So, I survived the year (hurrah!).  I knew it would be tough, I expected it to wear me down, but with a job secured in my host school and a whole heap of positive memories from my first year ever working in a school, I can’t deny that it was worth it!

What’s been tough?

Teaching up to 90% alongside weekly lesson observations, mentor meetings, constant evaluations, masters’ level assignments, updating individual child profiles and what feels like a daily average of a billion hours of planning.  I said goodbye to my weekends right at the start and often found myself trawling through text books, Ofsted documents and government policies late at night.    Doesn’t everyone enjoy the National Curriculum as bedtime reading?

Without doubt, the hardest part has not been one individual task, but fitting it all in.  In the beginning, planning one lesson took me an eternity.  Even once I was happy with the lesson content I would have seventeen goes tweaking the learning objective.  I’ve made sincere apologies to my social life, fitness regime, bank balance (returning to student-ism, eeek), diet and boyfriend.

What’s made it easier?

Apart from surrounding myself with positive people, remembering the reason why I took this on has been crucial to my endurance.  I wanted to be a teacher for a long time for the love of working with children, helping them to thrive and being part of a constantly varied working environment.  Of course the holidays are pretty peachy too!

Making use of the support around me has been crucial to my success.  Worrying about the standard of PE lessons is something I haven’t done, thanks to using the PE HUB scheme.  Saving me time and stress, it’s been reassuring to know objectives and assessment opportunities are already in place.  I’ve been observed teaching PE on several occasions and feedback has been excellent.  Tutors noted engaging tasks, good questioning within the lessons and a fluent progression of activities.  The literacy and numeracy links are what made me look really super though!

So I say farewell to teacher training I look ahead to my  with year 6 (apparently the school trusts me!).  I’m not worried about it; I call it nervous excitement.  Nervous that the hormones in year six will be the end of me, but excited to embrace the challenge!

What is assessment for learning in PE (AFL) and how can you use it to support your pupils progress?  AFL is an assessment process used in all subject areas but lends itself very well to PE.  Assessment for learning is formative by nature and therefore involves specific processes to be truly effective.

Features of formative assessment

Task orientated

Assessment for learning is task orientated, and this makes it perfect for PE.  Set your pupils a task which shapes the learning to come.  An open task, yet outcome led and involves principles and skills you wish the children to develop.  Throughout the task encourage your pupils to analyse their progress, what’s working and what’s not?  Make sure this analysis is in line with the desired outcomes, e.g. if the task is based on attacking as a small group, try to shape all feedback around this principle.

As a teacher, you should facilitate questioning that is thought-provoking for pupils.  Try and provide feedback that is in line with the desired outcomes.  In the example above, it is counterproductive to comment on their defensive skills when you’re trying to develop attacking principles. Pupils should be encouraged to take part in peer evaluation and self-assessment to improve their work.

Example assessment for learning task

Suitable for net/wall game such as tennis. The aim of the game is to score points by making a ball bounce twice in an opponents area. Play the game 1 v 1 on a long narrow court over a bench. One player feeds the ball over the bench and the second player needs to either catch it before the second bounce or return the ball with their hand. Players score a point if their opponent does not catch/return the ball before the second bounce.

Development Using a larger ball, changing the size of the court or remove the bench.

Challenge Hitting the ball to return or rallying to get the ball back and forth.

What good looks like

When working in an AFL framework, children need to know what good looks like.  What are they trying to achieve?  How can they take steps towards good?  What are the key teaching points to achieve a good performance of the desired activity or task?  We can show children what good looks like through a combination of;

Encourage children to think for themselves

A key feature of AFL is children taking control of their own learning facilitated by the teacher.  The thought cycle below can be used by both the teacher and the pupils to devise the steps to success.

 

Try assessment for learning in your next lesson; you may be doing it already!  Check out AFL resources to support your teaching or sign up for one of our packages, which contains assessment for learning in every unit of work — wishing you the best for your next PE lesson.  Share with us what happens you can find us on Twitter @thepehub or on our Facebook page.

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Children running around with smiley happy faces does not make a PE lesson good.  I was told this while shadowing an observation of a primary colleague.  This statement is something I’ve reflected on many times.

Teaching a good PE lesson is as refined as any subject,  but is not a mystery.  This blog will look at some of the areas that help us to teach PE well and the pupils to make the progress they need while having children with smiley faces!

