We moved into a new Target Games unit in grade one PE last week. Before introducing the central idea to the students (Effectively sending an object towards a target requires us to improve upon our aim and the technique we use), I wanted to get the kids to learn that there are indeed many different ways of sending an object toward a target. To allow them to do so, I set up a number of different targets around the gym in today’s class.
We discussed different ways to send an object toward a target and they came up with a very sensible list that was appropriate for the variety of targets set up (kicking, sliding/rolling, throwing, and hitting). I gave them each a bean bag and a little hacky-sack type ball that doesn’t bounce or really roll that far to ensure that they didn’t have to chase it around when collecting it.
The 2 learner profile attributes I stressed in today’s class were being ‘Thinkers’ and ‘Inquirers’. The aim of the lesson was to have the students try various means of sending their objects towards the target using the above mentioned styles of delivery. They received a point every time they got their bean bag or ball into, on, or inside the target. The students were divided into two teams; the green team and the orange team.
How were the challenged to be Thinkers?
They not only had to remember the number of points they collected, but also had to choose different means of sending their bean bag or ball at the target. They had to remember their choices for sending the object and ensure that they tried all of them out at each target.
How were they challenged to be Inquirers?
The students had to decide which method of delivery was best for each particular target. Some targets required a different means of delivery. They had to essentially ask themselves what way works best and then explore the different options available to them.
Time to Vote!!
Once they had ample time to explore the different ways of sending an object at the target, we all gathered as a group in front of the chart paper to record our team results. Each team member gave the number of points they had gained and this was recorded and totaled. Once we were done tallying the points, the students were asked which style of sending the object worked best for them.
There was a wee bit of confusion here as many students misinterpreted the question. Many felt that the question was asking which style of delivery they liked the best, but in fact the question was meant to determine which style of delivery worked the best. To clear up the confusion we talked about what the question means and discussed the difference between liking something and choosing something that works best for them. At the end of the discussion, I was fairly confident that the students understood the question. The kids voted and then we analysed the results and had a further discussion to end the class.
Although my grade 2 students began a stand alone unit in Net Games last week, I am still very much in the pre-assessment phase of the unit with them. I have roughly 7-9 hours (6 weeks) for the students to inquire into what net games are, but at this point of the unit, the key concept I am focusing on is ‘Connection’. I am trying to create as many authentic opportunities as possible for the students to inquire into how net games are connected. In order to do this, I set up three different stations; badminton, tennis, and table tennis (ping pong) in today’s lesson.
The students were instructed to explore with the equipment at each station, firstly on their own and then with a partner. Provided they were sensible and careful, I allowed them to essentially do as they wish with the equipment. They were allowed ten minutes at each station before moving on, but as they moved through the stations, they were encouraged to have discussions with their peers regarding the similarities and differences at each station. Once the students had rotated through all three stations, we met as a group to discuss and write down their ideas on the Venn diagram type chart that you can see below in the picture.
They came up with some great ideas (see below in picture) and by the end of the class, I was able to ascertain that most of the students were not only able to grasp the the connection between these net games, but were able to identify key similarities. I will move on to grip, stance, and more specific technical aspects of these games over the next couple of classes making further connections as we go. I think that we are off to a great start so far.
We have started up a grade 4 net games unit in PE. The unit will run for about 6-7 weeks and have the kids work on a wide range of net games related skills. As many of the students have little experience with net games, it is essential to allow them time to really explore with a racket and work on some simple drills to open the unit with. The great thing is that this type of unit can be easily differentiated to suit all skill levels, but the stress must be more on students being committed to improving rather than focusing only on what they can or cannot do.
In this blog post, I have included the PYP attitude poster 'Commitment' which I used to initiate discussion about the importance of working hard to improve upon our skills. As much as I will teach the necessary skills needed in this unit, I will consistently stress 'Commitment' as being one of the major keys to success. Kids can often get frustrated if they cannot perform a task that many of the peers can perform, so I am challenging them all to see their way through difficult challenges in this unit.
