PE Display Ideas

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Physical Education is not the easiest subject to organize boards, but is definitely attainable with dedication and  clear purpose in mind. 

This year I moved to a new school and thanks to the principal’s vision we have a display policy in place that regulates the way we communicate students’ learning, actions and outcomes. The PE department has allocated a generous corridor with plenty of pin boards where we have the opportunity to showcase and advocate for the quality of our programme. In this post I will share some examples of displays that fit best our learning context.  

Grade 3 Health Related Fitness

I want to start with a display where grade 3 students express their suggestions and actions that they will take as a result of their knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in the unit. Inspired by Kath Murdoch’s book – Power of Inquiry – I have deepened the questioning empowering students to communicate their thinking effectively. To be concise, I will just point out what we have displayed, mentioning that some displays are work in progress, as they are part of a learning continuum that we aim to illustrate.

Essential Agreements

This is a practice that I enforce at the beginning of each year with the cohorts of students that I teach: we discuss together what makes our PE environment safe and enjoyable for learning. We reach consensus, then students write down their group statements and we all sign the poster. We define ourselves as a team of learners and we often go back to our agreements to refresh or highlight their importance. 

Approaches to Learning

We post the approaches to learning in both English and Arabic, and we add relevant pictures for each of the five skills categories. We have a similar display with the IB Attitudes .

Play with Purpose

This is the core of our activity and the posters communicate and illustrate snapshots of the Teaching Games for Understanding approach that we employ in our school. I created collages that evidence students’actions and the intended learning outcomes.

PE Assessments

On this board I choose students’ reflections, games creation outcomes and learning  continuum, that evidence the formative and summative assessments of various units. As other displays exemplified in this post, this is a dynamic one that gets refreshed on unit basis. 

Wonder wall

Finally, I got to organise the Wonder Wall and give it the attention it requires. I made a poster with each grade and the name of the unit. Our students write their questions on post-its during or after group inquiry, pre-assessments, provocations and exit permits. We answer all the questions and we encourage students’ agency by informing our planned and taught curriculum.

Exit Permits

By using the white board we invite students to communicate how they feel about their learning, through Smiley Faces and Traffic Light tools. I find these tools effective at the end of the sessions: some students help organizing the equipment while others communicate their learning. I also encourage social and communication skills by asking them to share their learning with a peer (Think. Pair. Share.) or by letting them justify their reflection. 

Ideas and suggestions

I would be happy to hear about your ideas and suggestions, or even more, to see how you advocate for the quality of the PE programme at your school. 

In my next post, I will be sharing a personal reflection following Kath Murdoch’s workshop that I attended last month. I intend to share some of the pedagogic approaches, strategies and tools that can enhance our activity in the PE environment. 

Have fun and keep it simple!

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Tinker Target Games – Summative Assessment

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Say ‘YES’ to PE #FitWork!

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The purpose of #Fitwork is to empower our students to transfer knowledge and understanding beyond school’s environment and to initiate meaningful actions that may enhance their physical activity level and change lifestyle behaviors.

The first monthly PE homework in grade 4 will be aired this weekend. Initiated by @mrobrienman, the activity is planned by the PE educators (@FitnwitPE,@physedsais@BriarJohns) involved with this grade level and supported by their collaboration with Home Room Teachers. Here’s the activity for this month:

#FitWork 1 – Dare or Bear!™ FitnwitPE

What shall I do? Call an animal of your choice (bear, frog, crab, etc). Make sure you can imitate and demonstrate its movements. Animal sounds are allowed too!

How long? For 3 minutes, everyone in your family has to use the moves of the animal you called: going to the kitchen, moving to the pool and back or scratching the back on the door). 

How many times? Each family member can call ‘Dare or Bear’, twice a day. Feel free to use it in key moments: getting up and out of bed,  MRT waiting line, movie time or when playing in the park.  

What else? Add a twist of fun by being as creative as you can when deciding the rules of your ‘Dare or Bear’. If you don’t Dare (animal walks), then choose to Bear (consequences: 5 Burpees, 10 Jumping Jacks or let your imagination loose). 

Remember:

  • Be clear, concise and demand commitment. 
  • You can only be famous for 3 minutes!
  • Have fun and let us know what went good or…what needs            improvement!

Next #FitWork, in a month time! Until then, have fun and keep it simple!

 

Games Are Serious Fun! What About Gamification?

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In gamification elements of computer gaming are applied to non-game context with the purpose to increase motivation and engagement of students. “Gamification tends to take the use of game outside of a defined space and apply the concepts to items like walking up steps, tracking the number of miles run, or making a sales call” (Kapp, 2012).

