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We discuss pains and gains in education with real people in real classrooms while they teach us new games to play with students.

Episode 02

Angela Wildermuth


The TWS video team visited Tower Grove Park in St. Louis to meet up with Angela, founder and director of Wilderkids Urban Forest School. Not only do we learn about her program, but her bravery to step out and make the changes she wanted to see in education. 


The Game:

Angela and I enjoyed freely exploring the snow covered park. We found some snow people who invited us to come play before the snow melts. We also enjoyed some good old fashion stick play! 


Interview Takeaways:

  • Urban Forest school is not limited to the trees and naturally growing landscape, anything goes in the wild city!

  • When children are free to play in open-ended spaces, they engage all senses and build lasting connections 

  • Our youth deserve respect and love from adults in their lives 

  • Children should jump in all the puddles, they have the rest of their lives to stay clean

  • How can we help schools incorporate more free play into their day

  • If you feel passionate about a gap you see in education, don't be afraid to take the first steps to make your impact

  • Angela's Inspiration:


Sign Off:

Visit Angela's website to learn more about her program and to check out her Adventure Map Book full of wild spaces to explore in St. Louis with your family or students. 

There is always more to unpack with each episode! We want to continue the conversation, so comment on the YouTube video to share your important insight!


Episode 01

Dawnavyn James


The TWS video team visited Columbia, Missouri to meet with kindergarten teacher Dawnavyn James. She shows up as her authentic self to the classroom each day and intentionally highlights the voices of her students to make sure their true selves are seen as well.  


The Game:

Dawnavyn taught me how to play a game called Poison. Poison is a game of logic and strategy. Partners face off to be the last player standing by taking turns removing either one or two manipulatives from a pile of 13. The goal of the game is to force the other play to take the LAST one (because it is poisonous).   


CLICK HERE to visit a website that has a printable version of this game for easy playing wherever you are. 


Interview Takeaways:

  • Schools should be places where students and teachers can feel comfortable being themselves 

  • More inclusive curriculum would benefit schools and students

  • If more people of color were represented in our teaching communities we would be a stronger community 

  • Trust your teacher gut

  • Highlight the strengths of the students in your classroom in visual ways often

  • Build up that book collection… or find the teacher who has one! 


What’s In the Box:

I surprised Dawnavyn with a box full of poker chips (a thrift store find!). We brainstormed all of the ways we can use them with our young, tactile learners.

  1. Sorting

  2. Grouping

  3. Hide and Seek

  4. Stacking

  5. Estimation


Sign Off:

Dawnavyn highlights the voices of her deaf students each day by saying goodbye as a classroom community using ASL. 


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