In today's class the students learned the following skills:
I encouraged the kids to try and do 30 consecutive times before moving on to the next drill. They assessed themselves as being a Super Star, Thumbs Up, OK, or Not So Good (X) at each of the drills. Each week we will work on different drills and I will allow them to assess themselves as they go. Please see example assessment below.
The focus on this blog will tie directly into how I prepared my grade 1 students for their summative assessment task in the Health Related Activities unit that we just finished up today. Documenting the process not only helps me to reflect on how the unit went but also hopefully provides any teachers reading this blog with some useful ideas should they be teaching a unit or want to teach a unit such as this.
I blogged earlier last week about what is worth knowing in a Health Related Activities considering the fact that they kids are 6 or 7 years old. When I have done units related to health aimed at the grade 1 or 2 grade level in the past, I feel as though I have put expectations much too high in regards to the actual content that I wanted the students to know. The aims that I had set for this unit were as follows:
Today’s class was set up in a way that allowed the students to create their own exercises using various equipment that I had set out (hula hoops, soccer balls, bean bags, skipping ropes, and basketballs). This summative assessment task required that the students:
A) Draw the 3 body systems that we have been working on and discussing in class. They had to do this first before moving on to second part of the assessment task.
B) They had to select separate activities for 3 different intensities of exercise; light, medium, or hard. Please see assessment sheet below. You will notice that there is a blank box for each exercise selected on the left of the table. They had to either draw a picture or write down specifically what the exercise was.
C) The students then had to focus in on the specific body systems that we have learned about during this unit; the circulatory, the muscular system and the respiratory system. I wanted them to be able to describe how exercise affects these systems. The main idea is that as level of intensity increases, there are distinct differences in how these systems feel.
You’ll notice that there were three different images representing the heart; a happy and calm heart, a running heart, and the word ‘BOOM’ which means a very hard working heart. The kids had to circle how their heart felt at each level of exercise.
For the muscular system there is a blank box on the assessment sheet. In preparing the students for being able to describe how their muscles feel when exercising, they themselves came up with the idea of using different colors to represent how their muscles feel. One student described their muscular system at level one exercise (light) as bluish-green because their muscles were not yet really warm due to not moving around too much when exercising. Another student described level 3 exercise as fire-red which I thought was a fantastic description of how muscles feel when doing high intensity exercise. The students simply had to colour in a blank box to show how their muscles felt. I think it worked great and not surprisingly, this wonderful idea came from the students themselves.
As for the respiratory system, the students had to circle one of three images to show how hard their rate of breathing was; an image of a girl blowing bubbles (represents a soft and calm breathing rate), an image of a tree blowing in the wind (represents a more active rate of breathing), and finally an image of a woman who can barely hold on to her umbrella (obviously a high rate of breathing).
I have included a video of some of our previous class discussions as we prepared for this final summative assessment task. As well, included below are some examples of the student assessment sheets used in today’s class.
The grade 1 students actually begin a health related unit of inquiry in their classroom this week. Although the PE related health unit I have worked on would have been perfect to fully integrate into their UoI on health, scheduling these units to overlap was not possible. I opened the year with the health unit and the UoI on health is happening now in the classroom. This is actually a perfect example of how front loading a health unit in PE can serve as an excellent introduction to a UoI on health in the classroom. The kids will hopefully bring a great deal of prior knowledge into their unit of inquiry on health allowing the grade 1 teachers to delve much deeper into their UoI right from the start.
A few years ago I would have not seen the value in front loading, but I now see that it can work extremely well, especially when good collaboration takes place between the classroom teachers and PE department.
Getting younger kids to work together on larger teams or in a whole class group can be quite a challenge. We are finishing up our integration with the grade 2 unit of inquiry on ‘Rights and Responsibilities’. My unit in PE was adventure challenge so it fit in very nicely with the UoI happening in the classroom.
