This guest post was written by Martyn Beaumont @cantersno15.
This is the first year I have only one GCSE group to oversee (I have two other A-level groups) and now they have moved in to year 11 I always find this first term an interesting one and one that sets us up for the whole year. Here are a few things I have recently been doing to start the year off:
This year group completed a mock exam before the end of term and the results were very much disappointing for a group that I have very high hopes for. They were unaware of their results so the first lesson back was a bit of a shock. I started with our summer results which were some of our best ever results, then put theirs up, not even close. I have spoken about this before so will not drone on about it but setting and resetting expectations at the start of every year is key. We all then wrote on whiteboards what grade we wanted to achieve at the end of the course and every pupil either put A or A*. Is this realistic, probably not, do I want them to think this is realistic, of course I do, so everything from now on has been reset and off we go.
The main focus of this term so far has been content and the topics of injuries and International sporting events but mainly different competitions.
In terms of injuries I have developed (and blogged about it here) how I teach this aspect of the course but this year I took it a little step further. Before I have given out one relatively easy song for the whole group to write lyrics to around the topic of injury, once it has been taught. This year I decided to give the pupils the choice of what song they wish to perform to and gave them a very free reign as to how they can approach.
Again the work produced, understanding and remembering of the topic was excellent with constant revision going on without the pupils realising for the best part of three lessons. Here are a couple of the songs that have been produced by my students. (I would just like to clarify that in one of the songs the students are talking about broken ‘ligga’s’ meaning ligaments, absolutely not anything else). I have also added my example that was played to the class as I would not set any piece of work that makes pupils slightly anxious (the recording bit) without attempting it myself.
2p table football competitions
This topic is a relatively simple concept in the terms that pupils need to know about international sporting events, the impact of these on a country, the history of the games and the different competitions. My main focus so far has been on the different competitions and I did this in lessons with the help of one of my own favourite old school games 2p table football.
In truth I stumbled across this by chance, I was due to teach table tennis but due to some poor weather and some practical KS3 lessons taking up the gym, I had to change the plan last minute.
Starting the chapter off was simple, group work with various questions about naming different sporting events, different sports etc. With the answers written up we then started to look at the format of the different tournaments and how they work. No surprises that all the boys could easily talk about leagues and knockout competitions and most have experienced them on a regular basis. None knew what a ladder competition was and very few could talk about combination tournaments. Having worked through a little bit of content of what they already knew (leagues and Knockouts) I left it for the next lesson to introduce the ladder and combination types of tournaments.
Next lesson I set up the room up as follows:
1. Single desks with a chair either side spaced out
2. 2p on the middle of the desk
3. Rules of 2p football around the room
4. Two 10 man ladders on the board
A quick explanation of how to take part in this type of competition and demonstration of the game then took place and I left them two it for a good 30 minutes. What surprised me is that 90% of the group have never played or even heard of this game before, shocking!! The next 30 minutes turned in to an extremely fierce and competitive ladder competition with even those that can at times be disengaged really getting involved. At the break we then started to talk and discuss format, advantages and disadvantages then completed a cheat sheet for them and carried on.
The next lesson, due it is initial success, I designed a combination tournament with pool stages, knockouts, trophy and shield elements using 2p table football again. I used the final ladder tournament results from the previous lessons to seed the competition and off we went. Again halfway through discussing and cheat sheets filled out and the competition continued. Finishing with a trophy final and a plate final with full on serious crowd support from all (this took less than 45 minutes to complete). To finish I did a quick white board assessment game and pleasingly all pupils could easily answer questions on the competitions they had taken part in over the last two lessons. Some slightly struggled when questions were about the original knockout and league content but when reminded it is similar to the combination tournament managed to make enough relevant points to answer the questions. Some may call this a big waste of time, some may say there are easier ways to teach this but if I am honest I don’t mind. We had a lot of fun, learnt all the content needed, remember (so far) all the content needed and I believe I found a way to ‘make it stick’. As an added bonus pupils had their eyes opened to an old school game away from mobile phones and Facebook!
In the next blog post I will be showing you the finished football tracking wall display I have spoken about recently along with a micro analysis exam paper technique I have been developing to help pupils (and teachers) clearly identify weaknesses and strengths in exam papers and content.