From Kapp’s point of view, gamification is not the same as games. We tend to associate it with badges and leaderboards, but it should be more about fun and play into the experiences we create. Zombies, Run for example is a game that motivates runners to train harder and do more miles. Experienced educators introduce games and play into their strategies, and digital gamification is an extension of this practice.

Gamification provides a context where students can apply their knowledge and skills which focus on a learning objective. In this context, games should have a clear goal for the players, as well as a learning outcome.

On the other hand, as an educator, you really have to take time and plan the lessons introducing gamification very throughly, because you don’t want your students to take it as an invitation to play video games, but to understand that they need to withdraw strategies from them and apply them in real life, trying to free themselves from conventional ideas and find that special feeling that any idea can be possible with the right twist. As an educator, you always have to have in mind both sides of a story and take in consideration also those who see the downside of a subject, like Selwyn (2014). Selwyn has a more critical view over gamification, mentioning that there is a risk of promoting short-term engagement in tasks, with an increased risk of longer-term disengagement.

With this in mind, this year I have built a website for my grade 5 students that was intended to maximize their physical activity throughout the two sessions a week we spent together. As an element that motivated their actions I have included Sworkit, a fitness app that influenced their behaviour in an active way. They encouraged each other based on their results, they built on the skills they were practicing during the unit and they acquired knowledge. All these outcomes were highlighted in the Slack chat they performed, showcasing the drive of innovation they have faced. These outcomes were closely linked to the central idea of the unit: “We can develop and maintain physical fitness by applying basic training principles”.

After this experience, I am thinking that we can use various insights and creative ideas to design our own, interactive learning experiences. Games and gamification are everywhere nowdays, and games are created much easier than before. Google Glasses or Nike+ are products that became common, therefore the need to build on adding gamification to our learning environments.
Looking back, children were learning through simple play, whereas, with the present mobile technology, they have the world at their fingertips.

Turning game based into knowledge is challenging, but not impossible. Gamification brings the consequences of not reaching the next level and puts the learners into an emotional state where they have to take action, to reach a certain number of points or a different level, and this drives in them a behavioural change. When thinking about the most effective learning moment in our lives we remember the frustration and hardness of the tasks and then the “Aha!” moment. In these cases, over time, gamification reinforces learning and changes behaviours.

Kapp (2012) evidences three core elements of gamification:
First, a visual notification of the progress is visible, and learners like to see progress. Students interact with each other, asking about a tough question or a task. There is an excitement of knowing something from the whole topic, and this is the second element. Third, students are learning at their own pace, so a personalisation of learning is allowed and amplified by the feedback that keeps motivation at high levels.

Before we develop gamification to better foster learning, I believe that is important to ask ourselves these questions:
What are the three reasons driving this game or gamification?
Is the emphasis placed too much on fun aspects of the game and not enough on the learning?
Does the game play include an opportunity for reflection of the learning?
Having these aspects in mind may enhance the quality of the learning experiences we create.

How do you enhance your students’ learning through gamification? Many of us are already integrating it in the experiences we design, but do we always keep the educational purpose beyond the positive effects that gamification offers?

I enjoyed watching this two videos that highlight Kapp’s vision over gamification:

References:
Kapp, K. M. (2012) The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Case-Based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education.
Selwyn, N. (2014) Chapter 5 of Distrusting educational technology : critical questions for changing times.

Let the P.E. continue…

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The modern Olympic Games are showcasing the best athletes from all over the world, every four years.

The new academic year has just started and we will continue to engage, empower and experience for another year, nurturing future new stars in Physical Education.

We’ll take each day and make the best out of it; come and be part of our team! Let the PE continue…

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Encouraging Collaboration and Brainstorming

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I have been using Padlet for a while, but this year I am really fortunate to be in a school with a 1:1 iPad ratio. This enables any educator to explore the knowledge and understanding of students in so many useful ways. It takes just a few minutes to record students’ thoughts and to have evidence of their learning!

Padlet in PE can be visualized in this short clip.  Its efficiency is really high, since the discussion is left open on the wall and the students can comment, provide a learning source or consult various viewpoints. In a formative assessment, student can create a wall and brainstorm relating to a certain topic. All of this can happen synchronously, in the classroom, or asynchronously, after the session is over.

 

Power Your Brain

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Stimulate your brain with physical movement to enhance its activity. I enjoy seeing my son hopping on the waveboard every morning. The school encourages this practice by providing students with a special park. Extensive research about the connection between the phsysical activity and the brain can be found here.