Pupils are engaged in activity quickly in a good PE lesson

PE lessons are short and so are children’s attention spans.  Harness your pupils’ natural enthusiasm by getting them on task quickly at the start of a lesson.  If your main objectives require more lengthy explanation, then do this after a simple, fun but relevant starter activity.  Pupils can get their breath back and will be more inclined to listen. Other benefits of quick engagement in activity include:

Learning activities are differentiated

In a good PE lesson, all children are working towards the same outcome, how they achieve this is through effective differentiation. Pupils’ ability to achieve in PE is related to not only their physical ability but mental capacity and emotional understanding; we call this head, hand, heart.

Consider these factors when planning any activity.  In general, I advocate pupils of similar ability working together.  However, there are times when a mixed ability is more appropriate.

A good PE lesson can be differentiated by using the STEP method.  If we change the Space, Task, Equipment or People involved in an activity, it can increase the chances of success for those taking part.

An example of STEP in use would be swimming widths; the objective might be ‘swim one width without feet touching the bottom’.  The beginners would require armbands and both hands on a float to propel them successfully from one side to the other.  More experienced swimmers may require only one hand on a float to support their crossing.  The teacher would modify equipment by pupil need.  To learn more about the STEP principle check out our related blog.

Pupils are making progress

Children are improving.  Improvement does not just mean becoming physically more proficient but also meeting other areas of the national curriculum outcomes such as engaging in competition, working well with others and developing a deeper understanding of healthy active lifestyles.

What does progress in PE look like? Pupils are performing against progress markers.  It is important to consider what these progress markers look like over an activity,  a lesson and longer term.  Pupils must be aware of how they can make progress and describe and show this to others.

Pupils can link learning

A good PE lesson means that pupils can draw links to things they have previously learnt; which does not mean that they can reiterate what they discovered the last lesson, but can draw parallels in more sophisticated ways.

Linking learning could mean making comparisons between activities such as discussing an aspect of defending in gameplay in both netball and football.  Or another example, children can suggest that they could develop their work in dance by trying a concept that worked in gymnastics.  Linking their learning is a crucial aspect for pupils to acquire the knowledge to lead a healthy active lifestyle now and into their adulthood.

Time on activity

There is no substitute for it, time on activity is essential when learning new skills, developing mindset and honing interpersonal skills.  Unfortunately, teacher-led input can be as high as 70% in some PE lessons, which takes away from this activity-based learning.

To develop and master skills children must be able to try, fail, repeat and refine.  Teacher intervention should be only when necessary and to the pupils who need it.  Avoid at all costs stopping the class and sitting them down to labour a point.

Before you stop children, think, is what you’re about to say or show going to add to their learning or can they find out for themselves with a few prompts or through trial and error?

Aim for 20% teacher speak and 80% activity time.  A few ways to help you achieve this are:

There are other useful hints and tips I will share in future posts about what makes a good PE lesson, but for now, give these ago.  Wishing you the best for your next PE lesson.  Share with us what happens you can find us on Twitter @thepehub or on our Facebook page.

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Recently my friend ‘had Ofsted’, and the usual stress ensued at her school.  My friend is a good teacher, in fact, a great teacher, and her school know it.  Listening to her talk about the stresses and strains of the event I was left to question what makes a great teacher.

I regularly speak with this friend about her classroom experiences. I enjoy hearing the developments, the successes, failures and everything in-between of her pupils.  But what makes her a great teacher is what she considers to be a success, and how she goes about drawing out this success in her pupils.

Listening empowers you as a teacher

She listens and listens deeply.  She’s never told me this, and I’ve never seen her teach, but I know it’s what she does.  I can tell because she knows exactly how to support the pupils to progress.  She can tell you all about what her children do in and out of school and the things they enjoy and are worried about.  This helps her teach excellent lessons.

Listening is a skill

Ever been with a friend for a coffee and left thinking, gosh all I did was talk about myself?  I’ve done it.  It’s a horrible feeling and makes you feel a bad friend and a little bit selfish.  The same thing is true in teaching, even though we have the best intentions.  We spend a lot of time talking and very little time listening.   We expect the children to do all the listening and then regurgitate the past hour on to paper or through demonstration.

Stop, Look, Listen

To listen we need to ask questions.  We need to create space to watch pupils on task to listen to their concerns or help them to solve their problems through trial and error.

PE is an outstanding opportunity to develop your listening skills as a teacher.  PE and after-school clubs can help you increase your observation of the pupils;

The simple stuff.  But it takes practice, maybe start with listening to your friend or colleague over that coffee, I know I shall!

 

 

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Physical Literacy is now common talk amongst teachers, both primary and secondary.  However, there are some mixed messages about what ‘physical literacy’ is and what it means in a school context.

