Quick and Easy Self-Assessment in Striking and Fielding
Inquiry is such a powerful tool for getting students to find out important answers on their own and it is something that I strive to embed in all of my PE lessons in some way shape or form.
My goal in today's grade 5 striking and fielding lesson, was to have the students inquire into the reasons why striking and fielding skills are more difficult to put into action in games compared to when they simply practice the skills in class.
To make the purpose of today's lesson clear and explicit to them at the start of class, I specifically told them that we would be focusing on fielding skills and that they would be given the first ten minutes to practice fielding skills in whatever manner that they wish. I showed them the formative assessment task which you can see in the above picture. I told them that they would be self-assessing themselves in fielding skills after we complete our practice session and one more time once we finish playing in a modified striking game that I had planned for them.
I asked them to think of specific reasons how fielding in practice and fielding in games differs in nature and why this might be. I then set them off on their practice sessions. The initial talk lasted roughly 3-4 minutes.
Post Practice Session Self-Assessment Time
Immediately after the fielding practice session, the students gathered around the formative assessment poster that I had prepared for them. I had several markers of various colors ready to go. This self-assessment task required them to place themselves in one of 4 categories in terms of how well that they thought they could field a ball while practicing:
Not So Good
As more than one student could write their name down on the assessment poster quite easily, this task took no more than 2 minutes to complete and was a perfect time for them to take a drink as well. We talked about the fact that we were all learning together and that self-assessing yourself publicly was nothing to be afraid of.
In fact, I allowed them time to speak with an elbow buddy about the reasons why they placed themselves where they did on the assessment poster. To essentially justify why they were Super, Good, OK, or Not So Good. It was quick and easy and very effective in nature in terms of giving me some important feedback as to where they are at with their fielding skills. As well it was serving to get them inquiring into the difference between skills in practice and games.
Time to play the modified striking game
Once the students finished off the first part of the self-assessment task, we quickly got into teams and we played a modified striking game that we had played last class. To differentiate and allow kids multiple methods of striking a ball, I gave them 3 choices for hitting.
This was very much a maximum participation type game as nobody ever has to sit out. Besides the person hitting the ball, all of the other people on the striking team become runners. Once the ball is hit, all of the runners take off across the gym to the far wall. The batter is striking the ball to the left half of the gym where the fielding team is positioned. The runners are on the right side of the gym, so the fielding team and the runners never cross paths, so it is very safe in nature.
Once the hitter makes contact with the ball, the the first fielder must receive the ball then pass the ball to a teammate who then runs to put it atop a batter's tee in the fielding area. If they can get the ball atop the batter's tee before the runners make it to the opposite wall of the gym, the batter is up. Another batter then takes over and the batter who is out joins the runners. There are no strikes and each person gets a chance to hit. The hitter does not run. The maximum number of runs a hitter can earn for his/her team is 3. If they get 3 runs, they switch batters.
Once the game concluded, the students were required to self-assess their fielding skills in a game situation and compare the results when they had self-assessed their fielding skills in practice.
Important Discussion About Difference Between Practice and Games
To me this was the most important part of the lesson and where the best learning hopefully occurred. The students had to now tell me how putting their skills in action in games is much more difficult than in practice. Using this learning, I asked them to identify how they can better practice in order to enhance their skills in game situations. They came up with some excellent answers and really seemed to understand that they must practice as though they are playing in games. Have a look at some of the answers that the students came up with below.
How was this inquiry in action?
Everything about this lesson was student driven in nature. I simply asked them to critically think about some important questions that I had for them in regards to the difference between practicing and playing in actual games. Through the practice skills session and the modified game that we played, they were able to come up with important answers to the questions that I had. They clearly figured out that to improve upon their skills in game situations, they must practice as if they are actually playing.
The biggest victory, I thought, was some students discussing the fact that by practicing like they are playing in real games, they are putting more pressure on themselves, so when it comes to game time, they are more use to this pressure and may perform better. This came totally from them. I never expected it and they were able to discuss it with the class which was a critical learning moment for all of us.
Formative Self-Assessment in a Snapshot
My plan is to experiment with this type of whole class self-assessment more during my striking and fielding unit. At the end of class I took a picture of the self-assessment poster. On it I could see all of their names to help get a clear picture of how the students assessed themselves and where they are at. It can help me to better plan my next lesson and to keep, on file, a picture of this assessment. By collecting a number of pictures such as this that show the results of different formative assessment tasks, I will have some great info at the end of the unit to help me better assess their overall performance during the striking and fielding unit. If you have some quick and easy formative assessment methods in your PE classes, I would love to hear about them. Please share!!