I believe that, regardless of what we do in PE, as teachers we have a responsibility to make important links across the curriculum in order to maximize opportunities for learning. Embedded within every PE lesson there should always be identifiable skills and concepts that we want our students to demonstrate an understanding of. As a PE practitioner, I am more concerned with the students being able to show an understanding of a concept and skill rather than actually being able to master the skill in action.
Don’t get me wrong here, I do everything possible to help students to learn and practice important sport-related skills in my PE program, but what is more critical to me is students thinking their way through tasks and providing them with as many opportunities as possible to show their understanding of the important skills and concepts that these tasks focus on.
Graphic organizers are one way for visual learners/thinkers to arrange their ideas and are often used in subjects such as language arts, but, in my opinion, can also be used as a means to assess student understanding and to provide information about our own teaching in PE. By using graphic organizers in PE we are essentially making strong links to language arts and allowing students, especially our visual learners and ESL students to show their understanding and to organize their thoughts on paper.
In today’s class, the grade 4 students played a game called ‘The Bowling Pin Knockdown Game’. The important concepts and skills that this game worked on were; moving in space effectively, dodging and evading, throwing at both still and moving targets, and chasing. The game was broken down into a number of mini-games with each of these games increasing in difficulty as we progressed through the activity. Through the use of graphic organizers, the kids were able to gather and record their thoughts and understanding on paper (see below).