The Playful Classroom: The Power of Play for All Ages

The Playful Classroom: The Power of Play for All Ages

The Playful Classroom: The Power of Play for All Ages

The Playful Classroom: The Power of Play for All Ages


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Shows teachers how and why they should bring play into the classroom to make learning meaningful, relevant, and fun.

Research studies show that all students—young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural—benefit immensely from classrooms filled with art, creativity, and laughter. Fun, playfulness, creative thinking, and individual expression reinforce positive experiences, which in turn lead to more engaged students, better classroom environments, and successful learning outcomes. Designed for K-12 educators, The Playful Classroom describes how teachers can develop a playful mindset for giving students meaningful, relevant and fun learning experiences. This unique real-world guide provides you with everything you need to incorporate engaging, hands-on lessons and creative activities, regardless of the level and subject you teach. 

Building on contemporary and seminal works on learning theory and play pedagogy, the authors explain how to inspire your students by bringing play. into your classroom. This clear, user-friendly guide supplies practical strategies and effective solutions for adding the missing ingredients to your classroom culture. Access to the authors’ companion website provides videos, learning experiences, and downloadable teaching and learning resources. Packed with relatable humor, proven methods, and valuable insights, this book enables you to:

  • Provide meaningful experiences that will benefit students both in school and later in life 
  • Combine the principles of PLAY with traditional curricula to encourage creative learning
  • Promote trust, collaboration, and growth in students
  • Develop a playful mindset for bringing the arts into every lesson
  • Foster critical thinking in any school community

The Playful Classroom:  The Power of Play for All Ages is a must-have resource for K-12 educators, higher education professionals, and readers looking for education-based professional development and training resources.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119674399
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 06/30/2020
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 38,908
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

JED DEARYBURY, is an educational leader and award-winning teacher of grades 1, 2, 3 and higher education in teacher preparation programs. He was featured in GQ Magazine as Male Leader of the Year, he won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and he was a top 5 finalist for South Carolina Teacher of the Year.

JULIE JONES, has experience teaching 4th through 12th grades and is currently an Associate Professor at Converse College in K-6 teacher education. She regularly conducts research on educational technology and pedagogy with a mix of creativity and play.

Table of Contents

Foreword xvii

About the Authors xxi

Acknowledgments xxiii

Introduction xxv

In order for the PLAYFUL Classroom to become a reality, there are some foundational beliefs that always matter.

Section 1 The Case for Play

Play designs the future. Trains, planes, and automobiles of today were the kids' cardboard creations of yesterday.

1 He y'all (yes, all y'all) 3

Defining PLAY 4

2 Play as a Behavior 7

3 Play as a Mindset 11

Imagination 11

Sociability 13

Humor 15

Spontaneity 16

Wonder 18

4 Benefits of Play 20

Brain Benefits 20

Academic Benefits 20

Creative Benefits 21

Social Benefits 21

The Playful Mindset 24

5 Excuses 25

Excuse 1 It's Not Part of My Standards 25

Excuse 2 Administrators Won't Allow It 29

Excuse 3 I Don't Have Time 30

Excuse 4 Play Isn't on "the Test" 32

Excuse 5 Life Isn't Always Fun 34

6 Reframing Play 36

Section 2 Play Inspires Creativity: Creativity Inspires Play

Remember when you needed a tent, but had no tent? You found chairs and blankets and made one, You played and solved a problem through critical thinking using the materials you had.

7 Friday Afternoons and Monday Mornings 45

Taking Risks with a Full Toolbox 46

Creativity Is Not the Degree to Which You Can Create Art 47

Lookin' with Fresh Eyes 48

8 Begin with the Experience 53

Draw Your Own Lines. Insert Your Own Squiggle 54

9 Variations on Play in the Classroom 56

10 Creativity as Discovery and Invention 60

Careful, Though 62

Authenticity 62

Flow 63

A Question About Flow in Schools 64

11 Make Time for What Matters 65

Intermission: A Story 66

Plan, Do, Review 67

A Creativity Disclaimer 68

Student Choice 68

"Nothing Worth Doing Is Easy" 70

12 Finding Balance 71

It's OK to Not Have All the Answers 72

Failure 73

Play Is for All Ages 76

Wrapping It Up 78

Section 3 Play Builds Trust: Trust Builds Opportunities for Play

… In ourselves, students, parents, colleagues, and administration. If we constantly doubt one another's abilities, motives, judgments, and qualifications, how can we move forward together?