Throughout this unit, the students were faced with having to solve a number of different adventure challenge type activities in both small and large groups. As we had numerous discussions about what peoples’ rights and responsibilities are when working on teams, the students were able to understand the importance of effective communication and listening skills as well as cooperation skills in most situations. However, working in larger groups always presented problems in this area.
In one of the final activities of the unit, the students were required to work on 2 teams of 7 and then on one large team of 14 during today’s PE class. Here is a breakdown of today’s lesson:
A) Each student was given a skipping rope and on their team of 7 they had to tie the ends of the skipping rope together to create one long rope.
B) Once they had tied all 7 ropes together, as a group, they had to decide on 5 different shapes to create with the rope. For example, if they decided to create a triangle, as a group, they would create the triangle with the rope on the gym floor. They had to get my thumbs up moving on to the next shape. Usually small adjustments would have to be made and then I would allow them to start on the next shape.
C)When each team of 7 had finished up creating their 5 different shapes, they were required to join teams with the other group (had to tie both long ropes together making one long rope). Now, as a much bigger group of 14, they had to create 3 shapes that had not been created before.
The Biggest Challenges?
Deciding on which shapes to create proved very challenging. As a group they had to remember that their responsibility was to work together and communicate. This required listening to one another and being patient.
Another challenge was that they had difficulty deciding which way to position the shape on the floor. Where was the top of the shape going to be? Where was the bottom going to be? Ensuring that all members were aware of top and bottom proved challenging.
As a final assessment, they had to; draw the first 5 shapes created by their team of 7, draw the 3 shapes created by the larger group of 14, Assess how difficult the rope challenge was for them, and write a comment about today’s game. This assessment took roughly 10 minutes to complete at the end of class.
As we are currently in the second last week of our grade 1 Health Related Fitness unit at the Nanjing International School in China, I am preparing the students for their summative assessment task that will take place next week. It is essential that I have been very clear about what the students must know and understand during this unit. The fact is that they are only 6 or 7 years old and what is worth knowing at this age is an essential consideration when deciding upon the summative assessment task.
When referring to our school’s adapted Personal, Social, and Physical Education scope and sequence, one of the strands for kids in grades one and two is to reflect on the interaction of body systems during exercise. This strand fits perfectly within this unit and to me highlights what is worth knowing.
We just returned from a week off, so it was important to review what the students remembered before embarking on the planned activities for today’s PE lesson. The lesson was broken down into the distinct parts each of which is described below:
B) In part B, we reviewed and discussed the central idea of this PE unit (Our heart, lungs and muscles become stronger when we exercise regularly). In particular we discussed how exercise affects these body systems.
C) Three levels of exercise were discussed with the class; 1-light, 2-moderate, and 3-hard exercise. Knowing the difference between these levels was important to understand.
D) A class rubric was created. The three systems; Circulatory, Respiratory, and Muscular were added to this rubric along with the different levels of intensity.
E) The students then had to try and exercise at each of the levels of intensity using any of the following equipment; hula hoops, bean bags, skipping ropes, basketballs, soccer balls, or just their own bodies. When I started the music, the students went off and began creating exercises. When the music stopped, we would gather in front of the class rubric and check off which level of intensity they exercised at. We then repeated the process, but they had to create a new exercise as well as exercise at a different level of intensity. See semi-completed class rubric below.
My aims by the end of the class were to:
I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the new sharing PYP practice blog project which was launched in the Hague, Netherlands at IBO headquarters a couple of weeks ago. It was an excellent experience to be involved in a project such as this. The PYP curriculum manager, Kirsten Loza, worked very hard to initiate this project and to see the it through to its completion.
If you are a PYP educator and would like to submit any of the good teaching practice that you put into action within your schools, please visit the following link: http://blogs.ibo.org/sharingpyp/ to learn more about the project and how you can get involved.