On Thursday, 25th of June, the following was said by a student in Year 1 – “This is the best lesson ever”. I hope this was said because today, I structured the PE lesson differently, and incorporated ‘student choice’ into the lesson. In our Community Professional Learning Meetings, our Leaders have said a number of times that we ‘should’ and ‘need’ to give students choice in their learning, choice in the direction and activity within Key Learning Areas. So that’s what I decided to do today.
I set up the lesson in four stations –
- A form of target game where students had to throw bean bags and land it in different hula hoops.
- Students could throw & catch using tennis balls and/or bean bags with a partner, or in a group of three.
- Hula hoops which students could attempt to hula hoop, roll to a partner (safely along the ground), or they could swing the hula hoop around their wrists.
- Lastly, they had skipping ropes for them to work on their skipping ability.
From this set up today, the following was evident – creativity, cooperation, sharing and individuality.
Creativity. This was evident when students used skipping ropes and set up a ‘limbo’ game for their peers to go under. I also witnessed a group of students holding hula hoops above their heads for other students to throw tennis balls and bean bags through. None of these activities were given to students as ‘options’ however, they improvised and made their own game utilising the equipment available around them – that’s creativity!
Cooperation and Sharing. Students cooperated with skipping ropes, throwing & catching with tennis balls and bean bags, rolling together for a common goal, students shared their hula hoops to give others a turn, and cooperated to utilise the longer skipping rope that was available for all.
Individuality. Students had a choice today in what they wanted to do, and for how long. Out of the four options (above) students could do one activity, two or all of them, it was completely up to them. Furthermore, they could spend as much or as little time as they wanted at each activity. This saw ‘individuality’ in my eyes as students looked at the four options presented to them, and completed the activities that they were comfortable with, rather than doing a skill or a task which may have been difficult for them in previous lessons.
Furthermore, students in Stage 1 who usually require additional support, demonstration or instruction were confident in their ability to perform the tasks in today’s ‘choice’ set up. I believe it was because they picked the activities or skills that they felt comfortable in doing. The students who usually present misbehaviour were also kept engaged for most of the lesson because again, they had ‘choice’, and boredom over one or two main activities was not there today.
Suffice to say that today’s lesson was a success! How do I know it was a success? Because this learning approach to PE was completed the whole day for Stage 1 – six different classes in total, and all showed positive expressions during and after the lesson. Will I adapt this method of learning to all of the students for the remainder of the year – ‘absolutely’!