As I have been documenting the progress made with this integration and considering the fact that it is part of the flat classroom peer assessment project set up between Nanjing International School in China and United Nations International School in Hanoi, Vietnam blogged about last Friday on my website, I am uploading video from yesterday's grade 2 PE class to show an example of one of the group's 'Wind' routines. The students are continuing to make necessary changes, referring back to the rubric on a regular basis to be sure they are on the correct path. They are doing a great job so far and we look forward to seeing their final routines next Tuesday (Feb. 21st).
I think many of you have either heard of Ted Talks or have seen different guest speakers featured on the following website (
In collaboration with grade 3 classroom teachers, Marina Gijzen and Kath Adams, we discussed the idea of integrating maths transformations with my movement composition unit. Both grade 3 classes had to create a short yoga sequence that included 4 poses that were repeated in a pattern to a short piece of music (Revue D'un Pantin by Cirque Du Soleil). The challenging thing wasn't so much remembering the poses as it was to include the following maths transformations in the routines (slides, reflections, and rotations). The students did a fantastic job and came up with some pretty creative sequences. Please see short video below to view their great work. As well, I have included an audio clip of Revue D'un Pantin by Cirque Du Soleil. Just click the play button to hear the song.
PYP PE: A Flat Classroom Collaborative Project
Skype has allowed people from around the world to connect for various purposes. Be it good friends, our own families, or for job interviews, Skype has become an extremely valuable tool used by millions around the globe. The main basis of the flat classroom movement is to connect educators globally in an effort to share collaborative practices that ultimately enrich the learning experiences of our students.
Bearing this in mind, Skype has already been used quite successfully to connect classrooms from various corners of the world. Creating peer assessment opportunities in PE via Skype has been a goal of mine, but the logistics of finding other PE practitioners, the scheduling of classes, finding time to collaborate, and time zone differences can make a task such as this very difficult to get off the ground.
Through a genuinely shared interest in PYP PE, Cameron McHale, an experienced PE teacher from United Nations School in Hanoi and myself have been in communication over the past several weeks, by email, discussing the possibilities of setting up such a project. We decided the time had come for us to actually schedule our first Skype meeting to try and get this project afloat.
We will be documenting the entire process on my blog, beginning with our first meeting yesterday. If you are interested in the way this project unfolds, please check out the blog each week for new details. We feel as though it will be an excellent learning experience for the students, but also valuable professional development for us as it is the first time either of us have undertaken such an endeavor. We are confident that it will work and are willing to put in the time and effort to see it through to its completion.
Thursday, Feb. 9th Skype Meeting Summary
Grade levels and scheduling of classes:
It was determined, based on our schedules and current PE units that this project was logistically possible with grade 2 and 3 Movement Composition as Cam and I were both doing this unit with these grade levels. The scheduling of classes also suited as there was similar overlap despite the one-hour time difference.
The Assessment Task
As my grade 2 and grade 3 classes have already begun their movement composition units, Cam agreed that it was best to follow the plan that I have had in place with my students. I have already blogged about the PE/Drama integration that I am doing with grade 2. Please see following link for specific description of the task (http://www.pyppewithandy.com/2/post/2012/02/pyp-pe-pe-and-drama-integration-the-process-unfolding.html). Essentially, the summative assessment task will require the students to work in groups at creating a short routine based on the idea of the “Wind”. The students have already brainstormed many ways that the wind moves and how it sounds. These elements are expected to be infused into their routines.
The Assessment Tool
I already created a rubric based on the brainstorming sessions and ideas of my students. It was introduced to them this week. Cam will introduce the same rubric next week to his students at United Nations School of Hanoi. His students will be encouraged to add their ideas to the rubric at which time these ideas will be sent back to me. I will revise the rubric and re-introduce the enhanced version next week to my students. It will be this rubric that will be used for the Skype peer assessment summative task at the end of the unit. Rubrics will be scanned and emailed back in order to give feedback to the students.
Monday, Feb. 13th-17th students at UNIS and NIS will work on their routines. Cam’s students are a few weeks behind, but this does not create any issues as they will perform their routines on Skype to my students a couple of weeks after we do ours. By the end of next week, the final rubric will be in place.
Tuesday, Feb 21st:
Cam and I will set up Skype and be sure that everything is in place as my students will perform their final “Wind” routines from 2:00-3:00pm Nanjing time (1:00-2:00pm Hanoi time). Cam’s students will view our routines, on Skype and peer assess using the rubric which was collaboratively created by both teachers and students from UNIS and NIS.
Tuesday, March 6th:
My class will watch Cam’s grade 2 students perform their routines using the same rubric to peer assess.
We highlighted the fact that due to potentially dodgy internet connections, Skype could be disrupted. In the event that this happens, we will be recording our routines and will immediately upload them on to You Tube. Cam and his students will access our routines on You Tube and still be able to assess.
Next collaborative Skype meeting: Wednesday, Feb. 15th
On Agenda: New ideas for rubric
A) The students will learn 6 partner balances and practice these balances safely.
B) The students will look at pictures of themselves doing these balances and compare to exemplar pictures shown on Smart Board making necessary modifications and adjustments.
C) They will create a sequence of 3 partner balances to be repeated in a pattern in a final routine (to a short piece of music)
1. We will revisit the central idea for the unit and practice individual balances previously learned.
2. Using photographs taken from my gymnastics unit at my previous school, I will introduce partner balances to the students.
