Thursday, March 6, 2014

Slice of Life: Indoor Recess Blues 6 of 31

It's day six of the March Slice of Life Challenge.  31 days of writing.   Thanks to the amazing Two Writing Teachers team for all of their support in this event.  

Finger knitting
Photo via WikiMedia Commons
It's been quite a winter.  I've learned the meaning of polar vortex and hardly consider 32 degrees fahrenheit cold anymore.  I've also refined my understanding of winter warning vs. winter advisory.  Things you really don't want to know.  While we are used to snow on occasion in Ohio, it usually snows, melts, snows, melts.  It seems, this year however, we've had snow on the ground most days since December.  Needless to say we've been indoors for recess through most of January and February.  We've added new games to our classroom, located different kinds of paper for crafting, and purchased coloring books to add excitement to these days inside.  Still, we all have the indoor recess blues.

I was really out of tricks and then I stumbled upon Kimberley Moran's post about finger knitting; actually it was about helping young learners develop a reading life, but finger knitting was a part of it.   Kimberley taught her class to finger knit and had attached a video to demonstrate.  As soon as I saw her post I knew my class needed to know this.  Not only did I think it might give us something to do at indoor recess, but I knew it provided powerful writing possibilities.  I could envision opinion pieces about the best things to do at indoor recess or rules that should be changed for indoor recess.  I could see the possibilities for how-to writing to share other indoor recess possibilities.

Kimberley was nice enough to arrange some time to Skye with our class today.  She and her students showed us, not only how to finger knit, but other things they do during indoor recess.  Her class was from Maine and my students were interested in finding out where that is.  They also were surprised to hear it was even colder in Maine today.  I guess they didn't think any place could be colder than Ohio.

After our Skype conversation with our new first grade friends, the class was abuzz with excitement.  A few girls said they knew how to finger knit too, but it was a little different.  They wanted to create a video to show the other class.  Other students wanted to write about what they like to do at indoor recess to give our new friends suggestions.  Let's say writer's workshop was messy, but productive.

Of course, now that we have a plan for indoor recess the temperature inched just above our cut-off for indoor recess.  We excitedly put on our hats, our gloves, and zipped up our coats to spend a little time outside.  Though we didn't need finger knitting for inside recess, it did prove to be the perfect activity for our "black top only" outdoor recess.  Goodbye, inside recess blues.  Hello, tetherball.


  1. Our kids were ready for outdoor recess today, too. The cheer that went up could be heard through our whole hallway when the announcement was made. When I have morning duty in the cafeteria on cold days, I roll out a huge length of butcher paper and get bins of crayons from the art room. Not everyone joins in, but most kids enjoy creating these murals.
    Love that you Skyped with Kim's class. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  2. We too have suffered the blues this year. Your line, "I've also refined my understanding of winter warning vs. winter advisory. Things you really don't want to know." conveys the sense of exhaustion with this winter.

    I hope you don't need to use your new inside recess plan, but March is fickle. It offers lots of weather to write about. :-)

  3. I love the idea of having a bunch of fun things to do inside... and finger knitting fits that bill! At my kids' school, they learn to knit starting in 2nd grade... they start with finger knitting, then spool knitting then needle knitting. It's awesome to see all the kids with such a great skill. :-) I enjoyed reading your slice!

  4. Oh that sounds so fun!! Once we had outside recess, many of my kids didn't want to go out! I felt like I was pushing them out the door, but they desperately need to get moving!

  5. Ok, this is brilliant. I will need to revisit this idea later - we just got outside today. Finally! Hoping for warmer weather, but love your idea when it is cold.

  6. Several of our classes are also doing finger-knitting and it's been a hit, for older than first graders, too. What a neat idea to make the connection stronger by skyping Cathy. Love it! Sorry about the winter blues. I know you all have really had bad weather this season. Soon, I hope, spring will have sprung!

  7. I think that it is cool that your class is learning to finger knit...but I am more impressed that they learned from another class in Maine through Skype. How cool!!! These kinds of things make me wish I could be back in the classroom....and then I remember testing....


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