Tag Archives: fun

Hopscotch — alive and well in 2013

Remember hopscotch? Guess what? It’s still alive and well….at least in our neighborhood. Yesterday we had one of those glorious early spring days that just begs for playing outside in shorts.

Anyway, with temps in the mid-60s, my two favorite next-door neighbor kidlets were busily designing their own hopscotch board on the front sidewalk. I bet them that they couldn’t extend it beyond their property line all the way to our driveway.

The almost-6-year old (he made sure I knew exactly the date on which he turns 6) was drawing the squares and numbering them under his 8-year-old sister’s giggling directions. 2013-03-10 14.23.41

When I asked if I could test it, they looked at me in that dubious way that only children can. After all, in their minds, I’m OLD. My children are MUCH OLDER than them….so old they barely remember them. But being the cheerful kids that they are, they allowed me to take a test hop. 2013-03-10 14.23.532013-03-10 14.23.38

When I reached the final squares, I heard Xavier breathe a sigh of relief. He grinned. “I thought you were going to fall.” Ali giggled. Ahhh, the forthrightness of youth.
He then proceeded to show me the rock they intended to use for their game. Apparently, their version involved throwing the rock on a distant square. If it fell in a square, they could take a turn. Okay, so this is not the version I remember. So what? Are games not designed to be played with whatever rules one chooses to assign?

This is the joy of being a child and having plain old fun on a beautiful sunny afternoon in Ohio. And what better way to do this than by dressing for fun?2013-03-10 14.24.59

Advertisements

Fun is the essence of learning

A few days ago, I sent an e-mail to the students who will be in the feature writing course Fred and I are teaching during fall semester. This time around, we’ve added a photo component to the course — hence, Fred’s participation in teaching. It seemed wise to remind the students that they’ll need to have access to a camera.

With a few weeks until the start of class, I didn’t expect immediate responses to the e-mail; in fact, I apologized up front for interrupting their last few weeks of freedom. Of course, if they’re working, they may see a return to school as freedom.

Within just minutes, I received a response from one student thanking me for the heads-up. His only question was “will we have fun in this course?” Hmmmm. Had to ponder the best way to answer that question….was the point of the course to learn feature writing skills or was it to have fun? My mind backtracked to my days in college with Mary Ann Sullivan and Linda Suter, two of my English profs. Did we have fun?

It took just a few minutes to realize that of course, we’d had fun. That had been a crucial component to learning. Since I was an English major, the courses with the two of them were small — usually fewer than 10 students. Class sessions were filled with laughter, freedom to talk, discuss, argue — and learn. In grammar class, we stood at the board to write out sentences. We learned parts of speech, of the sentence, and mechanics of grammar. Okay, that sounds boring. But for us, it was fun.

Our lit courses were usually held in a small room where we sat around a table, chewing over the meaning of whatever we were reading. Over cans of pop, we argued, discussed and ultimately, we learned.

So…back to the question posed by the feature writing student. Yes, we’ll have fun. We’ll work, we’ll do a lot of writing and rewriting and more rewriting. We’ll take photos and learn to enhance the written word with the visual. We’ll learn the basics of Photoshop and its place in the world of journalism today.

We’ll laugh, we’ll argue, but most of all we’ll learn…all while having fun. Mary Ann and Linda didn’t spend all those days teaching me the importance of fun in learning without the hope that I would someday share that secret with others.