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Best of 2013: 5 Ways Kids Inspired Us Through Play

Students, schools, and communities get stronger when we all reconnect with the spirit of play.


I have long been a believer in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid. But this year I noticed an interesting trend: the power of kids playing to bring out the best in all of us. This year more than any I can recall, has had a number of notable moments when a playful and inspiring message from, by or about kids, has gone viral. Here are five of the most notable:

1. Buddy Benches: Second-grader Christian Bucks worried about his classmates standing alone on the sidelines at recess. So he brought the buddy bench to his school. If a student is feeling lonely, they can sit on the bench, and another student will know to come ask them to play. "We show we care about others when we ask others to play," Christian said. "I also hope that new friendships will be made because of the buddy bench." Christian's story has been shared thousands of times inspiring buddy benches in other schools across the country.

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When Play, Inspiration, and Writing Collide You Get NaNoWriMo

Play and inspiration while writing? NaNoWrimo participants post wildly caffeinated rants about plots gone astray and characters who have run amok.

My first novel, Recess Rules, went to press last week. It's the story of four friends who save recess at their school with the help of an angel-on-probation named Clarence—both in homage to It's a Wonderful Life and the parks and recreation coordinator from my Washington, D.C., childhood playground.

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Building the Schools Our Children Deserve

Students who have choice, roles, and a voice at school are excited about attending.

Woody Allen is attributed with the saying that "showing up is 80 percent of life," and while not usually recognized as educational philosopher, it may be that he is on to something when we consider what it takes to build schools that work.

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