Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Mindfulness in PE

Grade 2 students have been looking at Mindfulness as their unit of inquiry. In PE we have integrated our activities, so that we have looked at Mindfulness from a PE perspective. Students have participated in a range of activities and recorded how it makes them feel as we have looked at how exercise effects our brain.  It has been a little tricky to separate physical feelings such as hot and sweaty from feelings in our brain such as calm or energised, but we have tried!

We have also tried activities that are hard to complete, to see how that makes us feel and try to put into place strategies to overcome these problems. 'Stop, have a drink then try again' was a popular strategy that we will be utilising in our future units. We have also looked at how exercise can help us if we are frustrated or angry and students have thought about what activity might help them in this situation.

At the end of the unit students had to choose and participate in activities that they feel would get their brain ready to learn for the rest of the day. Students choose to participate in a range of activities including dance, using the climbing wall, yoga, creating a fitness routine on the ipads, basketball and football


G2 Invasion Games

Grade 2 students have just started an invasion games unit in PE. To start with we played some beanbag slide. The lessons focused on more than just playing the game.

Students came up with team plans to be successful, and some used the coachnote app to explain to others basic strategies.

We also had a look at the concepts of  teamwork, fair play (being a good winner and a good looser) and dealing with conflict that can arise in these types of games.

Over the next few weeks, we will be applying these concepts to a variety of different invasion games, as well at practicing the motor skills needed to be successful in these games.

Athletics activities

Students from KG to G5 are participating in athletic units at present. While they are all focused on running, jumping and throwing, activities undertaken vary, based on the age level.

When we have been inquiring into how to throw and jump further and run faster, we have used technology to help us in different ways. Video performances on the iPads allow the students to watch themselves perform, which is especially useful in slow motion. We have used apps such as Huddle Technique to watch in slow motion and highlight what we are doing - just like on the TV sports programmes. Recording and providing peer feedback is a undertaken with the older grades. 

Grade 4 to demonstrate their knowledge, had great fun this week using Flipgrid to record video responses to the questions "How can you jump further?" or "What techniques do you use to  throw further?", .  They managed to create 37 instructional videos this week, so it looks like we have many future youtube stars in the making!

As part of the focus on big numbers in Book Week, students in G2 have been using pedometers to record the number of steps taken during PE class. KG have looked at different ways to measure

Leadership in PE

In Grade 4 the year starts off with a Cooperation Games / Adventure Challenge unit. It is integrated into the homeroom unit on Leadership. In class the students look at different leaders and their attributes while in PE we have been looking at the practical aspect of leadership, culminating with a two day trip full of group leadership activities.

This has been achieved by setting up a range of activities that require teamwork to complete. Before the activity a leader was chosen for each group. Instructions on how to complete the activity was given only to the leader - part of being a leader is having the ability to communicate.

As the activities were taking place we would take some timeouts, where the different group leaders would come together and review how the teams were doing and think about what they needed to do when they got back to the group. Rather than focus on the actual solution to the problem, we would look at the leadership issues, such as how to get everyone to share ideas or giving different people roles.


At the end of the unit students reflected on what they had learnt about leadership.

Creating Yoga stories in PE

In kindergarten student follow a unit of inquiry in the classroom all about expressing their imagination. In PE students integrated with this unit through dance, but mainly yoga.

The yoga section started with the students watching and participating in yoga stories from Cosmic Kids yoga. Each episode tells a different story, which is told through different yoga poses. After the story finished, we would try to remember and practice the different yoga moves used in the story, as some times in the story they went a little fast.

The next stage was for the students to use their imagination to create a yoga story. First up was deciding where to go on the imagination journey and record it on their storyboard, either by drawing or writing. Students then had to choose a form of transport to get there. The middle of the story involved what they saw, before having to come home.

Once the story was completed the students then started to use yoga to represent the different parts of the story. Students practiced telling the story to each other before we videoed the story in front of a green screen. Then the students got to choose a background to match their story, before the story and background were put together using a green screen app and we had our own yoga stories videos - just like cosmic kids!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Gamification of Catching and Throwing Practise

In preparation for an invasion game unit with Grade 1 students we have been practising throwing and catching skills - basic fundamental skills. I had a look through some of my resources and they all have some pretty dry catching and throwing activities, that are not the most motivating, but they involve students doing lots of throwing and catching which is what I want the students to do. With older grades I do lots of 'Games for Understanding' activities, but here I wanted lots of skill practise without the added pressure of a game.

So I decided to do a bit of gamification of this basic skills. "The gamification techniques are intended to leverage people's natural desires for socialising, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, or closure"1. It should also involve some kind of reward - points; badges; or levels. 

In the catching and throwing challenge students worked in pairs. They started at one end of the gym with one of them sat on a trolly board holding a large foam ball. The other person pushed their partner to the throwing zone. Once there they had to complete one of two throwing and catching challenges. If they dropped the ball they had to start the throwing again. When they completed this they jump back onto the trolly board and went back to the start and switched over. When they had both completed level one, they could then progress to the next level, with a smaller ball. There were a set of levels to work through, each progressively harder, with the final level involving the students creating their own catching challenge. 

My observations from this activity, was that the use of levels to work through really motivated the students to work hard and the use of the trolly boards to get between the levels was also big hit! My aim was to get the students participating in lots of throwing and catching in an enjoyable way, which was certainly achieved. I feel that the use of levels also really encouraged the students to push themselves. In previous lessons, I felt that some students, despite the same choice of balls being available, were not really challenging themselves and were staying with what they knew they could achieve. This was definitely not the case in this lesson, where they wanted to work through the levels. 

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification