Incorporating ‘choice’ in Physical Education (PE) has brought many positive factors so far, especially in the School of Foundation. The excitement from the students when they hear ‘Choice Day’ is indescribable. A lesson which I generally exercise towards the end of a School Term is now being used regularly. The regular occurrence stems from our Community Professional Learning Meetings, where the leaders have reinforced the importance of student choice in learning, choice in the direction, and activity within any given Key Learning Areas. So why not try this out in PE?
In PE, ‘Choice Day’ often involves students selecting from a range of sporting equipment such as skipping ropes, frisbees, tennis balls, bean bags, hula hoops, mini lacrosse sticks, and others. Students then have the lesson to play with familiar equipment, further develop pre-existing skills, explore new equipment and find out how it operates, while enhancing collaboration, and social skills with their peers. It is incredible the amount of positive aspects I see when this lesson is being executed. Here are some positive aspects that I can share –
Creativity. This was evident when students used skipping ropes to set up a ‘limbo’ game for their peers to go under. I have 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, students improvised, and made their own game utilising the equipment available around them.
Cooperation and Sharing. Students cooperated with skipping ropes, students were throwing & catching with tennis balls and bean bags, rolled various ball types together for a common goal, shared hula hoops, and worked together to utilise the longer skipping rope to allow others to jump over.
Individuality. Students had choice in what they wanted to do, and for how long. They can spend their entire time on one piece of equipment, and explore all the ways it can be utilised, or rotate around to all the equipment that is presented to them for the lesson. That is individuality. Students looked at the options that are available, and completed or performed what they are comfortable with, rather than doing a skill or a task, which may be difficult for them.
Behaviour Management. Students who usually require additional support, demonstration or instruction are confident in their ability to perform the tasks in the ‘Choice’ set up. Furthermore, the students who usually present misbehaviour are kept engaged for the lesson because, they had ‘choice’, and boredom over one or two main activities are avoided.
Teaching and Feedback. Choice Day allows me to scan and observe all students. This is important as it presents me a great opportunity to provide some teaching points or feedback to students who require it. It is valuable for me to move around to all children to provide support, guidance and feedback, to the skills that they are trying to learn, improve, or further develop.
Lastly, I share some photos with you from the School of Foundation students.