As PE teachers, we have all been there a number of times.....Trying to reach the student that seems unreachable. Attempting to involve them in your class, spark their interest, tap into their strengths, but often times it seems like an impossible task. It can certainly be frustrating when you have many other students that you must teach as well. I would like to share a successful strategy that I have used with two of my students that are often challenging and very tough to reach in PE class. I will first generally describe both students then explain the strategy that I use with them.
-a grade 1 girl
-very bright but extremely reserved
-will not join in on any activity for more than a minute or so
-withdraws suddenly going to hide in corners, behind mats or curtains etc.
-extremely afraid of taking risks
-very difficult to make a connection with and has difficulty reading social cues
-absolutely adores reading (reads at grade 4 level)
In collaboration with our Learning Support department, we created a simple behavior modification program that can be used every PE class. The grade 1 girl must be able to take breaks. Realizing her love of reading and using this as a reward for her better following instructions and, at least, engaging in the activities that we do in PE for a short time, she is allowed to pick certain times in class to go to the bench and read one of the books she has brought with her to class. She is encouraged to rejoin the activities on her own after a few minutes of reading. She is only allowed to read after she has shown that she is following instructions and genuinely engaging herself in PE class. A checklist with 3 simple questions was made up and laminated. After each class, she answers yes or no to the three questions. I use whiteboard marker to check the boxes and make any comments. I will then take a picture of the checklist at the end of each class and add it to a file that I have for her to track her progress. Since day one of using this checklist, she has made a huge improvement in both attitude and level of participation in class. Please see picture below of the checklist dated Dec. 5th.
-a grade 4 boy
-mild form of Asperger syndrome
-poor social skills
-eye contact rarely made
-lagging 2-3 years behind in terms of gross motor control and hand/eye coordination
-often refuses to take part in any physical activity
-hides in corners and suddenly disappears on extended bathroom breaks
-an excellent artist
-always willing to assist teacher with set up and collecting equipment
In collaboration with our Learning Support department, we created a behavior modification program that can be used every PE class. The grade 4 boy has five areas that he has to focus on during each class. These 5 areas are included on a checklist.
Listening to the teacher
Participating in at least one form of exercise each class
Choosing at least 2 activities to engage in (keeping score, researching the sport being done in class on the internet, drawing a picture of some technical aspect of this sport in his Sportfolio, handing out and collecting equipment)
Trying to socialize with classmates at least once during the class (he must try to initiate the dialogue)
Assessing how well he did in the class
As with the grade 1 girl, the checklist is laminated and whiteboard marker is used to make comments and check off how well the boy thinks he did. A picture of the checklist is taken after each class in order to track the boy's progress and as a means to communicate with learning support and his classroom teacher. Please see picture below of checklist dated Dec 13. The boy even made a comment that it was his favorite class of the year, so I quickly jotted that down on the checklist.
Teacher Reflection Question
What strategies do you use to reach students such as this? Please reflect on how you try to reach students like the ones I described above in your classes. If you have had successes, which I am sure many of you have, please share them with me and I will post them on this website for other teachers to see and use. Thanks!!
Although my gymnastics/dance unit will not begin until after the holidays, I had my grade 3 students take part in a pre-unit activity in today's class. This 15-minute activity was invaluable as it was aimed at letting the students really think about what it was that they wanted to learn in the upcoming gymnastics/dance unit. To front load a bit, I showed the students a few dance clips and a Cirque Du Soleil video. I then explained the central idea and lines of inquiry:
Gymnastics and dance allows us to move our bodies in amazing and creative ways
An inquiry into:
-the many ways we can roll, jump, and balance
-how dance and gymnastics can be combined
-the importance of flexibility and strength in gymnastics and dance
At Nanjing International School, we were extremely fortunate to have a great presenter by the name of Kath Murdoch come to our school and give a workshop on the importance of inquiry and the way questions and big ideas can drive curriculum. As Kath states: Why inquiry? Because it......
