42 answers

Teacher Taking Away Recess

So my question is this:
My kids elementary school has a "reading program" where every book has a certain amount of points that can be earned when they take a test on the book they read.
In my daughters class, they have 3 levels of points they can get 8 points for bronze, 10 for silver and 12 for gold.
My daughter has not yet reached any of the above goals, and is therefor denied recess and has to sit and read instead.
The thing is, you have to get to gold to get to go to recess, so I'm not really following the whole point of even counting the other 2.
What upsets me more is that she is missing out on her recess, a time to relax and have fun with her friends and take a break from the class room. Granted she gets to go outside to read, but only to sit and watch her friends play from afar.
My question is a multiple one: Is this legal to do in California (deny recess)? Have you had this happen to your kids? What did you do?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My son is very physically active, so when I found out he was missing recess for not finishing his centers on time, I was very concerned. Missing recess seems to affect his entire life. :) I emailed his teacher. I talked with my son about why he thought he was having trouble finishing his centers and then brainstormed with his teachers ways to help him finish. Even though I was not certain that what his teachers required of him was within his ability, I acted as if I felt that way when I spoke with them. I actually found that they were interested in helping him to accomplish the work. One of the teachers suggested I set up some kind of reward at home for when he finishes his work. At first I didn't want to do that, but gave it a try anyway. My son chose fruit snacks after school as his reward for days that he finishes centers. I was amazed at how well that worked for him! Now he only misses recess once or twice a month and he is much happier.

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NO NO NO!!!! I would be there this afternoon for a conference! I LOVE to read, and we all know how extremely important it is, but to punish a kid with reading is to ruin it forever. Plus, I am a BIG recess advocate. Kids need recess -desperately. They need to unwind, get some exercise, etc.

Make SURE you discuss the reading program and how it's tied to their grade. Is it Accelerated Reader or a different one? I've never taught at a school or witnessed a school that tied the program to the grade. Yes, in most places you can get bonus points or extra credit, but even if a child never reaches a goal in it, their grade and school experience should not be impacted.

I'm not sure of the legality of it, but I would not stand for it. I would have such a fit they would be delighted to turn them all out for recess immediately to shut me up! I would mention the legality of it when I went to the school today though, and go ahead and call your school board member to start that process.

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Wow if there was ever a way to make a chile HATE reading than this is surely IT. Have you talked to the teacher about this? I would not be ok with this AT ALL. Even adults have mandated rest periods and kids, especially younger ones need recess in order to take break and e ready for more learning afterwards! If a discussion with the techer does not do it, take your concerns to the principal. Also look up your school districts rules on recess.
I would consider pulling my child from a school that does not promote joy for learning... sure sometimes things are hard, but making a kid HATE to learn is NOT the answer.
Good luck.

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Recess is a necessary part of the day for elementary school children, not a privilege that needs to be earned. I would start with telling the teacher that while you appreciate her goal, this punitive use of recess is NOT working for your daughter. Rather than encourage her to finish her reading, it de-motivates her, isolates and ostracizes her, turns what it already a struggle (reading) into a punishment that will have her form an even more negative view of reading and you are requesting that she stop this practice for your daughter. If she reacts that she can't change the rule for just your child, then tell her that she can then change it for the whole class or you will go over her head to whoever you need to, but your daughter WILL be playing and relaxing at recess.

Then, of course, you have to address the underlying problem with reading but first, get her playing and relaxing outside. All kids need that break to socialize, burn energy and do their best.

Here's a summary of your state's code of education that addresses recess - of note is the line: "to provide daily recess periods for elementary school pupils, featuring time for unstructured but supervised play." Perhaps mentioning this to the teacher will get him or her to back down immediately.

Ed.Code 33350:

33350. The State Department of Education shall do all of the
following:

(c) Encourage school districts offering instruction in
kindergarten and any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to the extent that
resources are available, to provide quality physical education that
develops the knowledge, attitudes, skills, behavior, and motivation
needed to be physically active and fit for life; to provide daily
recess periods for elementary school pupils, featuring time for
unstructured but supervised play; to provide extracurricular physical
activity and fitness programs and physical activity and fitness
clubs; and to encourage the use of school facilities for physical
activity and fitness programs offered by the school, public park and
recreation districts, or community-based organizations outside of
school hours.

