Core Values in Your Program
Firstly, I must admit that it has been a crazy, busy last few months. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many educators in different parts of the world. It has been a hugely rewarding experience as it has offered me the chance to visit many schools and see lots of great teaching in action.
On the downside a bit, I haven't been able to blog in quite a while. Blogging has played such a big part of my teaching over the last several years and it's been a struggle not to be able to write as I once did when I was sharing my own practice. Although I am no longer teaching at Nanjing International School, I have decided to share the great practice of teachers I'm currently working with in this blog post series.
First off, I'd like to bring you the great work of Toby Sumerfield, the head of PE at the elementary campus of YK Pao School in Shanghai. You can follow Toby on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TSumerfield. I highly recommend doing so as he has an excellent mind for PE and is doing some wonderful things at his school. He's constantly evaluating his own practice, looking for ways to get better, and learning as much as he can.
I want to share a great strategy that he used today in a grade 4 invasion games class. He was scheduled to use the outside field for his class but it was raining, so he had to resort to using a large multi-purpose type room for his lesson. This did not hold him back as he is an innovative educator and worked with the space he had available to him.
Toby's school prides itself on 8 core values.
Toby is halfway through an invasion games unit and wanted to really zero in on the concept of sportsmanship, teamwork, and the idea that we all have to win and lose gracefully. As a provocation, at the beginning of the class, he gave his students sets of cards that had the 8 YK Pao core values printed on them. In groups of 4, he had his students rank, in a pyramid format, which core values that they felt were most important to put into action in the invasion games unit. At the top of the pyramid was the most important core value based on their perspectives, followed up by the next two that they felt were almost as important and so on as you go down the pyramid.
I walked around and listened to the amazing student conversations as they tried to rank these core values in regards to level of importance. Check out the pictures below of how each group ranked these values.
The groups did a gallery walk, looking at each others' rankings and having some side discussion before moving into the guts of the lesson. What Toby did at this point was to have them play some small-sided invasion games and presented them with different scenarios that challenged them to take a look at their original rankings and reassess them based upon what they now felt were the most important core values.
An excellent, thought-provoking task that led to much deeper discussion related to the 8 core values. Toby was trying to truly focus in on the fact that perspectives change depending upon circumstances. Take a look at the photos below to see how the students re-ranked the core values based upon the different scenarios.
Toby had the kids to another gallery walk through looking at the rankings and scenarios of each team. I could hear the side chats and discussion as the students talked about each group's rankings. He gave time for a quick discussion before ending class off with students awarding each other 'core value' certificates. If a student awarded a certificate, they had to justify why they were presenting the certificate to their peer. It was special to watch this experience unfold. I caught a snapshot of the proud recognized award receivers.
Some people might think that they have no idea how to accomplish all of this in a 40-minute lesson. Too much talking and less physical activity? Think again! Toby had them active more than 50% of the class ( I had a stopwatch timing physical activity!!). He structured time well and carefully planned his questions and tasks. The only constraint was the small room due to the rain but he overcame this obstacle.
Well done Toby and an equal congratulations to your students for showing that they are critical thinkers and can shift up gears when challenged to do so.
Does your school have core values? If so, could you do something similar in a unit that you teach? Share your ideas below and don't forget to follow Toby on Twitter!