Time For a Conceptual Understanding in Physical Education

Standard

We enjoy educating, we embrace challenges and most of the time we do spread the positive around us. We are looking for inspiration in our quest for making the difference and often we  surpass ourselves.

We enter the students’ world and we explore mistakes in our lives. We allow ourselves to fail, often, and we are comfortable with not knowing what is about to happen.

We are vulnerable but we step outside the comfort zone. We believe we can learn anything starting by questioning everything.

We dream big.

According to Erickson (2014), ‘children need to grapple with the content, knowledge, and skills they are learning in order to reach conceptual understandings’.

Join me in this workshop to explore together how conceptual understanding will help students decode life and adapt their learning to different situations.

Time For a Conceptual Understanding in Physical Education

Reference:

Erickson. H.L. 2014. Transitioning to Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction. How to bring content and process together, p. 55. Corwin.

Advertisements

7 Concepts to Sparkle Student Creativity and Learning

Standard

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” Galileo

Two days filled with creativity have pushed me out the comfort zone and they have made me re-evaluate my tools and strategy when approaching the learning process. Within a group filled with passion and enthusiasm for this awesome profession we have influenced each other and came up with ideas, skills, and ways that shaped into awesome products through creativity driven processes.

Anne-Marie Evans is responsible for putting up this great concept of a workshop that pulls the best out of you. Thanks for the inspiration, Anne-Marie!

Some interesting concepts were completely new for me and they are getting a well deserved attention in my planning and day to day activity. The students response was nothing but enthusiastic when I started to apply some of the ideas taken from this workshop.

Tinkering. “Tinkering is fooling around with phenomena, tools and materials. It is thinking you’re your hands and learning Tinkering 2through doing. It’s slowing down and getting curious about the
mechanics and mysteries of the everyday stuff around you.”
Interested already? Read more about it here:  http://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/. Tinkering typically blends the high and low tech tools of science along with a strong aesthetic dimension that supports children’s and adults self expression.

Convergent Thinking. It Is the process of finding a single best solution to a problem that you are trying to solve. It is about judging options and making decisions. A convergent thinker is logical, objective, intellectual, realistic, planned, structured, and quantitative.

Divergent Thinking. It is the process of generating many unique solutions in order to solve a problem. The divergent thinker is intuitive, subjective, emotional, imaginative, impulsive, holistic, free-wheeling, and qualitative.

Design Cycle. The design cycle is fluid, the process is the destination.  There are four major components in the design cycle:photo

  • You come with ideas for the project and how you can put the project together.
  • Implement the project.
  • Develop prototype, test it, refine it, and hone it.
  • You reflect on what you have done.

Constructivism. It is described by Piaget as being the process whereby students constructed their own unique systems of knowing. The teacher should focus on this individual process of internal construction rather than standing at the front and spouting their own models. The learner is and information constructor. The information is linked to the prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective. The learner brings past experiences and cultural factors to a situation.

Constructionism. It is seen as a social process whereby constructs emerge from ongoing conversations and interactions.

Zone of Proximal Development. It is the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do ZPD 2with help. It is important how we can assist best that child in mastering more advanced skills and concepts.

I went back to my students and we have experienced various form of tinkering when inquiring into basic movement skills during the Individual Pursuits stand-alone unit. The outcomes quickly amazed me with an increased potential of creativity shown by our students.

How is your classroom creative? That was the starting point of this workshop and this is one of the questions that keep me excited about the ways learning shapes into unexpected student explorations of what we don’t have the courage to explore sometimes. I am totally motivated to keep finding the perfect answer to this question in the upcoming units of inquiry. The good thing about it is that I know it will take a while and it will keep me for sure out of my comfort zone. The zone where my students own their learning and they are connected.

Engaging Students’ Conceptual Mind

Standard

“If we can’t articulate it, how can we teach for understanding? By teaching activities?!?” – Lynn Erickson

How do we write teacher guiding questions? What do thinking classrooms looking like? What is the difference between an activity, and a performance  of deep understanding? These are some of Lynn’s most powerful questions we should ask ourselves.

IMG_8455

Good educators have always been concerned with what goes in a student’s mind. These educators are dynamic, forward thinkers, thoughtful, persistent and leadership orientated. They promote leadership by building capacities in others with the mindset of continuous student improvement. In the present days they spend more time with the kids than most other adult.

Spending two days in Lynn’s Erickson workshop it was a true inspiration at it happened in the beginning of the year when planning activity is high. I have spent the weeks after the workshop reading her book “Concept-Based Curriculum” and applying new ideas in my units or during the lessons. It is a continuous challenging activity that encourages higher levels of thinking and stimulates creativity.

Here is a short summary of what I consider is essential for me to improve on and put into action:

  • As knowledge continues to expand exponentially we must focus on the shifting to a higher level of concepts. The goal is to focus and process the information so it can be thoughtfully and efficiently accessed and utilized by our students.
  • We should teach for conceptual understanding and we should no longer assume that students are building on it. Our students must connect the conceptual understanding to supporting content.
  • The conceptual mind creates connection to prior experience and finds relevance. It works synergistically with the factual level of knowledge, and the strategy/skill level of process to develop the intellect. The conceptual mind sees patterns across examples which reveals deeper, transferable understandings. Through conceptual lenses we engage the conceptual mind.
  • Synergistic thinking requires the interaction of factual knowledge and concepts. Requires a deeper level of mental processing and leads to increased understanding of facts related to concepts, supports personal meaning making, and increases motivation for learning. It is motivating to use our minds well! Synergistic thinking stimulates higher-order thinking and leads to deeper understanding of facts, skills and concepts.
  • To develop the intellect and increase motivation for learning, curriculum and instruction must create a “synergy” between the lower (factual) and higher (conceptual) levels of thinking.

In a concept-based curriculum that is relevant and applicable to the world beyond the school our students exercise critical thinking.

  • When assessments are informative students build on strength, weaknesses, set goals and become owners of learning.
  • When social and emotional connections are made students develop divergent thinking, expressing thus authentically.
  • When they have 24 hours access to tools and resources, they express and communicate their learning.
  • Where there is a culture of creativity and innovation, the students own the learning and they create solutions.

As every other discipline the Physical Education has a conceptual structure. Most concept based of all my students are the pre schoolers. They are always excited about working with important ideas. I draw the inquiry from their understandings with the aim of developing a concept based thinking student. The main goal is to get them to transfer the concepts we use. I used to teach activities and I did mistakes as we all probably do but now I am becoming more aware of the fact that we need a higher level of pedagogy learning and “Concept-Based Curriculum” book is a great point to start.

Physical Education concepts to work with: movement, agility, behavior, weight transfer, autonomy, character, initiative, perseverance, resilience, self-regulation, trust, aesthetics, bio mechanics, body control, body form, challenge, competition, energy, flexibility, flow, growth, goal setting, improvement, leisure, mastery, overload, physiology, power, rest, spatial awareness, strength, stress, control, fair play, safety, team work, angle, space, action, reaction, endurance, speed, patterns, cooperation, motion, force, power, development.

Web Unit Planner completed with my colleagues during the workshop:

IMG_8456