The Colorful Classroom: Why Middle School Needs More Play to Flourish

The Colorful Classroom: Why Middle School Needs More Play to Flourish

When it comes to education, there’s a crucial ingredient that’s slipping through the cracks: play. Studies have shown that a severe lack of playtime for the younger ones can lead to developmental delays, and this got me thinking—aren’t our middle schoolers facing a similar situation?

In a world where children are often pushed swiftly from toddlerhood to full time students, we forget that play is an essential part of learning, even for those in middle school. The truth is, these students are still just kids, and we have a responsibility to remember that. They’re at least six to eight years from adulthood, and let’s be honest, even 18-year-olds are often just adult-ish.

This very realization is why Beyond the Worksheet was born. I found myself trapped in a monotonous cycle of churning out answer keys for endless worksheets, devoid of color and life. It struck me: what if we could blend learning with play? What if those mundane worksheets could become a canvas for creativity and movement?

That’s when I introduced color into the equation. The transformation was remarkable. Engagement levels soared, grades improved, and classroom management became a breeze. It turns out that when middle schoolers, who might claim they’re “too old to color,” are given the chance, they dive right into the task, meticulously bringing vibrancy to their work.

But why color, especially at this stage? Adult coloring books have soared in popularity for good reason. They’re not just about art; they’re about providing a mental break, a stress reliever, and a way to express oneself. They also help improve focus and motor skills. With the rigorous math standards today, allowing middle schoolers a few minutes to color can significantly impact their academic performance and mindset.

In conclusion, it’s high time we re-evaluate our educational strategies. Let’s infuse more color and play into our middle school classrooms, not just for the sake of fun, but to foster an environment where educational growth is natural and stress-free. After all, a colorful classroom is a thriving classroom.

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Lindsay

Hi, I'm Lindsay!

I create ready to go resources for middle school math teachers, so they can get back what matters most – their time!

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