My grade 3 students are closing in on the end of a striking and fielding unit in PE class. In my opinion, a unit such as striking and fielding can present a number of challenges for the teacher for a variety of reason. Ideally, we want to have access to all of the best resources and equipment when planning and delivering our lessons, but the reality is that many of us lack the necessary resources to effectively carry out our units which puts added pressure on being very creative in order to meet the needs of the students in PE.
I am fortunate and lucky in the fact that I have adequate resources to choose from when delivering my lessons. Of course, I would love to have much more, but I can essentially get my job done effectively with what I have. However, I know for a fact that many international or even state schools lack the necessary equipment to carry out their lessons the way that they would like. When looked at in a positive light, teachers in situations such as this become extremely resourceful and learn to use creativity and imagination in order to come up with great lesson ideas despite lacking in resources.
For my current striking and fielding unit, I have only 2 tees, but a fair number of sponge bats and balls. The one thing that I do not like about a unit such as this is the wait time necessary to have a go at striking the ball.
Herd of Horses Striking and Fielding Rally Game
Just had to include this picture of my son, Eli, practicing hitting off a tee.
A game that I made up to counter this ‘waiting to hit the ball’ problem has been super effective at keeping all the kids on the striking team very active, as well keeping the outfielders alert and very much a part of the game. I call the game ‘Herd of Horses Striking and Fielding Rally Game’. In today’s game instead of letting them strike with only a bat, I gave them choices. I don’t believe it is necessary to narrow it down to only batting. Why not give the kids a number of choices in terms of how they will strike the ball? The choices they had in today’s game were; striking using a tennis racket, striking with a cricket bat, a soft sponge bat, striking a ball from a tee, or kicking. As well, they could choose between a small soft ball, a medium sized dodgeball, or a larger-sized dodgeball. Allowing them choices, in my opinion, breeds confidence as they must determine their own level of skill when ultimately deciding which method of striking they would use. Chances are they will select a method in which they can be successful at.
Key offensive considerations in this game are that all members of the striking team run the bases at the same time. They must choose wisely and watch how the fielding team handles the ball when deciding if they should advance a base or not. They are allowed to run any number of bases that they want.
Key defensive considerations are that once the offensive player has thrown the ball it must be fielded by the whoever it is closest to. This person must pass the ball (not hand it) to a second player who must then pass it to a third player. The third player is then responsible for running the ball and handing it to the teacher. Once the teacher is in possession of the ball any player who is caught in between bases is out and must return to home plate. If any member of the herd of horses makes it to home plate safely, they mark a run on a score sheet posted.
Every player on the striking team has a chance to strike once by giving them an ordered number. Regardless of where they are on base, if it is their turn to strike, they must run to home plate and take their turn striking. Once everyone has had a go at striking, the teams switch and each player on the other team has a chance. This is a quick moving game with lots of action so each team will probably get 2 or 3 chances to throw during a 30-minute game.
At the start of the game, every starts running from home plate, but this mass or herd of runners will begin to spread out as the game progresses. However, it is essential that the running team pay attention when they are running to base as their may be a defensive player fielding the ball along the base line. The runners are allowed to run around these players off of the base line to ensure their are no unnecessary collisions. OK, enough typing here!!! I don’t like being too wordy or text-heavy when describing, but some times it is necessary. Please watch the video above.
Before the game had begun, I had the students, in pairs, work on striking and fielding at 5 separate stations (below).
As one of my lines of inquiry deals with understanding the difference between hitting for consistency and hitting for power, I had the students really concentrate on these things while practicing their striking. The assessment required the students to:
A)Self-assess themselves in all 5 methods of striking
B)Identify which methods they could strike with most power
C)Identify which methods they were most consistent at
D)Self-assess themselves in fielding
E)Identify which type of fielding gives them most problems
F)Explain the difference between hitting for power and hitting for consistency
Please see video below of me explaining the assessment to my students and examples of their work.
The students had to complete the assessment sheets seen below. Self-assessment on the front and on the back they had more to do. I have scanned the front and back of the worksheets of three of my students. See below.....