August 17, 2010

The Case of the Missing Recess

My daughter is in second grade. Here is her daily schedule:

7:30-7:40 Flag, Announcements
7:40-8:55 Math
8:55-9:35 Specials (rotates between music, gym, library, art, and computers)
9:35-9:55 Math/Snack
9:55-10:25 Independent Reading
10:25-11:55 Language Arts
11:55-12:05 Clean-up
12:05-12:14 Teacher Read-Aloud
12:14-12:44 Lunch
12:45-1:15 Writing
1:15-2:00 Science or Social Studies
2:00-2:14 Pack up and Dismissal

Q: What's missing?

On Saturday, I attended a conference and sat for 7 straight hours. By the end of the day, I had consumed a pack of gum and three rolls of breath mints, my rear end was asleep, and I was very, very, cranky.

Looking at my kids' daily schedules explains why they are so antsy and hostile when I pick them up from school every day.

I can't say that I blame them.

80 comments

Sarah said...

It's really necessary to have more than an hour of math and then come back for EVEN MORE math? That's enough to make me crabby by the afternoon!

Tricia said...

My kid is in 1st grade and eats lunch at 10:15am. Snack is at 11:45am. Wonder why she is famished when school is out?

Laurel said...

Welcome to Florida, recess not included.

Carrie said...

What on earth is the teacher reading for just 9 minutes? There is certainly a lot of time devoted to math. How do they determine if they get math or snack?? Or is math involved in the snack...

Funsucker Extraordinaire said...

I don't think I could sit still for that schedule. I hope the teachers are lenient when it comes to squirmy kids!

Susan M. Heim said...

My twins just started first grade and told me that the only time they get to play outside (have recess) is on "gym days," which is every 6th school day! They also eat lunch at 10:00, and one of my boys said his teacher didn't give them snack time in the afternoon. Is it any wonder they're already telling me they don't like school?

Melanie said...

Ridiculous. They have their entire adult lives to work like dogs and have no recess...give them a freaking recess!

CaraQuilts said...

WOW they'd never get away with no recess here, for no other reason then the teachers have it in their contract!
But I would pretty cranky after that day too.

sara said...

My kids have had "recess cuts" too... I try to take them 15 minutes early to school (no busses available to us) just so that they can have "recess" for those 15 minutes.

When I think about stuff like this it makes me want to homeschool. But then I remember that I would lose my mind if I tried that...

Tami said...

Wow, and here I was complaining that my son only gets one recess! I had 3 growing up! morning, lunch and afternoon recess, and I turned out all right-even learned me some college ;) So, I guess I will be grateful that my son gets his 15 minute recess every day, always gets snack time and at least gets to eat lunch when it's almost 11:00...but I don't know how teachers do it with no wiggle break!!

Donna said...

Recess is my kids favorite activity at school. I feel for your children!

wjmom said...

I'm sad for the children; I ACHE for the teachers. Are you kidding me?

I wonder why the numbers of young people pursuing a career in education are dropping...

Courtney said...

And we wonder why all these kids are ADHD

Jennifer said...

They cut out snacktime when my son started kindergarten ( and it is full day) and last year in first grade, his schedule was like your kids'... the only time outside he got was after they ate lunch... but they only gave them 30 minutes to eat their lunch and then go outside... so usually... no outside- OR he didn't eat lunch so he could hurry and go outside and then came home famished. Poor kids.

TheRapunzelGirl said...

what? you mean the snack, independent reading and clean-up don't count as "recess"?

seriously lame. kids NEED recess.

CountessLaurie said...

And then they medicate so the kids can focus. Drives me insane.

Daisha said...

I think it's insane that some school don't do recess. I was watching the new today and they were talking about it. Not only do I feel bad for the kids, but for the teacher too!

Kim Ginsberg said...

