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I was on playground duty yesterday in the infants area, watching the smallest students play together. Learning as they did through negotiation, imagination and physical fun. While I was there I watched a small group of year one students plan, devise, create, test and modify a game.

No doubt inspired by the Olympics, the game involved jumping from a small bench onto the grass, trying each time to jump the furthest. At first they tried marking the spots using their fingers but of course they realised that this was impossible. So they then tried using leaves. A few more jumps later and it was obvious that the leaves were blowing away. After a quick discussion they ran off to find some of the larger seed pods that were around. The game continued successfully as they carefully took turns, placed their markers and laughed with delight when their beat their previous jumps. Learning through play.

As I continued to watch it became apparent to me that these, our littlest students were already showing different learning styles and different character traits as they took part in this game. No matter how much my first student tried, her legs did not take her as far as the others. She persisted for about ten jumps but then drifted away. Off to find a new game? I mused that she might need help with The Habit of Mind of Persisting Stick to it! Persevering in task through to completion; remaining focused. Looking for ways to reach your goal when stuck.Not giving up.

The second student was a natural jumper, she paused took a breath and launched herself into the air before beating all the others every time, laughing gleefully as she did. I mused that she was already showing The Habit of Mind of Finding Humour Laugh a little! Finding the whimsical, incongruous and unexpected. Being able to laugh at oneself.

The third student just wanted to win. She was most put out when she couldn’t go as far as her friend. She pouted, she sulked but drawn to the game for a while she persisted, striving to go further. But what did she do in the end? Towards the end of game she cheated. She jumped and noticing that the second student was not watching, she moved her marker the furthest! Having done that she jumped up and down squealing with delight. I am not sure what Habit of Mind this reflected but I do know I will need to watch her when she arrives in my classroom!

Three students, one watching teacher. Playing and learning. What a great way to spend a sunny lunch break.

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