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I substitute teach and have at the same school for 10 yrs.

We take recess away for discipline issues and work completion. If children are not finished with their work during class either by wasting time, just not doing the work, or need assistance then they sit in at recess to do the work. A teacher is there to help them with this work if needed.

They have the choice to behave and to get the work done... They know the consequence of not following the rules (no recess)

They do ALL go to PE for a 45 minute period.

Afterschool tutoring is provided FREE at the school for the children to work in small groups with the teacher. There are also reading programs afterschool FREE. Another option is private tutoring.

Maybe she should also work one on one with you to boost her reading skill level.

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The important question is why is she behind in her reading? Why isn't she reading books at home? She should be reading her books at home and taking the tests at school. Why are other kids able to meet requirements and your daughter is not?

At my kids' school, kids have to stay in for recess when they are behind on their work. If your daughter needs reading help, then you should either ask the school to provide a tutor or pay for outside tutoring yourself.

Yes, by all means talk to the teacher, but to ask her what your daughter should be doing to meet her requirements and what you can do to help her.

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Call the School board. Talk to the Principal. This is harmful to your child.
I don't like school bullies called teachers. She knows full well children need exercise to keep their brains chugging along. She could lose her credential.

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I doubt it's illegal and would add, is your school one where it's tough to get into and therefore they want to keep the standards really high? I don't mind that so much and would actually prefer if more schools cracked down. If she hasn't read up to where she is suppose to be, my question is.. is this reading suppose to have happened at home and if so, why isn't it being done? my son MUST read 100 mins every week, which I think isn't much. Then, he is suppose to turn in a reading log of which he must summarize what he read. IF it's not done.. he gets NO recess... I think there has to be consequences .. My son LOVES his recess so he knows. no reading.. no recess... Do I complain NO.. I know children need the discipline.. Also, I know it's my responsibility to make him do his reading.. if he didn't , I would feel very guilty for doing my parental job...(as I see it)

Get her to do that reading.. it's so essential.. if she is having a tough time, then see if tutoring is available.. the kids need to learn strong habits while they are young..

good luck

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Help her read more. However, taking away the only time the kids have in a day to be kids is unacceptable. It should be used only as punishment.

My daughter's teacher had threatened to do it earlier this year and I set him straight on my views immediately. My daughter is to go straight to the office if she is in trouble for something stupid (me not signing her agenda) and call me. Recess should not be used as a pawn. It doesn't have to be earned.

And funny how they talk about kids not getting enough exercise, but then they have to read when they could be running? I don't get it.

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In our school the AR program is also sometimes frustrating but they do not take away recess. They have pizza parties or some other kind of party and the kids that do not reach the minimum level do not get to participate. It is a gentle consequence.

Since your child is getting to go outside and at least soak up the rays I believe the school is within their rights to limit her activities outside.

She needs to read. In Oklahoma they are passing laws now that state a child who does not read at the minimum level must be held back until they are up to the level required.

So, even if a child is exceptional in every topic except reading they will flunk grade after grade. They have a plan on how to assist that child to make their levels BUT in the meantime they will hold them back. The idea is that if a child is not able to read at the minimum level for their age they would fail at the work in the next grade. A person must be able to read to succeed.

Perhaps being glad they are withholding play time and not flunking her because she doesn't like to read is the better option.

She needs to be reading and taking the tests every day to catch up. You may want to have her vision evaluated to see if she has processing issues. My grandson had to use glasses like the ones that Nicholas Cage used in "National Treasure" to read the secret codes on the back of the Declaration of Independence. He would flip a lens this way then another one that way and read page after page of practice reading. Then he would put a colored sheet over the text to read the books he was reading. This retrained his brain to process information from his eyes and now he doesn't even use glasses anymore.

You may want to consider Learning Styles. You can google it and do the little questionnaires with her. I am a visual learner and an audio learner. I do not do well with reading to learn a topic. I get more information in my long term memory by hearing it or seeing someone demonstrate it. I worked with one lady who was a written learner. She rewrote every memo, every discussion, everything got written down in her little notebook. If it wasn't in that book it didn't happen.