Man I'm 33 and I need recess! Let the poor kids go outside when they can! Give the overworked, underpaid teachers a break! And we wonder why
A) everyone's diagnosed with ADHD (NO - they're not ADHD, they're just kids!) and
B) everyone complains when “today’s” kids are fat and lazy. Duh! They have no recess, and gym once a week! But instead, let’s have them go to "computers" which, when I grew up, was a necessary class - computers - the wave of the future! Now, my 3yr old can get to disney.com faster than I can... I don’t think we need an hour devoted to teaching kindergartners to type. Let them play dodgeball!
Uggh, I hope when you settle into your permanent home, the school will be more “fun”.

craftyashley said...

Wow- that's harsh! Don't kids need exercise for their minds AND bodies?

Lainie said...

I wonder how many other parents in your school are feeling the way you do. Perhaps it's time to go to the principal (or the school board, if you don't get anywhere).

Gina said...

This looks like a big, fat pile of "teaching to the test"... you think this school has had problems on the math portion of the FCAT?!?

Jessica said...

I totally agree with the ADHD comments! I can't imagine a school not having recess! I've never felt so grateful to live in Utah as I do right now! I would definitely talk to the teacher, school, & school district about it.

Briana said...

amen!

i can't believe they expect kids to go straight for 7 hours! kids need to play and have breaks. that schedule is not natural. crazy!

this is one of the many reasons that i am homeschooling.

Sarah said...

My daughters 30 minute recess suddenly seems very generous. In fact it's legally protected here and teachers can't use detention during recess as punishment which I think is EXCELLENT! Kids need to run around!!! With rising obesity and ADHD rates it's essential! She also doesn't have lunch until 11 (still early for us) and gets a snack in the afternoon all year long. No offense, but you've convinced me to never move to Florida!

I'm hoping by Math/Snack they mean that they play number games with their food. They don't really have to do math work during their snack break do they???

Sounds like it's time for a revolution - your pitchfork should help. :)

linda said...

Are they trying to create a 'super race'? scary what is expected of kids today. Oh, for those good old days when recess meant playing outside on swings and monkey bars and merry go-rounds, and lunch meant 12 noon eating a REAL lunch.
I feel for the kids of this time. They are missing so much.

Six-Pack Momma said...

An hour and 35 minutes of math?! And no recess. That is cruel! To both you and your kids.

Mrs Morty said...

our school counts the time between 8:00 and 8:25, when there are teachers on duty to supervise the playground, as recess time. School starts at 8:30 though...yeah,I'm taking my kids to the park after school or something.

Beth said...

No recess? What's up with that? Kids NEED that time to burn off some energy!!

Cat said...

An hour and a half straight of Language Arts for a 2nd grader?! Geesh, I'd be hard-pressed to sit through that much and I'm 33!

Heidi said...

That makes me angry. It's completely wrong not to give kids recess.

Skubaliscious said...

This also seems to explain why there is a huge problem with childhood obesity. We teach them to sit all day.

Emily Heizer Photography said...

Who the heck gets rid of recess? And why are we feeding them snack during class? Eating and doing math? That is no bueno. Who thought up that dumb idea? Recess is only 15 minutes anyway. Are you kidding me? What the freak?

And that is way too much math!!!

Heather said...

Is this a mistake?? Are they leaving it that way? If so that is horrible!!

I feel so sorry for her. (And you for being on the receiving end of hostility.)

All8 said...

That's just plain crazy! No recess?! What about the First Lady's get moving push? Everyone needs time to move about and milling about in the lunch line doesn't count!

Shaken Mama said...

People criticize my homeschooling because kids need to socialize. Har dee har har, people. Unless they're passing notes in math, they can't socialize in this schedule!

Tasha said...

umm...what!?! What do they think these kids are made of? NO RECESS! That's just nuts. I think I might go off the deep end and opt to homeschool if it were like that here. My kids NEED that break to get out and move around!

Lisa, An American Mom said...