The IPLA defines physical literacy as;

“the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”  (IPLA, 2017)

Can Physical Literacy be taught?

The short answer is ‘No’.  Physical Literacy is not a sport or activity area such as hockey or dance.  Therefore, physical Literacy is a by-product of exposure to many and varied physical challenges. These can range from simple to the complex.  Exposure to physical challenges begins at birth and carries on throughout our lives.

How children become physically literate

As a concept, we cannot teach physical literacy because it is not a specific skill (see IPLA definition above).  It is layers of physical competencies built up from birth and continuing throughout life.  The most significant window opportunity for children to develop their physical literacy is between the ages of 0 and 7 years old.

How to support the development of Physical Literacy in schools

The key is lots and lots of opportunity through PE lessons and beyond.  Develop a varied and progressive PE curriculum (explored further in next blog) made up of both indoor and outdoor activity.  Provide before and after school clubs with a mix of formal and informal sessions.

Above all, allow for physical challenges, both team and individual.  Furthermore, encourage active breaktimes, incorporating trim trails, playground games and small equipment. Every child should learn to swim, consider developing this area even if your pupils have had their statutory teaching.

Think motivation, confidence, competence and understanding when planning PE lessons and other activities for your pupils.  Certainly, the conversation surrounding physical literacy and schools’ contribution to children’s development will continue and is an exciting area for debate.

“Crucial questions, or conflicts, arise when an abstract concept such as physical literacy is put into the educational context for learner mastery and the assessment of the mastery of the concept in its entirety…physical literacy is far from a neutral or simple concept.”   Physical literacy in the field of physical education – A challenge and a possibility, Suzanne Lundvall

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So, I survived the year (hurrah!).  I knew it would be tough, I expected it to wear me down, but with a job secured in my host school as a School Direct Trainee and a whole heap of positive memories from my first year ever working in a school, I can’t deny that it was worth it!

Challenges of the School Direct route

Teaching up to 90% alongside weekly lesson observations, mentor meetings, constant evaluations, masters’ level assignments, updating individual child profiles and what feels like a daily average of a billion hours of planning.  So, I said goodbye to my weekends right at the start and often found myself trawling through textbooks, Ofsted documents and government policies late at night.    Doesn’t everyone enjoy the National Curriculum as bedtime reading?

Without a doubt, the hardest part has not been one individual task, but fitting it all in.  In the beginning, planning one lesson took me an eternity.  Even once I was happy with the lesson content I would have seventeen goes tweaking the learning objective.  I’ve made sincere apologies to my social life, fitness regime, bank balance (returning to student-ism, eeek), diet and boyfriend.

What helped

Apart from surrounding myself with positive people, remembering the reason why I took this on has been crucial to my endurance.  I wanted to be a teacher for a long time for the love of working with children, helping them to thrive and being part of a constantly varied working environment.  Of course the holidays are pretty peachy too!

Making use of the support around me has been crucial to my success.  Worrying about the standard of PE lessons is something I haven’t done, thanks to using the PE HUB scheme.  Saving me time and stress, it’s been reassuring to know objectives and assessment opportunities are already in place.  I’ve been observed teaching PE on several occasions and feedback has been excellent.  Tutors noted engaging tasks, good questioning within the lessons and a fluent progression of activities.  The literacy and numeracy links are what made me look really super though!

What’s next

So I say farewell to teacher training I look ahead to my NQT year with year 6 (apparently the school trusts me!).  I’m not worried about it; I call it nervous excitement.  Nervous that the hormones in year six will be the end of me, but excited to embrace the challenge!

Bryony Raine

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It might seem unusual to be writing about engaging boys in PE when the focus tends to be on keeping girls involved.  But it has long been established that girls and boys learn differently (M. Gurian, 2002) and this applies to PE lessons as well.

It can be extremely useful to have a few simple techniques up your sleeve to ensure boys are getting on and staying on task during their PE lessons.  This engagement will lead to better progress and ultimately creating a lifelong love of physical activity and sport!

Talk Less

This is standard for all teaching whether it be boys or girls and we should be aiming for 10% teacher speak. It is recognised that boys are not as good listeners as girls at the same age, being approximately 2 years behind.

Get boys active

Focus boys on the ‘doing’ part of the lesson.  Boys tend to veer towards action so include quick, simple steps in your delivery to allow them to carry out a task as soon as possible.

Challenge boys

Ensure there is plenty of extension ideas for each activity/task/skill so that you can challenge your learners.  ‘Can you do this?’,   ‘Now try that’ will keep them focused and engaged.