Schools teach by visual and audio, they don't know how to teach many of the other learning ways. If she learns another way then perhaps you reading the book to her will help her, if she is an audio learner. If she is a written learner then after reading a page she needs to write down what she read. There are lots of ways of finding how to do this. Just think about ways to help her process what she is reading differently.

I hope you can get her reading more books and testing better. She will only succeed more the better she is able to read and process what she is reading.

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My sons school they will stay in from recess if they need to complete work that either they didnt complete during school time or if they rushed thru it which I am ok with. The kids know that if they don't finish work or if they dont live up to there potental they will lose recess time. I am ok with that since i do believe kids need to be held accountable for there work. I am a bit dishearted that you are already looking at legal issue and also that others are suggesting to go to the principal or school board have you simply spoken with your childs teacher? I believe strongly in having a relationship with the teacher if the two of you cant come to some sort of understanding then you move forward to higher heads. Is this reading program something that is school related only or is this something that they work on at home also? If its mainly school related maybe ask if its ok if your child can work with it at home also instead of losing recess?

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I don't know if this is legal, but I think it is not healthy for the child in the long run. After all, kids in elementary school are still young and need to run around/ play in order to develop healthily. Perhaps you could talk to teacher about this. Maybe allow her to bring a book home to read instead of reading it during recess. Are there any other children in the same boat? If there are, you could talk to their parents as well, see what the parents can do to help.

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I am the head playground monitor for my child's school. I do not know if a law is being broken but here are my thoughts. At our school benching a child during a short morning recess is common for poor behavior after warnings but even then, lunch time recess isn't taken away, except in extreme circumstances. I believe allowing a child to take a break and burn off steam is imperative to learning and good teachers know this. I question how much reading your child is even capable of while distracted by others playing. Can you imagine how productive we'd be if we were allowed breaks at work, but then expected to perform certain duties while on those breaks? I think you should voice your concerns with your child's teacher and if that doesn't get you the resolve you need, take it to the principal. The fact that your daughter hasn't been able to reach the first reading level might indicate a problem that hasn't been addressed. Punishing her seems counter productive. Poor child.

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This happened to my older daughter at one school. It is STUPID! They NEED recess!! What the child needed was a special reading program, which we enrolled her in at our expense. And luckily, we moved to a different school district.
P.S. The daughter became an avid reader, but no thanks to school #1.

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Can she read the books at home and does she?
Reading is a skill and it takes practice.
If she reads enough at home she should be able to take the book tests at school, pass with a gold and take recess with everyone else.
How are the other kids managing to get golds and keep recess?
Seems to me you should be more concerned with her reading skills and less worried about fun with friends at school.
Fun with friends is a 'nice to have' but it's not the main purpose of school.
She may not even know many of these friends 20 years from now but reading will serve her well the rest of her life.

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Does she read after school? Do you read to her? Is she getting the concept of the material? Our school they read in school but are assigned reading times for after school based on their age. If she isn't reading at home at all or just a bit she may be exchanging recess for not having homework. Most school districts and states tie the teachers hands with what the kids need to accomplish in the time available. So it does seem like the teachers are squeezing the kids. Play time is important but so are the academics so make sure before being accusatory that you know why she is being held inside does she need help with reading? Is she not doing enough at home? Does she do anything to avoid it or daydream? I love my kids and will always defend them but I make sure my defense is as flawless as possible as I know my kids halo's are a bit tarnished.

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Take away the legal stuff and let's simply talk about your child's needs. She NEEDS to have the time to go outside, run off energy and keep blood flowing to brain and anyone who knows the very minimal about how children's brains work should know this! I would immediately go to the school principal and tell her that you insist that this teacher NOT take away recess from your child. You really do not want to overstep your boundries and take away all options from the teacher, but certainly, if she is a teacher who is at all educated, she must know that every child needs that time during the day to run off physical energy and get her brain energized for the rest of the day. Give the teacher the option that if your child does not meet her requirements, that YOU will take on the responsibility of making sure that additional reading will be done at home on your time to ensure that she is striving for the teacher's standards.

