The final term and a look to the new school year….

This post was written by Martyn Beaumont @cantersno15

The final term saw all my concentration focused purely on my year 10 group. Year 11 have left and the exam completed so I had the time to start pinning down how I can take this group further in to dizzy heights of my expectations.

I have no issue with admitting that I have a slightly weaker practical group this year than I have been used to in previous years and this means I have to ‘find’ the best sports and best roles to suit my pupils. I am well aware of the scores needed to access higher grades on the AQA syllabus overall and will do everything I can (apart from cheat by inflating scores) and try every avenue to try and get every pupil to this score as I am sure a lot of PE teachers do. One aspect that I explored for the first time this year was and something I am going to talk about is the role of athletics organiser.

In its most simplistic form the pupil takes on the role of organising an athletics event from start to finish. One athletics discipline usually a field event involving at least 6 competitors plus a number of officials to help run the event. I was extremely sceptical about this when it was suggested to me but since I have completed it you see many pupils in a very different light, showing skills you did not know they may have possessed. Initially setting this up was also extremely easy and my class of 20 managed to get through it in just over the last 4 weeks of term.

Initial set up

Proposing this to the class was possibly the most difficult aspect for me to get my head around but I found an effective way to get the whole process started. We watched in total 10-15 minutes of the London Olympics field events (plus one track) with the brief of noting down anything that may be useful to the running of a competition. This started off with the very obvious but the more the group watched the less obvious ideas started to come to light. Off the back of this the next task was to create a picture (on A3 in groups) of what a good competition may look like. Some very good ideas proposed, some groups thinking of aspects that even I had not thought of.

I then went on to explain the concept of athletics organiser and we started to look at the AQA organiser template which can be accessed by this link. From here we then did a number roulette to decide places, then put all field events in to a hat (enough to cover the whole class) and pupils pick one that they are going to organise. This initially stops the whole class choosing long jump and copying each other but gets pupils really thinking about the whole event, especially if it is an event they are not comfortable with. Obviously if you were entering pupils for this role you would have them choose an event they are comfortable with but initially this works well.

Quite simply after this pupils are given the rest of the lesson and a homework task over a week to complete their organiser booklets for their own events ready for the competitions to be run over four weeks leading into the end of the term. I managed to complete 3 competitions with all pupils actively engaged in either the competitions as competitors or officials, the set-up, or the overall marking of the competition organiser role. I used two pupils per competition (on rotation) using the AQA assessment criteria (found in the specification) to judge the quality of the overall competition. This had been explained and shown to pupils during the explanation lesson and helped pupils engage with the criteria and take on board good aspects and aspects to work on. Overall this has been a very worthwhile four weeks as those pupils who at times I would not expect to be overall efficient at this type of role proved me wrong and gave me some serious food for thought when thinking about the four disciplines that they will be selecting to do. Just as a summary here are the big things for pupils to concentrate on for the competition:

1. Planning

Make sure the organiser booklet is quality, well planned and very thorough:

– What equipment
– Layout
– Rules
– Timings
– Safety
– Marshalls
– Signposts (saw a pupil do this in a colleagues lesson this year)

(The booklet highlights a lot of this and more)

2. The Welcome

This is an introduction to the competition for competitors and marshalls. Again this needs to be planned and well thought out, good quality detail is key. Competitors need to be briefed but so do marshalls on their roles (in detail)

3. The Competition

Know the competition inside out so it runs smoothly. It does not have to be a bog standard longest jump/throw wins as long as it is run efficiently. I have had pupils have combined total of all jumps wins. Another was a throwing knockout competition with a number of rounds and competitors being knocked out every two rounds as well as various other versions that have all worked well.

4. The Presentation

Similar to the welcome this needs to be well planned, with certificates and thank you to marshalls and more. This needs to be a good end to what has hopefully been an excellent competition

5. Confidence

As long as the pupils deliver with confidence this is half the battle won!!

Lastly looking forward to next year

I finished the last week of term with (god forbid) a full mock exam that the pupils were well aware of. This will allow me to see where my pupils currently are (combined with other aspects) and make planning for the start of September easier. I am currently in the process of marking them but with this in mind going in to September I have decided to take a bit more of an active approach in showing individual pupil progress overall within my classroom (I am not talking about the lessons here) acheter viagra a paris. Essentially I want pupils to know exactly where they are every time they walk in the room and although I would like to think they do already know this I want to clearly show it. I have taken some inspiration from my head of department and a wall display he uses to motivate/track his form group (which are KS4) in regards to their overall GCSE grades performance, we currently use the CAP8+ bonus score.

