The older students in Elementary PE have been participating in an Invasion Game Unit, which involves many of Gibbons (2009) intellectual practises being implemented.
One of our culminating activities involved the students taking the knowledge that they have already developed, regarding moving into space to receive the ball, built up in previous sessions through different types of games and use it to develop a simple attacking strategy that their team could use in a game of half court basketball. The students were undertaking a planning task, just like a coach would, rather than just being a player.
Students were asked to complete this task in small groups. This creates a situation where students are having to engage with each other in a substantive conversations. They would make a suggestion and have to justify it to others in the group. They also asked questions of one another. From the noise level in the gym, it was apparent that this task creates a great deal of discussion between the students.
Planning a strategy and communicating it to others, is not always easy. To assist the students in this process we use the coachnote app on ipads – which is not too dissimilar to the technology you see TV analysts using to talk about professional sports! This app allows students to make their thinking visible by being able to draw out the game and move players and ball around on the court, record the moves and then play them back.
An area to improve for future units will be to try to encourage the students to use the correct terminology, when explaining their strategies. The app, does let them become a little over reliant on just using simple language of “this goes here, this one here and that one goes here”. Watching back the animated moves that I had produced earlier in the unit to demonstrate some simple games they also fell into this category! Having said this, it was evident that the coachnote app really allowed many of the emerging language learners in the class fully demonstrate their ideas and not be restricted by their lack of language.