I also think it is important to recognize that by "punishing her" by not allowing her to play during recess even though she can sit outside and read, what instead this teacher is drilling her in brain is a hate for reading. A previous poster stated that someone who is a good reader in 20 years will be important, and this poster couldn't be more correct but I take exception with how this teacher is trying to accomplish this. Under NO circumstances should a teacher make doing homework, reading, studying ANYTHING, a consequence. That will only accomplish one thing...a child's dislike for learning. THAT will not serve her well in twenty years!

(I must also add that I am not one of "those" parents who is easy on my kids, low standards, etc. I am also one who fully supports teachers, but have to take a stand when it comes to bad teaching practices).

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I doubt it's illegal, but I would have a conversation about whether or not this is a productive use of the child's time. Recess is beneficial to children on many levels - they stretch, they play, they interact with peers. I understand the punishment POV, but is it really promoting reading? Further, if there's an issue with your child, is it that she needs help at home, that she needs to learn to prioritize her time, etc., you need to know that, too.

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Can you read with her at home to get her caught up? - Our kids get denied recess as disciplinarian issues arise with the whole class or some individuals.

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Recess is an important part of the day for elementary school kids. They need to get outside and run around. Being cooped up sitting at a desk all day is NOT the way to get them to learn. Forcing them to read is NOT the way to get them to become lifelong readers and learners. I also think a 'reward' system is ridiculous - it discourages kids from developing their own internal motivation to learn. And apparently in this situation has completely backfired. I would talk to the teacher. If I got nowhere, the principal, then the superintendent, etc. And of course taking away recess should NOT be used as punishment. Punishing kids by taking away their time to exercise?

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When my youngest--a very active little boy--was in early primary grades, his teachers would constantly take away recess and then BMW (B***h, moan, whine) about how he wouldn't settle down in class. My first question was always, "Did you let him run around at recess?" When the answer was no, I'd patiently explain that very active little boys have a hard time settling down when they don't get a chance to run around and get the fidgets out. Punishment is all well and good (and I offered many suggestions) but denying recess only makes their job harder. Some teachers "got" it; most didn't. Interestingly, the older the teacher was, the less this concept was understood. Go figure.

When I had concerns with my son's teachers, I would start with a friendly email or phone call asking for the "teacher" side of the story. As a veteran teacher myself, I try to remember there's probably more to the story than what I'm seeing/hearing from my kid. But, if the teacher's story didn't pass muster, I would politely challenge it and stick to my guns until I either understood the teacher's logic OR I got a more workable solution for my child. Sometimes this worked in the first round of emails/discussion and sometimes the situation required meetings with the principal. On one occasion, it required switching my son out of a teacher's class.

The one thing I never did was walk in guns blazing. No one appreciates that approach, whatever their job. If I had to take the conversation to a higher level of intensity, I did so after research and classroom observation. Yes, I spent many of my free "prep" periods watching my son's classroom in action or, when I wasn't teaching, spending my lunch break in his classroom. That was always very enlightening AND it gave us a lot of muscle with the principal (if it went that far) because we were speaking from personal observation, rather than assumptions and hearsay.

Good luck finding a better solution for your daughter.

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No this has not happened to either of my kids, but I know that our elementary school does sometimes take away recess for kids who waste time and do not do their work when they are supposed to be doing it.

I am not saying your daughter is a time-waster. If she stays on task and is trying her best, she shouldn't be punished.

Why don't you meet with the teacher? Find out what your daughter has to do to catch up in her reading and focus on getting her all the help she needs to get there. Commit yourself to helping her read at home. I'm not a fan of the consequence, but I would be way more concerned about her falling behind in reading than losing recess.

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Wow! I'd have a holy cow! I decided to homeschool because I was sick of all of the stupid rules that people just make up....and my son hated school....probably for the same reason! My kids are now kids again. They get their homework done by 8 or 9 in the morning...since they start it on their own when they get up (ages 3, 5 and 9). I help them when necessary, but they have the rest of the day to play and be kids. My kids read a lot, but you can find them outside riding bikes, exploring and actually being kids. Recess is a HUGE part of a healthy balance. I would freak if my kid was denied recess due to some rule the teacher made up. Why does our school system think it's ok to have kids inside most of the day and then send them home with 1-3 hours of homework? The poor kids next door have an hour to play before it gets dark once they get home from school, have a snack, do their homework. What are the kid learning all day if they need to come home and do the same amount of homework after school, that we do all day?