His wall display is a huge horse racing track with photos of his student on cartoon horses racing each other to a target score/finish line. With this in mind I am going to use a similar approach with my GCSE group but they love football so it we will have a football theme and them racing along a football pitch towards the goal (which will be A*). This will also incorporate the premier league fixture table I use for assessments that I have written about in a previous post. This will be a bit of fun but with a very serious element and hopefully show pupils clearly where they are and what they need to strive for. I will keep you posted on this when it is completed along with a few other ideas I plan to use, especially for the theory aspect.

Final term, what have we been doing… S.E.E boxes

With the final exam only a week away it is no surprise that the main focus of the last couple of months has been revision, revision and more revision. I have used various techniques including the casino week mentioned in my last post, along with a number of different games, tricks and tips (my favourite still being @ticktock80’s past paper poker). Obviously it is very important to make sure our students know the content inside out but if they do not know how to write this down in a coherent manner the content is useless. This is what I have been concentrating on a lot over the last month especially.

Having ran my first ever GCSE Revision Workshop (AQA) for Subject Support last week it was interesting to note that the teachers I have talked to and the feedback received from the session that all were very interested in the exam technique I use with my students, and this is what is detailed below. I know a lot of people use the PEE technique and although I am sure it may be effective I am not it’s biggest fan and developed my own (very similar) version that I find a little more student and exam friendly.

The exam technique I have developed is the I.S.E.E.M technique. Below is two ways of using it, first for the majority of the paper and second for the trickier 8 mark questions.

I: Identify what the question is asking you. What are the command words, what are the topic words and what do I need to link it to

S: State the key word you are going to talk about

E: Explain using any key terminology what or how the word you have stated effects the question

E: Example – Give an example linked to the question content (usually sporting participation or performance in AQA)

M: Marks – Have you written enough within you answer to satisfy the marks available

Although the I.M are very important, the most crucial part of this technique is the S.E.E and has been a major focus of mine in lessons. You can see the model answer below using the technique outlined above.

Q: Explain how individual differences can affect the amount of exercise that a person may participate in. (4)

The age of the performer may have a negative effect on participation levels. Different sports require certain components of fitness and as you get older some of these decrease such as strength and cardiovascular endurance. This will affect your ability to take part in sports that may require high levels of these such as rugby leading to a decrease in participation

The environment may also have a negative effect on participation, as if an individual lives in a rural area they may not have the facilities near them to take part. This may mean having to travel further at extra cost that the individual may not be able to afford, decreasing their participation level.

 

I have found that using this technique allows my pupils to access all marks available within the questions rather than skipping the odd one or two marks that are crucial to gaining the higher marks in the GCSE paper.

It is all well and good using this technique for the short answer section but we all know that the AQA paper is won or lost on the students’ ability to answer 8 marks questions effectively. Here is how I use the same technique to structure a good quality long answer question using S.E.E boxes

First of all the question must be planned using the STATE topic words they intend to use. I insist on having at least three of these if not four of these written in the margin of a paper. The pupils must then create three or four S.E.E boxes through their exam answer. The long answer structure should look something like this:

 

Describe a training method that a football player could use and explain in detail how they could also use the principle of overload to improve their fitness. (8) (full answer follows below)

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 21.52.30

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The football player could also change the type of training session he is doing to avoid tedium and keep motivation high. Lastly the player must make sure he does not stop training or the effects gained will be lost. This is known as reversibility

I have found that structuring the 8 mark questions in this way has helped pupils be more successful in gaining the higher grades and having no problems getting into the higher marking band (if they know the content of course). I use the sheet below in lessons to help my students develop these answers in this way. This may not work for everybody but since developing this technique this year the quality of answers in the scenario section have got a lot better. My three best tips for the long answer section are:

• Plan your answer using the STATE words you intend to use
• Include at least three S.E.E boxes within your answer
• Refer back to the scenario (this year Westshore or Miss Tears) in the example of every S.E.E box. You could name them S.E.E.L boxes to remind pupils to link back to the scenario.

I hope you find this technique useful and some feedback would be greatly appreciated. As I stated earlier, although I use all the different techniques to make sure pupils know the content of the course, content is useless without correct technique.

