How Do You Deal with the Dreaded "Inside Recess"?

recess teaching Oct 24, 2019
Do you dread indoor recess season?

As colder weather looms in the distance (if it's not already arrived), it's time to start thinking about the dreaded "inside recess". It's not so much that we don't love our students but that we need a break for a few minutes. Ask any teacher, or parent for that matter, breaks are essential.

Bathroom breaks and just a break from being "on" every second is part of our self-care. Caretaker burnout is REAL, and at school we call it teacher burnout. It's not "just in your head" and you're not a bad teacher for needing and wanting a break. It just means you're human. 

So, NOW is the time to start coming up with a plan for those days when students can't go outside but still need some physical activity and a mental break.

Here's what needs to be in your plan.
  • Creative activities for students who want them - drawing supplies, coloring pages, building supplies like Legos...
  • Games - a variety of board games or strategy games for your iPads or other tablets, crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles...
  • GoNoodle or "get up and move" activities. 
  • A quick plan for everyone to MOVE for a few minutes at the beginning or end or your recess time. 
  • A plan with a neighboring teacher or teachers to share space for activities, monitoring students and giving each other bathroom (and "clear your head" take the long way back to the classroom) breaks.
  • A plan for a bathroom break for your students. 
  • A plan for modeling and training your students what the expectations are for indoor recess activities long before an indoor recess day hits. 
Here's what SHOULDN'T be on your list.
  • Movies. I know this is an easy one, but screens should not be used as a babysitter. Students spend a lot of time with screens in their lives, they don't need more of that. In fact, recent research has shown us kids need more time AWAY from screens to truly recharge.
  • Students sitting around doing nothing. This is trouble waiting to happen.
  • More work and no real break. You students NEED a break as much as you do. They'll be more productive the rest of the day if you provide a true break.
  • Only activities that are "educational". This is NOT a break. 
Whatever your plan, make it now and prep your class. You'll thank yourself later when indoor recess comes calling. 



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