Include competition

Many boys thrive on competition, even if it is just against themselves.  Ensure all lesson allow for some kind of competitive element e.g. can you do more?  Can you go faster?  Can you work together to do better? Etc.

Of course we know that it is not as simple as saying boys learn one ways and girls another, but it is important to be mindful of some of the differences between genders.  Of course there are girls that love competition and everyone should be challenged in your lessons!!

Attempting to include some of the techniques described can help mitigate some of the low level behaviour issues boys’ display, allowing everyone in the class to do better.

For further plans and exciting schemes to help deliver PE for boys and girls why not subscribe to one of our lesson planning packages for your school?

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There are 5 key principles of gameplay when it comes to attacking and defending in games.  Some games such as football take this further with 5 principles each of both attacking and defending.

By familiarising ourselves with the 5 basic principles of gameplay in PE we can teach with a deeper understanding and support pupils to develop strategies and tactics in their gameplay.   They can also help us make sense of some of the skills/tactics suggest in planning resources.

  1. Width in attack

Placement of players across the width of the pitch, this forces the opposition’s defenders to space out and leave gaps/space to attack in to.

  1. Width in defence

Defensive players spread across the width of the pitch in an attempt to cover all areas when the attacking players have possession

  1. Depth in attack

When a player attacks, place another team member behind them, this means that when an attack at goal or shot is not possible the attacker with the ball can pass back to their teammate which will potentially open up a new scoring opportunity.

  1. Delay in defence

As a defender, you want to attempt to slow down your oppositions attack (delay) and this can be done by positioning yourself in front of the attacker (between them and the goal!). This slows down the attacker and buys time for the rest of the defence to get back and support.

  1. Depth in defence

As in the attacking situation, a fellow defender provides support by positioning themselves behind the first defender; this provides support if the first defender is beaten.

If you are currently teaching invasion games, have a look at your planning and see where these principles apply.  Can they help you develop your questioning, or supporting a task in which pupils need to attack or defend?

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The STEP framework in PE was developed to support teaching and learning. Using STEP is an easy to use approach to adapting, differentiating and extending PE and sports lesson. STEP has been highly promoted over the past 10 years including being used in PE teaching resources and CPD courses.  Children use STEP when leading others in programmes such as Young Leaders or Sports Leaders. The reason STEP has gained in popularity and has been used in so many different ways is due to its simplicity.

What is STEP?

Space

Where the activity is happening
E.g. modify the space by increasing or decreasing the area in which a task is to be performed or changing the distance or areas in which to score points.

Task

What is happening?
E.g. modify the task by changing the demands, the rules of the activity, the number of times the child is to repeat the task, teaching cues, direction/level/pathway of movement or length of time to complete the task.

Equipment

What is being used?
E.g. modify the equipment by changing the size of the target, level of equipment, amount of equipment, height of the equipment or the arrangement of the equipment.

People

Who is involved?
E.g. modify the people involved by having children work alone, with a partner, bigger teams, smaller teams, as leader or follower, on different activities, or in a small group.

Maybe the more confident gymnasts could be jumping from higher apparatus or a devleoping group of netballers could be challenged by playing on a bigger court. Why not try a few of the STEP principles in your PE lessons this week and see what results?

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“We spend the first year of a child’s life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There’s something wrong there.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

How we teach PE and School Sport

This quote got me to thinking about how we teach PE and school sport. For some time now I have been of the belief that in PE lessons we don’t allow enough time for children to experiment and make mistake.  Children need to discover, play and generally spend time on a task when learning new physical skills. This time and the physical process of trying, attempting, failing and succeeding are essential to making a child physically literate.

Confident teaching

It takes a confident teacher to step back and allow a child to make a mistake several times before stepping in to guide or wait and watch them finally succeed.   As teachers, we need to be brave and let children shout at one another until they realise this doesn’t help them get more passes in a game.   We must resist the urge to give the answer and allow children just that extra bit of discussion time until they can solve the problem themselves.

Benefits of allowing pupils to play

“But we just want to play” is a phrase often heard from the mouths of pupils in PE, showing their frustration at what they see as constant interruptions to their fun. The challenge for us as teachers is to guide our pupils to learn through play.  Pupils should see every activity as play and the following skills and knowledge they acquire as making their play better. With the introduction of the new National Curriculum, we have never been freer!  As teachers we should foster children’s natural desire to get up and walk, run, jump, to play.  As teachers, we should support pupils to communicate with others through games and physical activity and to make it a lifelong passion.

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