Is a vehicle for integration of the curriculum
Fosters connected rather than episodic teaching and learning
Caters for a range of learning styles
Is a transferable process
Taps into students' curiosity
Kath stresses how critical it is to allow students ownership of their learning experiences. Bearing these important points in mind, before a unit kicks off, I try my best to introduce the central idea and lines of inquiry and show videos when possible. I will then let the students, in groups, brainstorm what it is they would like to learn during the unit. Once I get this information from them, I build the learning experiences, the best I can, around their suggestions. Please see slide show below of the pre-unit central idea sheets I had them record information on for me. They were completely captivated by Cirque Du Soleil. I will build the unit around elements from Cirque Du Soleil. Let's see where the unit takes us!!!
Over the last few weeks, we have been working on our skills related to Striking & Fielding. As a summative assessment task, I concluded the unit with a striking and fielding game that highlighted all of the skills that we have worked on from week one (Striking, Fielding, Throwing, sometimes kicking etc). The unit so far has been loaded with formative assessment which is enough to evaluate all of the students on however, as a general performance self-assessment, I had the students self-assess themselves in 6 areas:
Striking with a bat
Striking with a cricket bat
Striking with a tennis racket
Kicking (Kickball concept)
We played a final game of 'Crazy Cricket' (see next week's blog), which put into action all of the above skills. Once done the game, the students completed the self-assessment task described above. Also included on the assessment task, they had to:
Draw a picture of their favorite game during the unit
Identify what they did well
Identify what needed to be improved upon.
Please see pictures and examples of student assessment below....
In last week's blog(http://www.pyppewithandy.com/2/post/2011/12/pyp-pe-a-grade-4-summative-assessment-task-for-net-games.html), I introduced a summative assessment task for one of my grade 4 classes. I allowed for the students to drive the summative assessment in this unit as they were allowed to choose how they could be assessed. A couple of days ago, I blogged about the other grade 4 class and the summative assessment task that they chose (Net Games Creation). Today's grade 4 class decided upon what skills that they would like to be assessed on with a partner. They could choose one of the existing skills that I taught them earlier in the unit or they could create their own skills- completely their choice. At the end of last week's class, I recorded the 5 different skills that each group of 2 came up with for the final assessment. Using this information, I created individualized assessment sheets for each group that we used in today's class. For today's assessment task, they had to:
Self-Assess how they felt they did in this summative assessment of Net Games
Describe how they felt the unit went for them
Optional: Make suggestion to me, the teacher, on what I can do to improve the unit for the next's year's grade 4 classes
As well, I left space for a brief comment from me on the final assessment task and unit in general.
I was extremely pushed for time as there was a lot to do and wasn't able to assess all the groups, however, I will allow a wee bit of time at the beginning of next class to complete the remaining few groups that need to be assessed still. Please view slide show below of student work. I feel as though the class went well and the students had more ownership over the way they were assessed in this unit.
As a final assessment for the Target Games unit in grade 1, the students had to complete 4 different tasks showing their overall level of improvement in terms of sending an object toward a target. Inquiry was at work which allowed them to figure out the best means of sending the object (roll, throw, bounce, kick, lob, etc.) They had to:
A)Attempt to knock down a bowling pin with a ball from a distance of about 4 meters
B)Attempt to knock down a bowling pin with a bean bag from same distance
C)Attempt to get ball to stop inside of a hula hoop from same distance
D)Attempt to get bean bag into hula hoop from same distance
Over the past few weeks, we have explored many different ways of knocking a target down or getting an object into a target using various means of delivery. I really kept the unit wide open in regards to how they chose to send the object toward the target. My main aim was to get them thinking, to be active, and let them have some fun. Overall, the unit went well and improvements were made in the way the students aim and send a ball toward a target. Keeping the students engaged, on task, and challenged was my goal during the target games unit which I think that I accomplished.
Please view video below of the summative assessment task and to see the students in action. If you do not have time to watch the video, there is a slide show of student assessment and photos as well. Take your pick!
