I have already blogged about the new approach I am putting to the test in my Athletics unit here and here. As well, I introduced a pre-assessment task that I used this week as a starting point to the unit in a blog post a few days ago. The students in grade 3 and 4 have created their own learning teams that they will work together with throughout the duration of the Athletics unit. There are 9 learning outcomes that the students must be able to know and/or do by the end of the unit.
Maths will play a large part in the unit as one of the outcomes requires student to be able to measure and record time in relation to running and measure distance in relation to throwing and jumping. The learning teams set off to work in measuring both time and distance, but the students, on their teams, decided how they could best show their understanding of of how to measure both time and distance related to running, jumping, and throwing.
Questions, Questions, and More Questions
The students understand that their questions are very significant and that recording these questions plays an important role in their learning journey. As they are busily working away at designing their own learning tasks, they must write down any questions that they have and anything that they are having difficulty with. My goal is to go through all of their assessment sheets and to record all of their questions for my own teaching purposes. I will add to this list of questions as we proceed through the unit and use whole class discussions to address the answers to these questions. All questions will be recorded on large poster sized paper for the students to refer back to during the unit. Some questions generated so far are:
What is the middle button on a stopwatch for?
How do you reset a stopwatch?
When measuring throwing, do we measure where the ball lands or do we measure to where the ball stops rolling?
How should I position my arm to get more distance when I throw?
Is measuring time in running other distances like 30 meters, 50 meters, and 80 meters OK to do?
Is a handball throw and throwing for distance different? How?
As educators, we all know the power of AHA!! moments in our teaching. To see our students have these AHA! moments is great and to immediately highlight this learning to the whole class is critical in order to sustain or increase motivation. I have asked my students to record these AHA!! moments and to immediately let me know when it happens. These AHA!! moments may seem quite simple, but we must keep in mind that the students are only in grade 3 and 4 and that they have made these discoveries on their own. Some of the AHA!! moments that we had this week were:
Although I have allowed for student design of learning in PE in the past, this is the first time that I am putting it the the test for an entire unit. This is a learning experience for me as well as the students and through teacher reflection, I hope to refine my instruction as we progress through the unit. It was very cool to walk around and listen to their conversations and to observe what they were having difficulty with. Some groups were completely stuck and did not know what to do, but after posing some questions to them and giving them some helpful little hints, they were able to get started and made very good strides by the end of class. They also came up with some very innovative ideas in terms of the activities they chose to do in running jumping and throwing. Cool stuff! Will report on it more next week.