Congratulations to Mr. Knopp, this month’s Playworks Educator of the Month. Mr. Knopp teaches third grade at Siefert Elementary School where he always participates in Playworks class game time and recess, even when it is not his assigned day. Mr. Knopp demonstrates healthy play and encourages students to play Ro Sham Bo (rock, paper, scissors) whenever conflict arises.
Mr. Knopp excels at teaching kids respect through play. For instance, whenever he plays games with the kids, he constantly gives them high fives and words of encouragement when they do well and even when they might make a mistake. His positive interactions with the kids during recess teaches them how to respect both the game and each other while playing.
In addition, Mr. Knopp never tells anyone that they cannot play in a game. Rather, he encourages all kids to play. His game of choice at recess is 3-line basketball and he strives to make sure that the kids utilize teamwork in their play. Even if a student is not the best player out there, he encourages them to play and keeps giving them the ball so that they feel included in the game. Concluding each round, he gives high fives to every student who just played in the game.
“Mr. Knopp is like a big kid,” says Coach Atoi, Program Coordinator at Siefert. “He even gives his students brain breaks when they need them. I have walked in the classroom quite a few times and the kids are up dancing or doing some cheer that they learned from Playworks. Even though his kids are only in the third grade, he talks to them about being Junior Coaches next year and what it really means to be a leader, which shows that he really wants these kids to succeed!"