I had a conversation one Friday afternoon with another first grade teacher. I said that I reserved the last 20-30 minutes of our day for 'free choice', basically play time. She said that was what she had planned to do, but was rethinking it because the students had been behaving poorly.
I think often of the fine lines we walk as teachers. They are everywhere. This is one I have been struggling with a lot lately (as a parent as well). When children are having trouble listening, sitting still, following directions, yadda, yadda, yadda, what is the best response for us to have? Should we take away privileges in order to get them to get it together? Or should we make that time for play because it is important?
Sometimes a play break might help students refocus. They might be exhausted (quite likely by Friday afternoon) and truly unable to control themselves the way we want.
I have stopped taking recess away from students for any reason. I stopped it years ago.
How do we know what is best for kids?