13 Play Builds Trust 83

14 Don't Sit and Get 85

Benefits of Physical Play 89

Physical Play Improves Our Intellectual Capacity 89

Physical Play Builds Emotional Intelligence 90

Physical Play Helps Us Build Friendships 90

Physical Play Develops Our Moral Character 91

Physical Play Promotes Physical Wellness 91

Physical Play Is a Catalyst for Joy 91

15 A Story about Trust 93

16 Administrators Must Trust … 101

17 Teachers Can Trust… 105

18 Parents Can Trust… 112

Newsletters 112

Positive Phone Calls 113

Sneak a Peek 113

Parent Play Days 114

19 Students Already Trust… 115

Section 4 Play Builds Relationshps: Relationships Are Strengthened Through Play

Our students are humans before they get to us, and they're still humans when they leave. It will do us well to remember that fact more than their test scores, data, and grades.

20 Our Biological Predilection 119

A Conversation 119

Hunter-Gatherers: We're More Alike Than You Think 121

A Story About Cats 125

21 The Impact of the GERM 127

22 Love First, Teach Second 130

Confession 133

23 Ploy Personalities 136

The Joker 138

The Kinesthete 139

The Explorer 140

The Competitor 140

The Director 141

The Collector 141

The Artist/Creator 141

The Storyteller 142

24 The Theme Park Experience 146

Smile 147

Say Their Name 147

Make Others Feel Important-and Do It Sincerely 148

25 Learning with Them, Alongside Them 149

Fire and Brimstone 149

Authenticity 150

The Relationship Epilogue 154

Section 5 Play Builds Community: Communities Are Strengthened When We Play

We live and interact with others-locally, regionally, and globally. Play helps us shape a mindset of advocacy, awareness, sensitivity, and compassion for all.

26 Relevance and the Four-Legged Stool 157

27 Fostering a Sense of Belonging 163

Bravery Badges 164

28 Getting to Know Students Personally 167

Play Reveals Thinking 169

Play Strengthens Social Skills 170

Play Creates Connections 171

29 Supporting Academic Success 172

Feedback for Growth, Not Grades 174

Scores and Career Goals 178

30 Knowing Students' Names 181

Greeting Students 182

Nicknames 183

Cheering for One Another 184

31 Creating Interesting and Applicable Lessons 186

32 Beyond the Red School Door 190

33 Across the Country, and Around the World 195

Global School Play Day 195

Global Read Aloud 196

Global Maker Day 197

Section 6 Play Nurtures Growth: Growth Shapes Our Play

We can always be better. Play helps us to grow.

34 The Truth About Success 201

Blubber and a Little Grit 204

35 Encourage a Spirit of Growth 207

36 Your Brain, an infomercial 211

Your Brain Makes an Oops 212

Wait, So What About Tests? What About Grades? 213

Learning Thresholds? 214

The Power of Our Words 216

37 Creating a Culture of Growth Through Play 217

Modeling Inquiry with a WISH 219

Playful Communication and Collaboration 220

Multiple Playful Paths 220

Accessible Play 223

Playful Curricular Integration 224

The Language of Playful Teaching 225

Play Is Valued as a Way to Assess Learning 227

38 A Lesson of Play: Nurturing Growth for an Administrator 230

The Playful Mindset 234

Section 7 Get Out There and Play!

"She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful."-Terri St. Cloud

39 The Playful Mindset 239

The Playful Mindset 240

40 Look for Playful Moments (Awareness) 242

Challenge #1 Bravery Badges 242

Challenge #2 Determine the Play Personality Types in My Class. Use That Information to Invite Comfortable Play for All 243

Challenge #3 Celebrate the Random 246

Challenge #4 Follow and Interact with Playful Educators Online 247

41 Time, Space, Opportunity (Intentionally) 248

Challenge #5 Gather Ye Rosebuds, Errr … Tools for Play 248

Challenge #6 Rethink the Rules with Game Adaptations 249

Challenge #7 Take a Walk "Art" side 250

Challenge #8 Musical Chair Mashup 251

42 Play, Mess Up, Learn, Repeat (Process) 252

Challenge #9 Breakout EDU 252

Challenge #10 Play-Doh Elephant Challenge 252

Challenge #11 Card House Challenge 253

Challenge #12 Awesome Squiggles/Virtual Valentines/ Gingerbread Communities 254

Gingerbread Communities 254

Awesome Squiggles 254

Virtual Valentine Exchange 255

43 The More We Play, the More Playful We Become (Habit) 256

Challenge #13 Reflect on the Language in Your Classroom 256

Challenge #14 Sculpt and Scoot!!!! 258

Challenge #15 How Did You Play to Learn Today? 258

Challenge #16 Play History Analysis 259

44 Play Makes You Happy. Happy People Play. (Results) 260

Challenge #17 Host a Tiny Art Show 260

Challenge #18 Tape Art Museum 260

Challenge #19 Destination Learning 261

Challenge #20 Make a Mark 261

45 Get Out There and Play 263

Appendix A Southernisms and Their Meanings 265

Appendix B The Playful Classroom Teacher's Reading Guide 271

References 273

Index 277

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