Exploring and Defining Important Student Learning Outcomes
Getting students immersed into a new unit is critical as it allows them to explore different activities and make meaning of what is required of them. This immersion or tuning in phase is one of my favorite parts of a unit as I let the students play, explore, create, and discover. However, having said this, it is important to emphasize that all the activities we do are purposeful and related to the big ideas of what is expected of them in regards to essential student learning outcomes in the unit.
Bearing this in mind, I always have a very clear structure as any unit unfolds. I have just begun a striking and fielding unit in grade 3 this week at Nanjing International School. Striking and fielding can be a particularly difficult unit for some students as they struggle with hand and eye coordination, so in order to allow all students to find success, the activities need to be very much differentiated right from the get go.
As part of the immersion process, I had the students watch the '10 Best Cricket Catches of 2014' on You Tube. I have included this video below. Although the video is over 5 minutes long, I skipped through parts only showing them 4 of the best catches to give them the idea that there is a lot more involved in the process of catching rather than the act of catching itself.
Before watching the above video, I had the students focus on the driving question that they were going to think about while taking part in the activities in the PE class. The key question that they were going to answer at the end of class was:
What skills were important in today's PE class?
During quick water breaks, I reminded them of the key question to make sure that it was always in the back of their minds. After watching the short video, I had the students take part in a number of different activities that built in difficulty as the class progressed. Watch the video below to see the types of activities I had the students do. Apologies in advance for the video not being the best quality, but you'll still get an idea of what was expected of them in today's class.
Once we completed the last activity seen in the video above, we sat down for the last few minutes and had a discussion related to the driving question that I had asked them to think about during the class. I jotted down their ideas in my journal then created the visual below during my next prep. When the students come to their next class, the visual will be ready to go and posted on the wall. Embedded within this visual are many of the actual student learning outcomes expected of them this unit. Making these learning outcomes explicit is an important part of the immersion or tuning in phase of any unit that I do in PE. I'm looking very forward to seeing how the students progress and improve in the striking and fielding unit.