I don't know when the whole keeping from recess stuff began, but I think it's a terrible, terrible idea and would never agree to my children being kept in to make up schoolwork. It wouldn't matter if 5 other kids were kept in as well, that doesn't change my opinion that this practice is wrong.
Aeress's Avatar Aeress 08:47 PM 01-11-2010
And most children won't understand the punishment- if you don't do your work, you miss out on something you like to do. It is really failed logic- kid not listening to rules during recess, take child out for a minute- makes sense.
There are many reasons why a child doesn't finish their work, but punishing them rarely helps solve the problem.
hillymum's Avatar hillymum 09:05 PM 01-11-2010
If this is the first time this happened then I wouldn't say anything. If it starts happening regularly then talk to the teacher about your concerns about your child not being able to keep up with the work rather than making the punishment. If nothing is resolved then go back and discuss the punishment not working and having a detrimental effect..
karne's Avatar karne 10:05 PM 01-11-2010
Just to clarify. this wasn't academic work. My ds is at the top of his class academically. This was work involving coloring pictures and writing in a specials class. These are two areas that do prove somewhat more challenging for him, but not necessarily outside of the norm. He is wiggly often, but often finishes anything academic early, which compounds the problem. But, this wasn't where the problem occurred.

FWIW, I am strongly opposed to taking away recess. Play is a part of children's work. I think that it may be a powerful motivator in that the loss of something important makes a big i,mpression, but I don't agree with it.
Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 11:13 PM 01-11-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
I think that it may be a powerful motivator in that the loss of something important makes a big i,mpression, but I don't agree with it.
teachers have very few options for kids who refuse to do their work. I can see why they do it. However, I found that communicating with the teacher was all it took to get *my* child opted out.

Quote:
This was work involving coloring pictures and writing in a specials class
was the problem that it took him longer than the teacher alloted, that he was playing around when he should have been working, or that he was supposed to take it home and finish it and bring it back?

If he was playing when he should have been working, then taking recess away makes sense, regardless of the subject.
octobermom's Avatar octobermom 11:30 PM 01-11-2010
I tend to be a bit torn... On one hand I TOTALY and completely agree that recess is 100% needed and I HATE HATE HATE that its soo often used as the bargining chip to address any and all issues... For me also an uncompleted asignment means a "zero" on that thats the conquence harsh maybe especially in 1st grade (my DD is in first) but its still a rule I can get what missing recess has to do with not doing math facts I don't get... (I assume its the whole you played at home instead of doing the work so now you work and don't play idea )...
OTOH I've had to kinda let go of the idea that my no punishment talk things out and find creative ways of dealing with "discipline" I can often do at hoem wont always cut it at school. Sadly most kids come from some degree of punitive homes and many classrooms the rules and conquences need to be consistant or things just fall apart. In many cases "recess" DOES become the only flexiable thing the teacher often has to work with so taking it away becomes the cureall for any issue
I still say it solves nothing I still say a period where they get those wiggles out NEEDS to be just as important as reading and writing but I'd not necessarly think horrible teacher. (and in my experience they ussually do want to work with the parents and child)
I'd approach this as wanting to support the teacher and setting the child up for success. I'd try to work out a check system with the teacher on homework especailly if this was a big issue and make it part of my parenting to set up my child to be successful in the area and communcation with a willing teacher if for whatever reason my child needed extra time.. So they got that and not a recess loss. I'd also explain the rules clearly to my child so they understand that if they DO choose to jsut not complete asignments simpily because they don't want to they could loose a recess...

Deanna
eepster's Avatar eepster 12:03 AM 01-12-2010
Since we're half way through the school year, and it seems like it's the first time (right?) I wouldn't be too concerned. I would want more information from the school.

Was this task started last thing before recess? How I would feel about it would depend on what exactly went on. 2 examples:

If this was something they started a half hour before recess, and looked realistically like a 15 minute task. Him and the other students, who were kept in, didn't really work on it at all, but dawdled and played. Recess time comes around, and their work is only half done. The teacher say "you can go out as soon as you finish that." The students then have the option to buckle down and finish up their work in 5 or 10 minutes if they choose to focus, and will still have 20 or more minutes of recess when they are done. In that case I would find it perfectly reasonable.