Sheesh. That schedule is insane. If I were you I'd be having a discussion with the principal ASAP. This schedule is a perfect example of what is wrong with schools... kids aren't allowed to be kids and PLAY. Good luck! Your poor daughter...

Emily said...

Are you kidding me??? She is there five hours before a break!!! Wow! Your daughter is my new hero.

Anonymous said...

and why do our youth have obesity issues more often now??? Cut down math to an hour and wiggle some stuff around so the kids can let off some steam. Time to homeschool!

Teen Queen said...

that is terrible. what kind of 2nd grader doesnt have recess. and there is a lot of math. im in middle school, and there is only 47 min. in each class!

HD said...

Although I agree your kiddos should have another recess I bet it's packed into that lunch time. Our kids get 20 minutes for recess and 20 minutes for lunch, but they're combined.

Hopefully you have a creative teacher that likes to do active things with them. (o:

Tarcoulis said...

Don't teachers need recess too?

Sherrie said...

That is crazy! Are your kids using the math program "Everyday Math"? The first year our district used it in the elem the teachers called it if "Everyday math, all day every day". I am a 7th grade math teacher and I think WTH about that schedule.

Dangerous With a Pen said...

That is insane. I teach 1st grade in New Jersey and more and more is getting published up here about how much kids need play and recess. My kids get 40 minutes at lunch (20 for lunch, which is kinda short for 6 yr olds eating but what can you do, and 20 min for recess) and then I can take them out whenever I want, or if the weather is bad, we have indoor recess in the room.

We can also schedule snack for whatever time we want, so if we have an early lunch, snack tends to be around 2:00 or if a late lunch, we have snack at 10. We are supposed to teach each subject for a certain number of minutes per day, but we have flexibility in planning time other than lunch and special classes and any pull-outs.

Your schedule sounds brutal for little kids. :( Go get a copy of the book "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv and give it to the kids' principal. Or better yet, the superintendent. :P It was a book our principal gave to all of the teachers in our school last year and it's about the NEED for kids to get outside.

Nancy Sabina said...

30 minutes of independant reading and 9 for teacher reading? Plus all that math?!? What are they thinking?

Kristen said...

This angers me as a Florida educator and parent. What happened to the law that passed in 2008 making it state law that children in K-5 should have 150 minutes of physical activity a week? Are they counting art, music and the other specials as physical activity? My son does get recess every day, after lunch, so I don't understand how every school can't fit that into their schedule. I don't recall there being in changes in this law...

Latisha said...

That was the thing that amazed us the most when we moved to Florida. Welcome to the state where the FCAT comes first. We have lived here for 9 years now, and the kids have attended several schools. To their credit, several of the schools have found creative ways to include "recess" in their day. There are state mandated physical activity requirements - can't they see that recess could help meet them? Maybe someone like you with "a real voice" can make a difference!

Mal said...

That's disgraceful. Don't even get me started. Ugh. I hate schools.

Missy said...

Thank you for the reminder of why I am a huge advocate for homeschooling.

Mom said...

No recess for an elementary student? Are you friggin' kidding me with that? That's harsh. Yeah, I'd be a grouch, too.

Lahni said...

They start at 7:30? My son is going into grade two and he doesn't start until 8:45. And they get to eat lunch at a normal time (noon) with three recesses. I feel for those little kids in Florida!

Anonymous said...

Read "Dumbing us Down" by John Taylor Gatto

He was a teacher in NYC and won teacher of the year awards from the city and state.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or is there an obesity epidemic among children these days? How will cutting out their recess help? Give the kids a break to wiggle, I bet it would cut down on behavior problems in the classroom in general.

The Bus Driver said...

school lets out at 2:14? sounds like a bit of an abbreviated day. i'd be willing to bet they get some free time during the day, and probably just right at dismissal. weird that recess isnt built in.

Lindsay said...

We just moved from Dallas to North Carolina and are appalled at how early school starts but my question is where is their recess?

cyn said...

