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Weekly Challenge # 15 – Give the Gift of Solar Powered Smiles

December 8, 2013

Bailey - LeavesI’ve become the family historian in my family. A few years before my grandmother passed away I sat with her at our family cottage and labelled the back of black and white photos that were found in a box to the best of her memory.

The old faded photos were from different generations. There were photos of when my father was young in the ’50’s playing outdoors on metal tricycles & climbing up hills of mud. There were photos of my grandparents in England where my grandfather was based, loaned to the RAF during the war. There were even some photos of when my grandmother was younger still in the later stages of the Great Depression in the Canadian Prairies. Going back even further they were photos that were beyond her memories.

I have always noticed though the difference between the posed shot and the instant, unplanned photograph. In my mind there is nothing as powerful as a solar powered smile. A smile created from playing outdoors where you are having a grand time and not worried about when the flash will go off or whether your shirt is properly tucked in.

Most of the indoor shots seemed posed, with frontal images – everyone looking at the camera which means no interaction. Beyond comments like, “she has your nose” there is little conversation instilled when perusing them.

The most powerful photos I find seem to be outdoors and involve interaction and play. Going through these old photos with my own children I recognize that many of the activities being done are now dangerous close to being lost to my own children’s generation.

I’ve seen tell of some folk fighting back and bringing in examples of old fashion play. Some schools are even creating lists of recess type games from generations past such as Woodlands Junior School in Kent seems to have done. 

You could invite grandparents in to explain concepts perhaps foreign to today’s kids such as cracking conkers or double dutch. Grandparents can explain the rules behind Hot Potato, Crab Soccer, Red Rover or Kick the Can.

I am lucky enough to teach in a Board that has students with backgrounds from all over the world and I would be fascinated to discover how different, or how alike children’s games from around the world are. It’s easy to forget the games we’ve played when we were younger. Even a Google search can be problematic as you may not recall the name of the game or in other cases the name means something completely different. For instance, when I type in “leapfrog” for an image search out of the first 408 images only 7 were of the physical game called leapfrog and all the rest were of the electronic learning system.

So I’ve added a few links for those of us who might need them below:

  1.  Jump Ropes Rhymes
  2. Ball Games
  3. Tag Games

So this week’s challenge is to introduce your students to games of old. Games that create social play, games that teach fairness and conversation. Games that will bring conversations around the holidays between your students and their older relatives.

Perhaps you could even capture a few of those solar powered smiles and send them in the form of cards or greetings for Christmas or hold onto them until another special family related day. Now that would lead to inter-generational conversation!

Good Luck

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