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Not sure about California law, I doubt it's illegal though. If your dd is able to do reading at home to catch up, this is something you could help her with. As far as recess, there is much research out there about how running around helps not only with allowing the kids to get their excess energy out so they can concentrate, but running around and playing also helps with brain development.

It doesn't sound like you have talked with your teacher yet, and that would be the first step. Rather than thinking about whether or not this is legal, I think you'd be better off taking it to the school administration if you don't get results from the teacher.

See an article here regarding the benefits of recess, perhaps send this to your teacher/principal:

http://www.eduguide.org/library/viewarticle/1512

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I have not read all the answers. But I will say that when I was teaching (4 years ago) I did take away recess from children who did not 'earn their points.' We did AR exams on the computer. The children who lost their recess did-so not because they didn't reach some outrageous goal. They didn't try. They would skim over a book and then take the test and fail. Or they'd watch the movie and then take the test and fail.

As a parent now, looking back, perhaps I should have had a different punishment for them. In school though, there is really only so much we can use as rewards/punishments. Often, giving a punishment (like lunch alone) requires extra work from already-over-stressed teachers, so we do with what we can to try to motivate the students (rewards/punishments).

In your daughters situtation, I think you should talk to the teacher about what she thinks could be a resolution to the problem. If your daughter has GREAT retention (makes good grades on the tests) but is just a slow reader, perhaps the teacher could let her have two weeks to earn twice the points instead of one week to earn one weeks-worth.... so that she can select chapter books which are worth more points. If your daughter has POOR retention and is reading book after book after book and just not earing the points, then you and the teacher need to work with her on details, summarization, and retaining what she's read.

Best of luck - talk to the teacher about it. Say something like "I know that for you, it's just 'recess' but for my daughter, it's her only time to socialize with her friends.... Can we come up with another punisment? Or do you think her points/timing could be adjusted?" (In my classroom, some students were given a different goal. Most kids had to earn lets say 3 points a week. Some, my LD and dyslexic kids, had to earn 2. What was amazing was when my dyslexic kiddo would go out of his way to try to earn 3 too.)

Added: I am reading some answers. YAY Lynn E! Love this answer.

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I think you can deny recess. Because when kids get in trouble they take away recess. And, really think that is silly-the kids that are getting in trouble are the ones that need to run around and burn off their energy.

CA needs to funnel more $ into schools. Classroom size is too big. period. for these little guys.

Are you working on reading at home? That will help her in school quite a bit.

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Sounds like a perfect way to turn a child off from reading.

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I would check on the legality of this. Sitting on a bench for recess because of a behavior issue is one thing, but this is ridiculous.

And even if it were legal, I would have a conversation with the teacher and principal, followed by a letter of confirmation, where I tell them that my daughter will NOT miss recess because of this book/point thing. If they want to insist, if I were a SAHM, I would show up every day just before recess, take my daughter out of class, and return her right after recess. Again, my child would NOT miss recess because of this.

Children need the down time to regroup and rejuvenate. That's why recesses and lunch breaks are timed the way they are. Everyone knows that small children can only concentrate for so long before they need a break. They are not doing themselves or your daughter any favors and as far as I can see they are being pecuniary!

Step up mom and put your foot down!

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I know i would raise hell. I think physical activity is very important, just as much as reading.

Talk to he princible because denying recess is usually for behavior issues and by law they have to have so many hours of recess time to classroom time, kids have to release energy to be able to be in class and concetrate. Your daughter should not miss recess because she struggles in this area, and her teacher is going to make her hate reading and you don't want that. J.

I have no idea why you might think that would be illegal. I'm 99.9% sure that the law is concerned about bigger things than whether a kid has to read during recess, but it doesn't seem like a great way to motivate kids to read. Of course, I was the kid who chose to sit and read at recess...

I think the best solution would be to work hard with your daughter at home to get her to gold as soon as possible.