A Slide Show of Students in Action & Some Examples of Their Assessment
To allow for more inquiry and creativity, I opted to have one of the grade 4 classes, in groups, come up with their own net game as a summative assessment task in PE. Important criteria for their game creation was discussed prior to sending them off in their groups. Ultimately, the aim of the task was for them to teach their game to another group in the class. The game had to:
Include maximum participation
Have specific rules and boundaries
Allow the students to work on net games skills/concepts previously learned in class
Involve formulating some type of strategy in order to be successful
In last week's class the students, in their chosen groups, had to rotate through 4 different stations. At each station there was different equipment. They had to create simple games with rules and boundaries ensuring everyone from their group was involved. Each station lasted roughly 12-15 minutes. Once they rotated through all 4 stations, each group selected a station/game that they enjoyed the best that could be further refined & developed the following class.
In yesterday's class they practiced the game that they had previously selected, working toward refining/modifying the rules in an effort to ensure that they were able to meet the criteria (see criteria in bold from above) laid out before them the week before.
Each group had to teach their game to another group, but also had the opportunity to learn another game.
The Assessment Task
Although seemingly complex, the task itself was completed by all students in under 15 minutes. The requirements of the task were as follows:
A) Circle the group whose game you played
B) Draw and label the equipment necessary to play their game
C) Complete a rubric evaluating the game
D) Describe the skills of their own game
E) Rate how well their group worked together while creating the game
F) Complete a self assessment rubric evaluating their own improvement during the unit
G) Offer suggestions to the teacher how the net games unit could be improved upon for next year's grade 4 class (optional)
Please see slide show below of photos of the class and scanned examples of student work. I scanned both sides of the assessment sheet as there were 2 sides that needed to be completed by each student.
We have all been there as PE teachers......having students from time to time in our classes that don't like to put in effort, mess around, and are not that focused. When I have students like this who step it up and really start to put in effort, I like to recognize it right away. The boy in the picture, has really done well over the past few classes. His eyes lit up today when he got this recognition and I am hopeful that his high level of effort will continue. I find that posting these recognition awards for the learner profile really serve to motivate my students.
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I believe that there are ample opportunities to genuinely connect Maths into the PE lessons that we teach. Maths integration is very worthwhile, in my opinion, as it provides students with genuine learning opportunities that allows them to apply what they have learned in class in another setting (Bloom's Taxonomy). At the moment, in maths in grade 3, the students are working on fractions and decimal points. They are working on developing an understanding of how big or small the numerator is compared to the denominator. For example, they would know that 5/10 is half. They would know that 8/10 is much more than half. As we are working on striking and fielding, I felt that a great connection could be made with batting averages in baseball and chose to explore this path with them. Kids often get dejected or feel as though they are not good if they strike and miss a ball. My main aim was to discuss professional batting average with them and ask the to think about the follow scenario:
Imagine that I am going to snap my fingers and make the best professional baseball hitter of all time and a professional baseball pitcher appear before your very eyes. If I was to tell the pitcher to throw 10 pitches in a games to the hitter, how many out of ten do you think he would hit?
The students predominantly said that the hitter would hit between 7 and 10 out of 10 pitches. I then introduced the 25 best batting averages of all time. They were shocked to see that the very best of the best, Ty Cobb, had a lifetime average of 0.366 or roughly 36%. This set the stage for them to keep track of and record their average out of ten. I do not have enough bats for everyone, so opted to use a tennis racket and a soft ball instead. They had to:
A) Record how many hits out of ten in fraction form and convert it to a decimal point.
B) Record how many kicks out of ten rolls of the ball from the pitcher in fraction form and convert to decimal point.
C) Do a mini-reflection on their performance.
Please see video and slide show below. It was a very successful class and suggest you try it out.
I did this lesson twice yesterday with two different grade 3 classes. The first class I did not have the decimal column on the worksheet. After collaborating with the grade 3 teachers, it was decided that I would add the decimal. Despite not putting the decimal column on the worksheet in the first class, it was still a great maths connection.