You can download a copy of a S.E.E. worksheet that may help your students to structure their answers using this link.

Thanks, you can contact me via twitter @canterno15 if you have any questions

Almost half the year gone – What we have been doing…….

This post was written by Martyn Beaumont @cantersno15.

My year 10 group have be flying through the theory elements of the course so far this year and I am a lot further ahead with this group than previous years (and I am not really sure why). After completing our last chapter which was circulatory and respiratory systems I used an old creative homework task that I have used before to assess their understanding, rather than an exam paper. I have blogged about this before (high expectation homework) and will not repeat this but thought I would show you some of the results. Each model is marked out of 20 with some excellent models and results again this year:

Coaching

Since the completion of this topic I have moved my year 10 group on to the coaching element of the course as I feel quite a large number of this group will be looking in to coaching as one of their four choices for the practical element of the course. I have experimented with a few ways of doing this over this term but the one below is the one I found the most effective of all.

 

Pupils to be set up into groups of around 4 or 5 and then each group given a number and each pupil given a number within the group (example below)

Group 1
Joe Blogs 1
Morgan Freeman 2
David Beckham 3
Peter Pan 4
Nelly the Elephant 5

 

I choose the sport (letting them know in advance) they will be coaching for the lesson and they are given an instruction card with a skill, drill and key points they will be coaching during the lesson. This is purposely done to take them out of their comfort zone as usually the sport chosen by me is not the majority of pupils strongest in terms of ability and knowledge. Pupils then have to coach the other members of their group through the skill and drills they were given for around 10-15 minutes maximum.  The key focus for me as a teacher is their ability to analyse what is in front of them and coach to make it better, something I feel pupils struggle with at times to do, although it is a key element of being a coach.

 

The lesson is completely run by the students, setting up of drills, explanations, demonstrations, feedback and all other elements. I work around the groups only ever speaking to the coaches during the time they are leading their session. Each coach is then debriefed by their own group (and an assessor) and then the next pupil takes over. An example of how this worked for a rugby lesson is below:

1 – Warm up drill – Rugby Netball

2 – Lineout Throw

3 – Rucking

4 – Grubber Kick

 

(Drill cards and key points in the slides below)

 

I also had two non-doers due to injury working as assessors of the coaches, working around each group commenting and writing down key points on the quality of the coaching. At the end of each small session, the assessors gave group coaches feedback back on two good points, 1 point to work on basis. This helped to develop the coaches who had just been, but also helped develop each future session about to take place. A worthwhile way of setting up the coaching element of the course as it gives a lot of opportunity for coaching to take place in a relatively short period of time.

 

My year 11 group are now into the final 11 school weeks of the course (before study leave) which can only mean one thing, revision, revision and more revision! I have used various methods over the years and have been looking to develop some further. Last year I used the excellent idea of @ticktock80’s past paper poker, this year I have decided to take it one step further. I created a casino revision week using past paper poker but also some ideas I have designed based on a few other casino games.

 

Revision roulette

I happened to have three roulette tables and boards that have been borrowed from friends to develop this idea. Basically very little set up needed, apart from a bank of questions and mark schemes and some knowledgeable pupils.

 

  • Pupils grouped in to small teams. Each team gambles on black and red but not the number.
  • Ball is spun on the roulette table
  • The colour it lands on relates to a topic, PowerPoint dictates this, the number it lands on relates to a question
  • Pupils must answer questions correctly to keep their bet, if they get the colour correct then they double their money.
  • If they answer the question wrong they lose their bets.
  • Answers are recorded on whiteboards and must hit as many mark scheme points needed to be allowed as correct

 

Revision 21 (stick or twist)

Based on the popular casino card game I have created a deck of cards (numbered rather than suited), but with a Jack, Queen and King.

 

Pupils main aim is get as close to 21 as possible while answering the questions on the numbered cards. They are playing against two other opponents and a dealer. If they get the questions wrong they are out of the round, lose their bet and made to quickly revise the given topic they got wrong while the others play on

 

If they manage to answer their questions and get closest to 21 as possible by asking the dealer for extra cards (sticking or twisting) then they win the round and double their money. Jack, Queen and King are difficult questions based of 5, 7 or 8 mark questions. This does take a little bit of ground work to get going but my first attempt at this game went relatively well, pupils enjoying it, actively engaged and lots of revision going on. Again, answers written on the whiteboards and checked by the dealers and myself.

