Reading Response Blog #5

Assigned Reading: Sparks of Genius Ch. 13: Playing

This reading focuses on the idea of “playing” in and outside of the classroom.  It discuses the idea that playing is a vital component of living a well rounded life because it incorporates emotion, life skills, practical skills, and stems creative skills within one’s self.  Playing is said to have many benefits that rule-bound work does not have.  Rule-bound work does not yield the insights or results that playing does because conventional thought, behavior, and disciplinary knowledge become barriers to goals.  However, playing provides a fun and risk free means of learning.  Most of the time playing allows for learning to happen even when the one playing has no clue they are learning.

The reading discusses how playing allows one to see from a fresh perspective, learning without constraint, and exploring without fear.  Often times rule-bound work comes with many fears and teachers find children not wanting to take risks in fear that they will come up with the wrong answer.  But play does not produce this type of fear, instead it transforms knowledge and builds understanding as we create our own type of learning.

The most influential quote I found from this reading is as follows:

“The sense of play is the essence of inventive activity. Invention begins in the joyful, free association of the mind” ( Playing, 250).  This, to me, is a major theme of this reading.  It explains how play can be useful because it strengthens various mental skills is multiple ways and how it delves deeper than traditional reading.  While “play” really has no specific end product, no assigned achievement, it cannot be said that playing has no inherent goal because it’s results can be put to good purpose in the future.

In conclusion, this reading was insightful because it highlighted the importance of including play in the classroom.  While rule-bound work does need to happen as well, it shouldn’t be the only type of learning that happens for a child.  Rules place limits on what may be done, which in turn and more importantly, provides guides to improvisation and innovation.  Innovation and creativity are vital aspects of the development of a child’s mind and allowing for both of those things in the classroom only increases their desire to learn.

  1. What is the best way to introduce the concept of “playing” in your classroom?
  2. Should this concept be introduced right at the beginning or slowly throughout the year?
  3. How can you ensure that the play happening in the classroom is still productive even without an assigned achievement or goal?
  4. How does the process of playing compare to structured activities?
  5. How can a teacher promote students to be creative and use fresh perspectives while creating their works?
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