3. Safety will be discussed and students, in pairs, will find a safe spot on the mats in their own space. Emphasis being on finding enough space to be sure that they land on the mats if they fall.
4. First exemplar partner balance put up on Smart Board (see slide show for these balances). Body position and best points of support discussed.
5. Students practice this balance. When ready, they ask me to take picture. I show them the picture and they compare to exemplar on Smart Board. They identify what needs to be improved upon and make necessary adjustments.
6. Steps 4 and 5 repeated for all 6 partner balances.
7. All 6 partner balances are posted on Smart Board. Students must select three balances for their routine deciding upon the order. They must practice this order minimizing unnecessary movements.
8. Music is introduced and they practice more.
9. Perform routines to students at end of class.
This lesson was organized and went very well. The timing was right. Perhaps having them infuse individual balances in with partner balances would have made for more variation.
A couple of days ago, I blogged about the grade 4 students learning different yoga postures from our guest yoga instructor, Neila Steele. I had set out the aims and objectives of this lesson which were to introduce maths transformations (slides, rotations, and reflections), learn a number of different yoga postures (see previous blog to see which postures students learned), and to piece together a sequence of yoga poses. Their routines had to include each of the maths transformations listed above.
I was hoping to finish all of this in the 80-minute lesson I had with the students, but we only got about half way through. I realized that this was actually better as it gave us more time to practice the different postures and record and reflect upon their progress. We had introduced, through various activities, the maths transformations, but had to be really sure that they understood these concepts. As Neila introduced each yoga pose, she had the students, in partners showed reflected yoga poses, show slides, and to rotate either a quarter or half turn and repeat the same poses. It was easy to see if the students grasped the different transformations. They struggled a bit with reflection, but ended up demonstrating an understanding which they could apply.
In next week's lesson, the students will finish off this this activity and perform their routines to the class. I will upload videos of the final product. In the meantime, please check out a slide show of yesterday's class.
A couple of weeks ago, I did a blog on a PE/Drama integration that we are currently in the midst of at Nanjing International School in China. We are doing movement composition in PE and felt that drama fit in very nicely with this unit. Please see the following link (http://www.pyppewithandy.com/2/post/2012/01/pyp-pe-pe-and-drama-integration.html) of the earlier blog explaining the aims and objectives of this integration.
In yesterday's class we revisited this integration with the students. As we just had a two-week holiday, we needed to give them a refresher. A few weeks ago, our drama teacher, Sam Brown, introduced the idea of wind to the students and had them brainstorm all the ways the wind moved. Here are some examples that the students came up with:
Quickly, slowly, swirly, twitchy, angrily, stormy, loudly, gently, like a tornado/hurricane, changes forms etc.
As individuals, both Sam and I, had the students individually explore all of these ideas. They were encouraged to experiment with the list described above and move their bodies in as many ways possible. They were then placed in groups as they will be performing a final routine (in a few weeks), as a summative assessment task with their team members. The summative assessment rubric was introduced to them using the Smart Board. The assessment criteria was discussed and any questions that they had were recorded. The rubric was kept up on the Smart Board for them to refer back to when they set off with their groups to begin the process of creating a routine. Sam and I have been recording what we have been doing in our lessons and passing these notes back and forth which has been extremely helpful during the collaboration process.
Some Excellent Student Questions
As always, during the the inquiry process students come up with excellent questions that always initiate a potential change in direction from teacher expectations. I had envisioned all of the students performing in groups as the 'wind', however, 2 great questions from yesterday were:
Can we act as leaves blowing in the wind? (Teacher response, "Absolutely what a great idea, I never thought of that!" ; Made me think of the forward rolls in gymnastics that we are working on could be the motion of the leaves rolling)
Can we be trees that are being blown by the wind? (Teacher response again was "Absolutely!" : I thought of the yoga posture , Tree Pose, that they will be learning in next week's lesson)
Please see slide show and video of yesterday's class. Also included is the Summative Assessment Task that we will be using with the students at the end of the unit.
Traditionally, gymnastics and dance is a major part of a movement composition unit in PE. Each year I always try to introduce new elements to this unit that still connect largely to the theme of movement composition. I am trying to broaden this type of unit to allow kids to truly explore all of the opportunities that exist. As you can see from previous blogs, I have focused on elements from Cirque Du Soleil which the students have really enjoyed.
My wife, Neila Steele, is a certified yoga instructor and has kindly volunteered to come in and demonstrate a number of different yoga postures to the kids this week. Upon speaking with the classroom teachers in grade 3 and 4, I found out that they are doing transformations in maths. As I am always looking for opportunities to integrate maths into PE, I felt this would be a perfect fit for the yoga routines that they will have to create with a partner to a selected piece of music. Please see worksheet below that I will use with the students this week.
They must choose 4 yoga posture learned (out of 10) and practice and piece together a routine that includes the following maths transformations:
They can choose to include any of the maths transformations in either the yoga posture itself or within the transitions. I will be doing this lesson 4 times this week, so will hopefully be able to refine it as we go. I will document the process on my blog so stay tuned if you are interested.
My colleague and department head, Jacqui Weatherly, created an excellent video that highlights all of the attributes of the Learner Profile from the perspective of PE. Although it is in quicktime format, she has all ten attributes saved as PDFs and is more than happy to share her work with you. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a zip file containing each attribute. Great work Jacqui!!!
Andy Vasily- Workshop leader, presenter, consultant and PYP PE teacher. Love what I do!
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