 

The concept of the casino week was very simple. Each pupil is given an amount of chips at the start of the week with an objective to gain as much money as possible by the end of the week (which for us is three, one hour lessons). At the end of each lesson the chips were added up and recorded ready for the next lesson.  If they were working in teams then the chips are divided equally at the end of the lesson based on how much they have won. If they run out, they are given a contingency fund to start them back up again.

 

The schedule worked by playing roulette in the first lesson, 21 in the second lesson and finishing with the last lesson (and still the best game in my opinion) @ticktock80’s past paper poker. At the end of the week pupils had revised a number of topics in a fun and engaging way but recognised aspects of the course they need to revise further.

 

You do need a fair amount of poker chips and as our school used to run a poker fund raising event a few years ago, we have a large stash. This has been a very fun, active and competitive activity and one I will definitely be repeating with my A-level groups and Year 10 group later next year. Pupils seemed to have recalled a large amount of information, revised key topics numerous times and were working with past papers and mark schemes without the boredom that is sometime associated with them. I hope some of these ideas help, thanks.

Learning through play- GCSE PE Top Trumps

This guest post was written by Dave Woodward @dwoodward11.

I was invited to write this blog after tweeting about using tops
trumps with a Year 10 GCSE PE lesson. Everyone is familiar with the
concept of top trumps mainly used for long car journeys as a child.
The familiar looking cards are over 35 years old with well over 30
million packs sold. Top trumps cards range from Spiderman to Doctor
Who, from SpongeBob to Bart Simpson and from Hello Kitty to Koala
bears. So why not have some GCSE PE cards!!!

Lots of talk going around regarding lesson observation is about the
‘hook’ that inspires, motivates and enthuses students in your class.
What better way to enthuse but though playing games that the students
are already familiar with.

rsz_photo_1

The idea is simple. I had a template for the top trumps which I
adapted (from TES resources) to contain the 5 Health related components
of fitness. I then added stars from a variety of sports (I even
included myself 20/20 for everything of course…), and added the
components of fitness out of 20 for each athlete.

rsz_image_1

I have found that students don’t like being put on the spot for
definitions but when it is on their terms (within the game) they don’t
mind failing and then trying again………it is after all what games teach
children to try again and again and again.

 

I wanted to make the components of fitness (both HRE and SRF) in to
the sub-conscious of the students. So the keywords and the key terms
are second nature to the students, and they are recalling them without
realising almost by accident. I have been pleased with how well the
idea is working. The students have been most surprised with how much
they do know, and are now making up their own rules for what happens
when people have the same score. I want to build on this top trumps by
doing a set for Skill Related Fitness components. I always try to draw
on real life games/situations to enhance the learning experience for
the students, even as I write this blog I have seen a Christmas advert
for the board game ‘5 second rule’ I wonder how I can implement that
into my teaching……..

rsz_1photo_3

I hope you have found this blog useful and please do get in contact in
you want any more information

11 weeks in….. What have we been doing.

My last post was all about the classroom side of GCSE P.E and some simple ideas that could be used to engage and make lessons that little bit more fun. I will endeavour to do this this again towards the bottom of this post but this time I will focus on a few practical elements.

 

Although the practical element is worth 60% of the total course myself and my colleagues do not spend a huge amount of time on it. Most of our pupils have at least two good practical elements with the majority having three. What we focus our attention on when we do is the fourth element to maximise the score as best as possible. The options I have looked at recently and how we teach them are:

 

Health Related Fitness

 

As much as I shouldn’t say this, HRF is looked at by many as an easy option to be able to secure a relatively high score. How we teach it;

 

With no explanation apart from it must be a circuit of 8 stations, loads of equipment such as cones, ropes, stop watches and some very light dumbbells are left in pile. Pupils divided in to pairs, given a plain piece of paper and given 20 minutes to create it. After 20 minutes they must submit their plans to another pair who will then give feedback based on a success criteria sheet. Once feedback has been received pupils adapt and improve, then complete it for the first time with their own suggested timings.

 

This completion allows them to assess the quality of the circuit, timing, stations and exercise issues. Homework is then completed to improve the quality of their circuit based on their own self-assessment. Within 3 lessons the circuit is completed to a high standard, completed around 6-8 times, proformas completed and for some a good quality practical assessment in the bag.