Legal or not, children need to run around and burn off some energy so they can focus when they return to class. Does the teacher allow time for reading in class? Has the teacher spoken with you about helping her read at home? Or did she/he just decide to take away recess? Ugh! I am sure you are going to talk with the teacher and I hope she/he listens to your suggestions to help your daughter be successful. Guidance...not punishment! Wishing you luck!

Updated

Legal or not, children need to run around and burn off some energy so they can focus when they return to class. Does the teacher allow time for reading in class? Has the teacher spoken with you about helping her read at home? Or did she/he just decide to take away recess? Ugh! I am sure you are going to talk with the teacher and I hope she/he listens to your suggestions to help your daughter be successful. Guidance...not punishment! Wishing you luck!

I didn't read all the other answers. But I can tell you that teacher is doing your child a horrible disservice. She doesn't understand kids at all, and has everything backwards. More reading should not be a punishment for someone who is obviously not a voracious reader or isn't a strong reader yet. Not reading/performing at a certain level should NOT be punished. That teacher needs to go back to school herself and take a class on child development.
I'd go straight to the prinicpal and let them know what is going on. Your child NEEDS recess, they are a CHILD! Study after study shows the benefits of exercise for improving mental clarity and learning. The worst thing about schools these days is how little the kids get to breathe fresh air, run around, and decompress and just do what kids are wired to do, learn at their own pace.
I never thought I would do this, but I am now homeschooling my kids. I have had enough of stifling learning environments. My kids get breaks every time they complete an assignment at home, even if it's just a small break to get some wiggle room. They are so much happier and healthier and are learning so much more at home. I would encourage you to consider homeschooling, I would encourage anyone to consider homeschooling really. But if that isn't even on the radar, at the very least get your kid a different teacher, or get them in a different school that will help her develop a love of learning, not hatred of nonsensical rules.

I know that states have differing laws that deal with the amount of PE time (which includes "recess") that students have access to. I am in NC and there are laws that stipulate the time as well as the activities that are allowable. Recess as you and I know it is actually NOT an allowable activity here. We must provide "structured" PE time (a game, walking, exercises, etc.). If we choose to provide extra time for "free play" or "recess" that is solely up to us.

We would take the "free play" or "recess" time away if students did not have completed work or were a behavioral problem, but we HAD to provide the structured PE to them regardless of work or behavior. If we had students who were behavior problems and we were playing a game, we would make those students walk laps instead.

Your daughter shouldn't be "punished" for a "reading program" if she is participating by reading and completing the tests, regardless of the number of points she is making. The point of these "reading programs" and the incentives is to make reading fun and a desirable venture, not to make it a chore or something that gets in the way of enjoying a well-deserved break from the school day. Many incentives that I've seen revolve around "extra" activities like a pizza party or a movie.

These are my thoughts and opinions as an educator. I would definitely look into the laws and approach the teacher and administrator about the program and what other incentives may work better to encourage the students to read. I would rather have my child miss out on a pizza party than miss out on physical activity and some "free time" that I feel is much needed.

my suggestion is to first talk to the teacher and make sure that what your daughter is telling you is the actual program. does she deny recess or do they get to "EARN" an extra recess playtime by doing certain things?

in our grandchilds room the teacher has a 2 bowls on the desk one is for good stuff one is for holding the marbles. there are marbles in them. when the kids do good stuff (extra reading / great on tests etc) she moves a marble from the holding jar to the good jar. when the jar gets full they get to have a half hour "party" at the end of the day the next week. kids get to wear pj's to school and have a slug fest where they just basically lounge around, read and play games for the last half hour. the kids work hard for it. but not getting it doesn't mean they are being denied it.

I am sure that you have checked into this but if not I would check to make sure that your fully aware of how it is actually working. Sometimes kids have a skewed sense of how something is working.

Can she not meet the reading goals at home? That is usually how it is done here.

Recess is taken away here too, usually for behavior issues... but every now and then it gets out of control. My nephews teacher actually punished the entire class and none of them got recess simply because a few kids' parents didn't return some stupid form they were supposed to sign. A lot of teachers uses recess punishment for banal discipline tactics, and it isn't right.