If the task was given a 15 minute time slot an hour before recess. When several students who worked (even if that work was executed in a somewhat unfocused and wiggly manner) during the allotted time, but did not finish, they were kept in during recess to spend a few minutes finishing up then had to sit quietly at their desks. In this case I would feel it was inappropriate.
karne's Avatar karne 12:33 AM 01-12-2010
As far as I can tell, this was an art project that took place over more than one day. DS does tend toward dawdling, losing focus, etc. But, handwriting, drawing, etc. are not a strength. He is also very much a perfectionist. When you put these factors together....it just doesn't work out well. So, I see the teacher saying, of you aren't finished with the assignment then it needs to be done on your free time-I get it that that works for some kids, even if I don't like it.

The problem is that I don't think it works for my child. He's very stubborn, very, very, smart, and he will make a game of it. Tonight he told me that he made a pretend story that he had forgotten outdoor clothing, so that's why he was staying inside at recess. So, he finished the work, but I am not clear that the intended message made it through.

I also hear this idea of losing recess floating around at other times, ie, if he doesn't start putting more care into his printed work he'll have to spend recess indoors fixing it. OK, again, on the one hand, yes, a way to motivate. On the other, the reality is a 1st grader who spends an entire day without physical outlet-I don't think that's going to work either. I'd rather have the work sent home to do afterschool than lose recess.

And, this is the final piece...this is seatwork type work. I have a boy who loves movement, and is academically extremely strong. I don't want to lose the piece of my ds that is excited about learning, and has enormous potential, over issues like this. I could see it happen-I could see where this type of situation could become a battle of wills and very frustrating.

Just venting here, I guess.

ETA: I have no problem talking about this w/the school. It is generally a very supportive and caring atmosphere, and we have a strong relationship there.
Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 02:39 AM 01-12-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
I'd rather have the work sent home to do afterschool than lose recess.
My DD's teacher was really super about it. While I totally understand why they do it, and it DOES work for many, many kids, I didn't feel it was appropriate for my DD who, at the time, wrote really slowly for her age and was doing her best. Her teacher was great. My experience was that they would much rather have the parent help with the child with the work than have to force/coherse/punish the child into doing the work.
karne's Avatar karne 12:31 PM 01-12-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
My DD's teacher was really super about it. While I totally understand why they do it, and it DOES work for many, many kids, I didn't feel it was appropriate for my DD who, at the time, wrote really slowly for her age and was doing her best. Her teacher was great. My experience was that they would much rather have the parent help with the child with the work than have to force/coherse/punish the child into doing the work.
This is exactly what I'm hoping for in the future!
LauraLoo's Avatar LauraLoo 02:31 PM 01-12-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
I'd rather have the work sent home to do afterschool than lose recess.

And, this is the final piece...this is seatwork type work. I have a boy who loves movement, and is academically extremely strong. I don't want to lose the piece of my ds that is excited about learning, and has enormous potential, over issues like this. I could see it happen-I could see where this type of situation could become a battle of wills and very frustrating.

Just venting here, I guess.

ETA: I have no problem talking about this w/the school. It is generally a very supportive and caring atmosphere, and we have a strong relationship there.
This is what I'd communicate to the teacher -- that you understand that the work should be completed and that you will see to it that it is. I'd phrase it that the teacher can off load this to you, so that the problem doesn't escalate into something greater.

FWIW, when ds was in school (we now HS,) I did have to communicate to him that while he was there, he didn't always have a say in when his work would be completed. Sometimes he had to stay on their schedule because it helped the whole class to work together and stay on course. This helped a little so he could see it from the bigger picture viewpoint. And then he thought that he could bring home *all* of his work, so you may want to consider what would happen if your ds decided to do the same.....
karne's Avatar karne 03:45 PM 01-12-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
And then he thought that he could bring home *all* of his work, so you may want to consider what would happen if your ds decided to do the same.....
Homeschooling has always been an option, but both of my kids really like school. It's completely his choice to be in school right now, and frankly, much of it really works for him. Staying on task, as well as his need for accelerated learning are the big things right now, but I'm willing to work with it if it's what he wants. If we ever got to the point where the negatives outweighed the positives I would re-evaluate.
meemee's Avatar meemee 05:14 AM 01-13-2010
my dd is now in 2nd grade.

i was also against taking away recess but looking back i didnt really think it was all that bad.

however dd always has had good teachers. the kids who are truly wiggly - the teacher never took recess away coz it made them even worse.

losing recess once in a while is no big deal. in fact i know some kids who actually enjoy taking a book and reading it on the bench once in a while, dd included.

actually taking recess away from dd helped her with homework.

however recess or no recess - whatever your philosophy is, the most important thing is connecting with the teacher. the squeaky wheel gets the grease is sooo true. when you make the connection - even just through email - then your child is not just a name or you are just not a name but a person they get to know.

i am a single coparenting mom. i HAVE TO talk to the teacher to let them know to send two things home with dd as ex and i dont talk and he wont pass on things which teacher gives. just that initial talking makes a huge difference i find.
ChristaN's Avatar ChristaN 11:59 AM 01-13-2010
We ran into this with dd#1 in first grade. She too is a good student who was not struggling with the school work. She was having a hard time with the repetition and working slowly due to stress in the classroom and boredom. It sounds like you have a better environment than dd did that year, though.

