I’ve got 20 minutes tops…I’m off to surgery today, getting relief, I’m one of the lucky ones with health insurance. Getting my sinus infections cured by getting my face cut open seems like an odd thing to be excited about. This past week, I took a real vacation. I did a hard unplug and went to Hoboken/NYC. Just me and my daughter. She’s two and half and was better than I could have ever imagined. We stayed with her Uncle Keith & Aunt Sandi, and I had a revelation. The State of Play is in crisis; meaning, my playing…I was on my laptop for a grand total of 45 minutes from last Saturday through Tuesday. This was a PR (personal record) for me. Guess what happened? I became a better teacher and practitioner over the last five days than I have over the past five weeks. Unplugging and seeing the world as my daughter sees it allowed me to think and not do for the first time in months. My wife was not allowed to join us per work responsibilities, this forced me to be the primary care giver- which was awesome. On Monday afternoon, Josie and I hit up Pizza Republic at 3pm for some of their Mac & Cheese. “Dadda,” Josie exclaimed, “I wanna go back to New York City.” What was your favorite part of the day Josie– I fired back at her, the response struck me — “Playing at de zoo was really cool.” Playing. Something that is necessary for all of us and being sucked out of many days.
I work at an innovative school. My students are engaged in ways that would shock a frequency eval performed by most traditional educators. But nowhere have I seen engagement higher than I saw last Friday afternoon when 30+ students were gathered around watching 3 players crush Little Big Planet 2. Like it or not (and I love it), gaming has replaced outdoor recreation activities that I grew up with such as basketball, baseball, and kick the can. I am gravely afraid that adolescents gaming space is going to be encroached by adults with the same zeal that stranger danger overtook many of my beloved activities. As a basketball coach, I often hear my colleagues complain that nobody goes to the Y for pickup ball anymore. My response, “would they even be allowed?” Do parents trust their community enough to allow their children to play unattended at the Y? I’m not where I sist on that and that’s an entire blog post for a different time, what I am saying is that young folks have safe play spaces in gaming zones that don’t currently exist in spaces that I used to roam in. There’s a ton of good lit available making the case for play for adolescents. I’d like to make the case for play for teachers. I had a major breakthrough over the past five days. It’s a big idea I’ve been playing with over the past year and a half, but I needed think time, a decompress zone to chillax and let my thought bubble up. Quick shout out to my brother Keith for helping me put the thought into a real format. And thanks to Tom Krause (@krauseunc) for encouraging the thought further last night. Tom’s son playing with my daughter last night showed me, it actualized my thoughts. I’ve seen them play together dozens of times, but last night I was seeing them play for the first time. I was aware and present. Kornerstone was shut off and I allowed myself to play. Over the next month, I’m playing with my students. I blogged here about it. I’m growing a mustache to kill cancer. I’m writing a novel in a month. My students are joining me on both journey’s. It’s going to be a great month. I’m off to surgery. I hope to come back and clean this post up next week. Had a burning desire to write–