Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Spin the Turkey
Originally uploaded by mahlness
Sometimes in the classroom it's important to just say, "Let's play". No educational objective, no lesson plan, no excuse. Let's just play.

For the last dozen years or so, my third grade classes have decended into delirious chaos for a few minutes on each of the two or three days before Thanksgiving, as we play "Spin the Turkey".

Over a dozen computers all going at once, with speakers cranked up, and the words flying through the air and spilling out into the hallways, "Cranberries!", "Pie!", "Giblets!".... and the ever dreaded "Yams!" People hear us WAY down the hall. Everybody knows what's going on in Room 12....

Kids screaming, teacher frantically updating the ever rising top three scores on the chalkboard, excitement building around a player who is still spinning, with a score over 80.... OMG!!!

Today, with two top scores of well over 100, during a 10 minute period on the first day - it was a good start. One more try tomorrow. Someday somebody's gonna break 200...

Fun for all ages, a real game of skill :)

Download it here:
Spin the Turkey

It's so important that we teachers don't forget how to play with our kids.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great post theme. The topic of play, especially for this age group.

I used to be a youth group leader, and it was integral that we took time for play because it did so many different things than formal education can do. It builds community, creates healthy competition, fosters a safe and non-intrusive atmosphere where kids can let loose a little and have some fun.

The question arises though- does digital play create the same effects as actualy contact play- whether it be verbal or physical. By having an intermediary (the digital aspect) does it diminish the play and cheapen the experience?

In one way, I can see that it could because the kids are staring at a screen, tapping keys, and trying to rack up a score which may only involve quickness of attention and stroke of finger.

In another way though, I think it may not since it may even create a new way for kids to interact- a way that allows kids of all social interaction levels to enter in to the play- almost like a level playing field. The digital aspect serves as the equalizer and starts everyone at the same level.

That being said, I still feel that there is tremendous value to that uneven playing field and the kids having to work through the physical, eye to eye contact of words, thoughts, and ideas.

Great post to get teachers thinking!