PE PYP Job Alike – Constructing a Learning Community and Enhancing Learning Through Collaboration

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The Physical Education programme at Arab International Academy is adding strength to the educational values of our institution by placing emphasis on learning through play and focusing on purposeful learning. Our physical education teachers are curriculum designers and we are employing the Teaching Games for Understanding pedagogical approach, which emphasizes play, where tactical and strategic problems are posed in a modified game environment, empowering students’ agency in making decisions.

With the purpose of promoting and establishing high-quality of learning and creating a culture of collaborative planning, the Primary PE Department at Arab International Academy organized a job-alike event focused on Invasion Games.

Physical education teachers from the main IB schools in Doha attended, participated and collaborated in a grade 5 practical session that involved students in inquiry, play, critical thinking and problem solving. Group interaction and communication skills were practiced in a meaningful way by students who inquired into the invasion games category by playing, comparing and contrasting 4 different games. The students’ PE session concluded with an exit permit in which they expressed the outcomes of their learning in a written form by using a ‘Traffic Light’ strategy.

In the second part of the event, teachers planned and reflected on a comprehensive range of assessments and opportunities for learners to take action upon their learning. Developing conceptual questions that spark students’ interest was another key element of the session that supports the Teaching Games for Understanding pedagogical model. We have analyzed the strengths of our programmes and brain-stormed different ways to extend our collaboration beyond this event.

The Physical Education department in the PYP at AIA continues to focus on the progression and development of knowledge, understanding and skills and how students will make meaning and apply them in a variety of environments. Physical education in our school is more than just student participation in sports and games. Our students develop a combination of transferable skills promoting physical, intellectual, emotional and social development and they are provided with learning opportunities to practice, create, apply and evaluate them.  

As teachers, we are revisiting this key information about their learning both, horizontally and vertically, progressively increasing its complexity. Creating connections between what students know and the new learning, moving from simple to complex representations are features of a spiral curriculum, which is one of our strengths at AIA.

We are looking forward to promote collaborative practices at all levels and to co-construct learning, therefore we invite you to strengthen our learning community so that all its members benefit individually and collectively and contribute to our global success. Join our future events and let’s celebrate together learning through collaboration.

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!

Encouraging Questioning And Curiosity

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Encouraging Questioning And Curiosity in PE

“Questions are at the heart of inquiry. Effective learners ask questions” (Murdoch, K. 2015, p.56)

Reference:

Murdock, K. 2015. The Power of Inquiry. Teaching and learning with curiosity, creativity and purpose in the contemporary classroom. Seastar Education.

PE Postcard: Checking for Students’ Understanding

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As educators, we are responsible for learning and in order to check for understanding to be useful we need to look for effective strategies in our planning.

The PE Postcard is one of the great on-going, formative assessment I use with my students. I believe that the formative assessment serves to improve instruction and to provide student feedback and when used consistently, and used well, the great majority of students should be successful.

PE Postcard

PE Postcard 

We use the PE Postcard as an “exit-ticket” where students write about their learning for the day, or answer a question. In this grade 1 example we have asked the students to write a postcard to their parents, mentioning the skills and at least one of the PE related concepts that we have inquired about. In the current Individual Pursuits stand-alone unit we inquire using the following related concepts: Patterns, Development, and Performance. When the activity is done we are placing these postcards in their homework folders.

I was happy to see that most of them could identify the concept of Patterns through the learning experiences they have been performing.

What’s your strategy to check for understanding that you want to share?