Despite the fact that my grade 2 students are a couple of weeks into our current net games unit at Nanjing International School, I just introduced and unwrapped the central idea in today's class with them. I don't believe it is always necessary to introduce and unwrap central ideas straight away in a unit as the kids sometimes need time to just simply explore and learn a bit first before challenging them to a deeper level of understanding. Choosing to wait before introducing the central idea, in this case, has given them time to work on very basic skills related to net games and has allowed for a bit of extra time as well to work on hand and eye coordination before moving any deeper into the unit. For many of these kids, they have had very few opportunities to play table tennis, badminton, or tennis so the extra time given to them before introducing the central idea has served them well.
The central idea for this unit is, 'Better coordinating the movements of our hands, eyes, and feet increases success in net games.' The lines of inquiry are as follows:
An inquiry into the different types of hand and racket positioning in net games.
An Inquiry into the similarities and differences between the many kinds of shots we can play in net games.
An inquiry into the many ways that we can improve hand and eye coordination in net games.
We had a good discussion about what we have done so far in the unit and used this as a springboard to unwrap the central idea. You can see the ideas that the students came up with below.
The Learner Profile and PYP Attitude Focus of the Net Games Unit
As you can see by the picture above, I like to use clip art when unwrapping the central idea as it helps the ESL students and visual learners to make a better connection during our group discussions. When trying to initiate discussion about the Learner Profile and PYP attitudes, I do very much the same in the sense that I use posters/visuals that I have created to help in making stronger connections. The Learner Profile and PYP attitude focus for this unit are; Inquirer, Thinker, Commitment, and Enthusiasm. I always keep all 10 Learner Profile attributes and 12 PYP attitude posters visible on the walls in one place during any PE unit, however, when stressing specific attributes and attitudes that I want the students to focus on, I take out the ones of focus and post them on their own. Viewing the photo below may help you better visualize what I mean. We are well into the unit and will now delve much deeper into aspects of grip, footwork, and more technical aspects of net games over the coming weeks.