Setting the Tone: The Power of Provocation
Deciding on the best provocation is no easy task and takes time, but is well worth the effort. We need to be absolutely sure that we pitch the provocations in a way that draws attention to the big ideas that we have identified as being most important in the unit.
As our 'Connections to Community' unit is primarily focused on the importance of taking 'ACTION' in our lives to be physically active, the provocation we chose to kick start this unit with is the story of the amazing, Kenyan world champion javelin thrower, Julius Yego.
Julius epitomizes what it means to take action and to overcome obstacles and challenges in order to be the very best that we can be. Although the video is about 7 minutes long, it really helps to reinforce the idea that we can all take action in our own lives. A perfect message to start this unit off.
I will be including a number of strategies in this blog post series on the 'Connections to Community' unit. I included two different strategies in the first blog post.
A key strategy to ensure students make strong connections to the big idea in the unit is to create the best driving questions possible when delivering the initial provocation in the unit. Bearing this in mind, the two driving questions we used with our students were:
Walk and Talk! This strategy is all about getting young people moving and talking rather than sitting. You can read about it in a blog post that I wrote a few years back by clicking this link. My good friend, Joey Feith, also recently discussed the walk and talk strategy on his new podcast here. If you have time, you must check out Joey's podcast and his website. His work is truly wonderful and insightful.
The students came up with some great ideas in the walk and talk and shared these ideas in a thinking routine that we did. As you can see from the photo below, they shared their ideas on sticky notes attaching them to either of the questions that they were brainstorming answers to.
When the lesson finished, I took all of their ideas and created two separate visuals with their ideas posted. These visuals will be very important as they will be used at the start of the next lesson to do a quick review of the Julius Yego story and the big ideas we identified as being most important. As you can see, the students came up with some great ideas related to identifying challenges he faced and how he took action to be the best he could be.
A power provocation can go a long way in helping students unpack important success criteria in a unit. It can also serve to inspire and motivate them to want to be their best by creating the emotion hooks needed to get them to want to take action.
To conclude this blog post, I'd like you to watch the Julius Yego story yourself. How would you answer the two driving questions after watching the video? What inspires you the most about Julius' story? How might this video be used in any of the units you teach in PE? Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading this post and for checking out the video below.