No Child Left Behind, indeed.

Maggie said...

My daughter just started afternoon Kindergarten. Due to a "great" new curriculum they do not get a recess or snack time. The teacher is out on the playground 10 minutes before school starts so the kids can have "recess." I think that when you take 17 5 year olds and expect them to get all their wiggles out in 10 minutes, and keep them out for three hours, you are destined for rebellion (in the form of grumpy, uncooperative and hungry children)!

Dangerous With a Pen said...

In defense of the early start time and end time, research shows that younger kids should be starting earlier since they are up earlier and on the go. Older kids (as in middle/high school) should actually have the later start times (8:45/9:00) that most elem schools have because older kids are more tired in the morning and more awake later on. Most research on school times recommends this time schedule, but many school districts don't follow it because it would disrupt the sports schedules of high schoolers (meaning if your district changed to later start/end times in high schools, they wouldn't be able to play sports against other districts with earlier end times). Bizarre how sports wins over child learning research. But not surprising.

So I have to commend your schools for the early schedule at the elem level (I wish we had that where I teach, my 1st graders are raring to go when we start at 8:45, and are exhausted by 3:15. My husband's high schoolers are the opposite.)... but I still can't agree with the lack of recess. :(

Rocket Ma'am said...

40 years ago kids spent less time on math, weren't nearly so regimented, had music, art, and PE regularly, and had 30 minutes of solid recess every day, sometimes more in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade.

They also had higher test scores.

Kimberly said...

That would almost be enough to make me consider home school. Seriously. Your school makes me LOVE Idaho. We still have three recesses EVERY day and we still have some of the highest academic scores nation wide.

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Family of Many said...

To make you feel a little better... my children have a schedule which includes 2 recesses AND recess after they eat lunch. So yes they go outside 3 times in one day. Here is the catch... we live in AZ and its been 114 degrees outside on the average lately. My children came home and complained the first day saying they had "sweaty" days and HATE going outside... so now they BEG their teachers for extra work. When given extra work... they are allowed to sit inside the nice, cool air conditioned cafeteria while the "not so smart kids" play in the awful heat! Though, I have warned their teachers that my children won't be asking for extra work once it cools off!

Anna said...

Perhaps some in the curriculum management dept. think they will have plenty of time to play later since they end school earlier? However, it's usually hottest outside in the late afternoon. Also just that much sitting for such a long time without a break can't be good for their shorter attention spans. I have a toddler and am dreading school years. I just hope wherever we are at the time he starts school has some sensible schools. My condolences to your daughter. :(

Kristine said...

kids need recess but they also need a longer day. why is my SD sending my kids home every monday at 1? Oh to help them plan their lessons. Is there a reason our educational system sucks? yes, because we send our kids home at 1 to give the teachers a break.

My friend just moved from Idaho to Phillippines and her daughter in Elementary school was over a year behind. She had to transfer her to a charter school in the younger grade. Yes, something to be proud of, a 2nd (?) and sometimes 3rd world country kicks our ace at education.

ps their kids get recess, but they come home from school at 4-430.

Ashley Welling said...

Where is the morning recess? How do those teachers do it? I teach 8th graders with 85 minute classes. Even they get antsy.

Also...I never got a snack in elementary school. Give them another recess. They are kids for pete sake!!

Tasha, The Stamping Lady said...

I am appalled at the 9 minutes allowed for teacher reading and no recess?! Looks like they get PE about once a week?! Crazy. My daughter had 3 recesses last year and it's a BIG deal that in 3rd grade you only get 2 (one after lunch and one in the afternoon). Guess I should feel glad! Oh, we do go 15 minutes longer but they also get PE every other day (which I will no longer complain about!).

Jen said...

And we wonder about our "obesity epidemic" when we have NO recess but take the time to feed the kids both a lunch and a snack.

Where's Michelle Obama on this one?

bethany said...

