Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Frontmatter

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Foreword

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

Anna Beresin’s analysis of the play life of children on the playground is a bit like reading about the Marxist revolution or even more powerfully about seeing the proletariat fighting for its rights while being slaughtered by the governing classes. In my thirty years as a university doctoral supervisor in psychology, education, and folklore, I have seldom if ever seen such a massive collection of data...

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xii

read more

Introduction: Tensions in an Urban American School Yard

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 3-14

Classic signs of an active children’s culture are all over the Mill School yard.1 Chalk games are not allowed, but painted graffiti ebbs and flows like waves on the freshly repainted school walls. Shoes dangle from the telephone wires above the iron fence. Balls bounce off walls, rocks are thrown onto hopscotches, and singing games...

PART 1. PLAYIN’ AND FIGHTIN’

read more

1. Violence as “The Recess Problem”

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 17-26

Mr. Rumble, an energetic, middle-aged white man, wore professional clothes and sparkled with the energy of someone who was confident in his role as principal. He welcomed me as a fellow professional and became nostalgic for his graduate school days. A man in transition, he allowed me complete access to the school for research purposes. I observed not only the school yard but the cafeteria...

read more

2. Storytelling and Children’s Battles

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 27-38

The children soon realized that they were allowed to say anything in my presence. The fourth-grade boys particularly enjoyed saying curse words and uncensored versions of popular raps into my microphone. Aisha, an expert rope jumper in the generation before Tashi, thought I was a homeless lady—not, she quickly added, because of the way I dressed. In her neighborhood...

PART 2. THE PUSH AND PULL OF ADULT CULTURE

read more

3. The Grown-Ups Giveth, the Grown-Ups Taketh Away: Misunderstanding Gendered Play

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 41-62

In 1992, Mikee Cohen, a popular, pale-faced ten-year-old with dark eyes, was an expert in handball. He heard that I was interviewing children during recess time to ask about their school yard games. He followed me one morning and began to interview me: Mikee: Where are you from? (Do you mean what planet?) Mikee: I know you are from Earth, but really, are you from Israel or someplace?...

read more

4. “Nike, Nike, Who Can Do the Nike?”: New Commercialization and Scripted Exploitation

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 63-76

At the Mill School, rope almost always meant double-dutch jump rope. A rich African American street tradition, rope links children to each other and to moves and phrases absorbed as common culture. Two players turn two long ropes (or one laundry line doubled over) and rhythmically rotate them eggbeater style. The jumper must skillfully leap in between as the two ropes beat their rhythm...

read more

5. Restricted Movement in a Scripted World

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 77-85

The school yard is tense at times: “They always beat us [to the door].” “I’m first, first.” “Second!” “What time is it? Third!” “Aw, I’m gonna be last.” “You got to call it.” “You got to call it quick.” First! Second! Places erases! No, reverse it down. Ace, ace, first, second...

PART 3. PLAY AND CHILDREN’S CULTURE

read more

6. “Work That Body, Oddy, Oddy”: Lessons from “Old School” Rhymes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 89-114

Traditions serve as a form of advocacy. In 2004, Tashi eyed me with her brown doe eyes, stood up a little taller, and marked her steps in place as she sang her favorite rope games without a rope: the one the school provided was too short, too stiff, and unusable for double-dutch. She sang loudly and strongly...

read more

7. Keywords of the Playground

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 115-126

My initial study of the Mill School was never intended to be longitudinal, but I kept going back. After starting out as a study of ethnic diversity, my project shifted to focus on culture change. Like most folklorists, I sought to examine the uniqueness of the location and the variants that could be recorded—the songs, the stories, the moves...

read more

8. Play and Paradox

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 127-134

Theorists have been fighting over what play is and is not as educators dispute what is or is not a worthwhile activity for children. For years, writers have argued that we do not know quite what play is, but we all recognize it when we see it.1 Sadly, this is not the case. But documentation—film, audio, painting, and even recollection...

read more

Conclusion: Wrestling with the School Yard

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 135-140

When the Mill School’s teachers saw the videos of their school yard, several remarked that the children “were just being good for the camera.” After I assured the teachers that the children were just as busy and kind-spirited when the camera was obscured from view, they became nostalgic about childhood and curious about what the children were singing...

read more

Postscript: Screaming Culture

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 141-143

December 9, 2004. I am back at the Mill School with new paintbrushes, india ink, and reams of paper. When I tell Ms. Headley’s third-grade class that we will be doing art together, they say, “With paints?” When I answer “Yes,” they wiggle and giggle and ooh and ahh. Ms. Headley has already somberly escorted them from the auditorium...

APPENDIXES

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 144-145

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 146-152

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 153-163

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 164-168