I love unwrapping central ideas with my students. I can see their minds busy at work thinking about important questions and sharing their wonderful answers with me. I have held off on unwrapping the central idea in my grade 3 striking and fielding unit for a couple of reasons. Even though we are well into striking and fielding, I believe that it is essential to give kids an exploratory go at a unit in order to give them time to understand and develop the necessary skills. As well, when actually unwrapping the central idea, this exploratory journey will provide them with the prior knowledge they need not just scratch the surface of understanding of the central idea, but to hopefully activate more of a deeper discussion and to make important connections to the key concepts, the learner profile, and PYP attitudes.
We unwrapped the central idea today and the kids were throwing around great ideas left, right, and center. I almost ran out of space on the large-sized chart paper, seen above, to record everything. Super ideas from super kids. The PYP attitude being focused on the most during this unit is showing 'Committment' (wanting to really work hard to improve their skills) and the learner profile attribute is being a 'Thinker' (thinking their way through the process of hitting and catching). The three lines of inquiry we are exploring during the unit are; an inquiry into the many ways to strike and field a ball, an inquiry into striking for power and striking for consistency, and an inquiry into how best we can improve upon our skills.
Thinking skills are critical in PE and whenever possible I challenge my students to think deeply about the way they practice in order to better identify what it is they need to focus on. It works well and, in my opinion, bears as much weight or more than the skill itself. Of course kids improving their skills is critical in PE, but what is it that we want them to walk away from our programs with, being excellent hitters and strikers of a ball or being able to analyze and breakdown a skill and identify points of weakness needed to be improved upon? To me the later is much more lifelong and valuable rather than the physical act of performing the skill itself. What do you think?