I think you have to find the medium between the importance of reading and the need to have periods of activity during the day....
Unless you have already talked to the teacher I would not just go to the pricipal and school board just yet. Request a meeting with the teacher... find out the root of your daughter reading issues. Is it that she can do it... but is not completing the assignements on time? IF that is the case then she does need consequences and she needs to complete her work. Perhaps you and the teacher can come up with something more appropriate. If she is struggling with reading and needs extra help than punishing her is only setting her up to hate reading and hopefully the teacher can see this and work with you to set up somethings you can do at home to help her out.
i think too many times we accidently set up us/them fights with teacher rather than be their partners in our kids education. Unless I missed part of the story... give the teacher a chance and work with her. and don't bad mouth her to you child.... she has to respect her even if she does not like her.
Of course if the teacher refuses.... and will not work with you... by all means unleash the mama bear ;-)

Updated

I think you have to find the medium between the importance of reading and the need to have periods of activity during the day....
Unless you have already talked to the teacher I would not just go to the pricipal and school board just yet. Request a meeting with the teacher... find out the root of your daughter reading issues. Is it that she can do it... but is not completing the assignements on time? IF that is the case then she does need consequences and she needs to complete her work. Perhaps you and the teacher can come up with something more appropriate. If she is struggling with reading and needs extra help than punishing her is only setting her up to hate reading and hopefully the teacher can see this and work with you to set up somethings you can do at home to help her out.
i think too many times we accidently set up us/them fights with teacher rather than be their partners in our kids education. Unless I missed part of the story... give the teacher a chance and work with her. and don't bad mouth her to you child.... she has to respect her even if she does not like her.
Of course if the teacher refuses.... and will not work with you... by all means unleash the mama bear ;-)

My son is very physically active, so when I found out he was missing recess for not finishing his centers on time, I was very concerned. Missing recess seems to affect his entire life. :) I emailed his teacher. I talked with my son about why he thought he was having trouble finishing his centers and then brainstormed with his teachers ways to help him finish. Even though I was not certain that what his teachers required of him was within his ability, I acted as if I felt that way when I spoke with them. I actually found that they were interested in helping him to accomplish the work. One of the teachers suggested I set up some kind of reward at home for when he finishes his work. At first I didn't want to do that, but gave it a try anyway. My son chose fruit snacks after school as his reward for days that he finishes centers. I was amazed at how well that worked for him! Now he only misses recess once or twice a month and he is much happier.

I haven't read the othe responses but I think it's wrong. The only time I think it's warranted to take recess is away is for bad behavior. A couple times this year my son didn't get recess b/c he misbehaved and didn't follow the rules. I completely agree with that. However, not giving recess b/c a child isn't performing to the level they want is completely wrong in my opinion!!! Teachers should instill a love of reading in a child, not use it as a threat against something fun. And recess is important to a child's development. Getting exercise and learning to play with others is a vital part of kindergarten. Talk to a principal right away!

Wow! Saying the teacher should lose her credentials over this is harsh. You don't end a person's career over her trying to get a child to read. Maybe she should go about it a different way but sometimes teachers take away the fun things to motivate them to follow through. It's a matter of a simple conference with the teacher. Let's not go overboard and send her to the firing squad...try being an underpaid teacher in an overcrowded class of different abilities and personalities. Maybe you won't be so quick to judge.

I can't answer to the legality, but I think the method is ludicrous. What's the point of the other stars? It should be, if you get a gold star you get something extra, not if you don't get a gold star you get something taken away. I can see the teacher allowing the kids who receive a gold star to maybe getting a little extra time at recess or a certain toy, or some such thing, but to take away recess for kids who are still obtaining bronze & silver stars is just wrong.

E., how often is this happening? If this is happening every recess, every day, then I would say that you need to talk to the teacher about that. Children need to get fresh air and exercise not to mention use the restroom and get a drink of water. However, if it is happening one recess once a week, especially if your daughter is distracted in class, then it might be helpful. If thsi is the case, just be sure to ask if the teacher is allowing her to use the restroom and get a drink of water.

I believe they are breaking State laws. I would check with the principal or district.

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