If this is a first time thing, I'd start by talking with the teacher, telling her that ds said that he missed recess to complete x assignment, and asking her policy on withholding recess. I'd then explain that your child performs better and gets work completed in a more timely manner if he has had a chance to run around for a while and that you do not want this means of getting his work completed used in the future. Instead you can suggest an alternative like bringing it home. If the teacher is unwilling, I'd request a meeting with the principal and the teacher to discuss further only if your son continues to miss further recesses.
mattemma04 02:03 PM 01-13-2010
My kids are in Montessori and recess is withheld for various reasons.My dd lost recess for many,many days because she dragged on getting some work done.While I sympathised I told her to get the work done already so she can have her recess....or keep dragging things along and stay inside.It was her choice.
darcytrue's Avatar darcytrue 02:18 PM 01-13-2010
My kids have been in both private and public schools and this happened in both. I would have much rather them stay in the classroom during "specials" to catch up or even stay after school instead of missing recess but their teachers always made them do it during recess. Usually after one or two times the kids rarely do it again. They find out real quick how they may loose recess time if they do. I never saw a problem with it as long as it wasn't happening a bunch of times. I'd want to know if my child were repeatedly missing assignments or getting behind and would hope the teacher would inform me.
eepster's Avatar eepster 02:42 PM 01-13-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post
My kids are in Montessori and recess is withheld for various reasons.My dd lost recess for many,many days because she dragged on getting some work done.While I sympathised I told her to get the work done already so she can have her recess....or keep dragging things along and stay inside.It was her choice.
DS attends a Montessori, and the only reason he looses recess is for behavior during recess (for example, if he hits another student during recess they send him in.) I can't imagine them ever making him stay in b/c he hasn't finished a work yet; it's not like the work was assigned to him, he choose it himself. I could see them not letting him go till his work was put away and his rug was rolled.
VisionaryMom's Avatar VisionaryMom 05:55 PM 01-13-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
The problem is that I don't think it works for my child. He's very stubborn, very, very, smart, and he will make a game of it.
Then, ya know, he's made his choice. If he makes a game of it when he knows lost recess is the consequence, then clearly he's chosen what he wants to do.
karne's Avatar karne 07:24 PM 01-13-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
Then, ya know, he's made his choice. If he makes a game of it when he knows lost recess is the consequence, then clearly he's chosen what he wants to do.
Did I say that my son, or any of the other kids knew lost recess was a consequence? I don't believe that I did.

Making a game of it was probably a poor choice of words...I'm not sure of what I'm looking for here, but your post has a "wise guy" flavor to it that I don't think characterizes my child. He loves his teachers, and his school. He accepted his loss of recess, and didn't complain. He respects authority and admires his teachers. It's ME who is questioning whether this is the best course of action. Obviously this doesn't happen all of the time or I would have more experience with loss of recess time.

Whether it's effective, not effective, right or wrong, I think we go down the wrong path when we see free choice and play time for the youngest elementary students as optional. I happen to think that it is very important, so that's one of the reasons I'm thinking about this issue.
SunshineJ's Avatar SunshineJ 02:03 AM 01-14-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
Then, ya know, he's made his choice. If he makes a game of it when he knows lost recess is the consequence, then clearly he's chosen what he wants to do.
My DS would choose to have ice cream for dinner every night if he could. For me, at this age recess falls in the same catagory as lunch: needed, important, and non-negotiable. My son wouldn't be forced to skip lunch because he hadn't completed an assignment. Now, if a child was really into a project and begged to stay in for recess to complete it, I *might* be ok with that. I haven't run into it and have no first hand experience with it, so I can't say how I'd feel for certain. But having a child skip recess as a non-recess related punishment is detrimental and inappropriate imo.
Mommy3000's Avatar Mommy3000 02:04 PM 09-29-2011

I think this situation is indicative of a national trend, Recess across the board has been shrinking, and your child losing his due to a incomplete assignment can be one aspect of the trend.

 

 

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We recently started this campaign at the social media marketing company I work for, Check out the website for Rally For Recess here:
 
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