What the WHAT?? Seriously?? I've never heard of such a thing. Maybe you should lobby to get recess back for all the poor little school children.

AndeMski said...

Her math class is longer than MY math class and I'm in high school! That's crazy! My math class is 90 minutes, and it gets REALLY hard to pay attention! In any of my classes! I remember in Middle School they took away F.A.T.(Fresh Air Time) b/c we were "BAD". I had no idea that they took away elementary kid's recess! That's so crazy!!! I have to eat lunch at 10:00 w/o snack time, which stinks! I usually skip lunch and just eat when I get home.

brenda hatch said...

The teacher only reads aloud for 9 minutes?! No wonder kids don't like reading anymore. Sad. More reading at home I guess!

sarah said...

recess is gone in my fifth graders schedule this year. The teacher even said, there will be no recesses this year. It has been replaced wit PE. However, children do not need to wear tennis shoes for PE. Tells me they are going to be sitting around watching video's during PE. Crap it!

J said...

As a teacher and as a mom, I have to say that I've never seen a Grade 2 schedule like that...it just isn't feasible! As for getting out early in the afternoon - that is made up for with the early morning start...I am sure that the instructional time is according to the school district's policy. In my SD in Canada we have daily recess and lunch, PE a minimum of 3 times a week (taught by the PE specialist), and an additional 30 minutes a day of daily physical activity (which is taught by the classroom teacher). From a teacher's perspective this is also a little overboard as we are left with little time to cover our learning outcomes, however given the choice I prefer it to Florida's gruelling schedule.

Megan B ♥ said...

WHAT?????????????????

Anonymous said...

I taught in a public school once where we weren't allowed to have recess. They would actually send around a "Time Auditor" to check your building. You had to have your schedule posted on the wall and were supposed to be doing whatever the schedule said, all the time. No time for bathroom breaks either. We had playground equipment but it was left over from before this rule. We would actually have recess and just break the rules. But we had a code announcement that the office would do if the auditor came. If we heard it, we were supposed to drop everything and do the subject on the schedule. It was all because they were so worried about the statewide testing. My kids were innercity kids. They got into fistfights all the time and were super wiggley 5th graders. It was no wonder I struggled to teach them everything that year. It was like a battle to get them to learn...

Anonymous said...

Florida's contribution to smart, fat kids on drugs?

SM said...

When I was growing up we had morning, after lunch and afternoon recess. Now kids get one or zero, no wonder we have classrooms full of overweight attention deficet (I mean no disrespect) children. How hard is it to figure out why? Aughh, very frustrating!

Kim said...

First let me say that I fully agree that these children should have a sufficient amount of recess in their day.

That said, several of you have made comments that simply have to be addressed:

How many of you would be the first to complain if your kids' schools had "too much" play time and weren't scoring high enough on standardized test scores? How many of you are going around talking about how the US isn't doing as well as other countries in education? (BTW, we are comparing ALL of our kids, the above-average, average, below average, and special education students to just the top tier of students from most of those other countries that appear to outscore us, so your information is a bit skewed.)

Also, to all of you citing this one schedule as the reason behind the obesity epidemic in the US: go give your pantries and freezers a nice, long look. How much processed junk are you feeding your school-aged kids? How many fresh fruits and veggies? How often are you going through the drive though at a fast food joint? Oh, I'm sure it's not you, but you know folks who are guilty. And yet somehow, it's the schools' fault for not having enough recess time? Yep, that's why our kids are overweight.

Could we please cut public schools just a tiny bit of slack? Maybe find out WHY things are the way they are before you go around judging the status quo (and applying it to the entire nation).

When you are armed with information, maybe you could stop complaining about it on a blog. Go DO something about it.

Just a few thoughts from a proud mom and public school teacher...

Clay Boggess said...

We are erring on the side of 'if some is good then more must be better' as we continue to search for ways to justify our failing educational system.

Mirinda said...

Alas....why we homeschool!!

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