Elevating the level of PHysical education
When we start our school years many #physed teachers start working on cooperation, teamwork, and communication. Often there is a group of favorite activities used because they are great cooperation game, but how are these activities customized for your classes needs? How are the character qualities your students value being addressed? Do your students really understand why they are doing these tasks?
There was an excellent #physedsummit session on Unpacking #physed by Andy Hair and Andy Vasily. In that session one of the topics discussed is having students answer questions about main ideas for lessons to discover what they know and what they have discovered.This process was called unpacking, not to be confused with teachers unpacking standards. This questioning of students to find what lies beneath a question, a word, or a topic can help personalize learning and give the teacher a better view of what students know. This unpacking process can also find common themes and ideas students have regarding these topics. Reflecting on this I asked myself can you unpack Teamwork?
Last year I did just that, my students unpacked Teamwork and this is what they unpacked from the idea of Teamwork
After collecting this I needed to find a way to make it purposeful and have it help shape our learning. I knew I could do team building and cooperation better, but had to find my way I went through my usual activities looking for and discussing the things my students had listed with them in each activity. Even still I knew this was not enough while the cooperatives seemed student centered the learning that occurred was still structured for the same outcomes I have always looked for. This triggered a shift in my thinking to move more towards inquiry and also create an opportunity to build an experience to help students discover a concept connected to Teamwork. The focus of the lesson was communication, and positive versus negative comments within a group and then inquired how did these two types of communication affect their groups success, why did that happen. Starting this conversation got students thinking about how their words effected their success in a task and the groups ability to work together effectively. By making the experience focused on their experiences, ideas, and outcomes the students valued what they discovered. For years I told students to be nice, communicate positively, and to think about their words, but never allowed them to think about or discuss, why.
This year when my students Unpack Teamwork they will also be beginning to build their first unit. I am going to build experiences that help them discover the ideas that they have identified and why those are important. Each experience will also be used to inquire, what are we missing? Why is that important? Bringing inquiry into Team-building and cooperatives will add student perspective to a unit that often becomes a 'teacher's favorites" unit filled with fun cooperatives that hopefully build a class environment.
Do you use inquiry in these types of lessons/units?
If so how? What was your experience?
How could incorporating inquiry be done better?
Seth Martin has taught for over 10 years all in the Elementary PE setting. He has presented across CA and online for the Physedsummit 3.0. Passionate about doing what best for students and helping them become physically literate and love movement!