 

Officiating

 

Can be used for various sports but we firstly concentrate on a very generic football officiating scheme to find those that show the confidence, communication, personality and other characteristics to become an official (pupils can be taught to be an O.K. standard official, but I am a firm believe they need certain characteristics to access the higher marks for any sport)

 

We ask pupils to learn the rules of football prior to the scheme being taught. We then place them straight in the role, officiating their peers in small sided games for around 5 minutes each. At the side of the pitch an assessor (another pupil) writes down general comments about performance, this is completed until a good number of pupils in the lesson have had a go. At the mid-point we then feedback the general points made and talk about what makes a good official, key aspects and what we need to start focusing on. This helps both the official and the assessors gain a much better understanding. Over the period of around 5 lessons every pupils is then given the opportunity to officiate, assess, receive feedback and officiate again. During this time I will ask certain players to cause problems of the pitch, talk back to the ref, surround them (I do not condone this!!), appeal for everything, break certain simple rules and generally be a pain, putting extra pressure on the official and testing them. This gives us a very good indication of those that could potentially become an official in other sports as well as football. This does also helps some pupils practice and enhance some elements of the skill and game based parts of the football assessment.

 

I do not focus on the skill elements of any of the practical elements of a sport in GCSE P.E until later in year 11 as I believe this should be enhanced outside of school, playing regularly for teams both school and weekend clubs (although we will look at it a little in the pupils core P.E lessons.

 

A few more recent theory ideas

 

Secret A-Level Lesson (very good for challenge)

 

As some of the topics inevitably cross over from GCSE to A-level I decided to take a gamble and teach my group A-level content on stress and arousal without them knowing. I started with an A-level 7 mark question, brain storming on the table. This developed on to a video of the Haka vs Wales and the thoughts, feelings and emotions being felt, developing further on to cognitive and somatic signs etc.. We took it further by analysing graphs linked to Drive theory and Invented U-theory to discuss the issues that it has with performance. We then attempted the same A-level question, peer assessed, used a visualiser to show model answers (from the group). I then built a tiny bit of suspense about having a secret to tell them, revealed they had just completed an A-level lesson, meaning the content learned was almost above A* standard. I then asked them to complete some four mark GCSE questions on the same topic, safe to say they all nailed it, even those that quite often struggle to access the higher marks. This was a very worthwhile exercise and one I will most definitely will do again as I was really surprised by the response of the group to the challenging content.

 

Circulatory System

 

Cone Task

Although I have blogged previously about the homework linked to this lesson topic I also have a few very simple ideas to teach it. Firstly, ask pupils to draw on a whiteboard what they think happens to blood in the body. You then move this on by getting lots of different ideas from you group. I have always found that verbalising the whole process (almost for a whole lesson) with the direction of whiteboards and pupils works better than insisting on note taking for this topic. I then go out to the field or gym or any space available, give groups blue and reds cones and see if they can then set up the circulatory themselves. There is always the odd inevitable issue but the process on verbalising then visualising seems to work well. It is also very engaging, especially in the middle of winter when it is turned into a competition to get it completed correctly as fast as possible to avoid frostbite!

 

Play Dough Films

A colleague taught the lesson through the median of play dough. Once he had taught the theory aspect he then set a task of completing a short film using play dough, pipe cleaners and any other median to show understanding. Very engaging, very detailed commentary and good quality films showing clear understanding were produced.

 

Red and Blue Words

Very simple task to complete and set up. A series of key terms on laminated A4 sheets related to the circulatory system are coloured red and blue (oxygenated or deoxygenated). In small groups of no more than four, they are given the task of sorting them in to the correct places on a make shift circulatory system, usually a series of tables. This can then be turned in to a competition with time limits, knock out comps or just a simple recap starter or plenary.

Hope these ideas help, any questions feel free to contact via twitter @doverno10

How Blogging can aid GCSE PE Performance

This guest post was kindly written by Michael Davison (@davisonpe)

Within my role of a PE Teacher at Whickham School, I teach a number of GCSE PE and A-Level PE groups viagra pour homme prix. For some of these groups, however the time between lessons (when I see them) is quite long. For example for one of my GCSE PE groups, there is a week between lessons, however for another group there’s actually 12 days between theory lessons (we operate a two week timetable). Because of this reason and because a big focus for the school this year is Independent Learning, I have started to use student blogging to support independent learning and learning outside of the classroom.

 

The blogging area I have set up is provided through VLE platform within school. The VLE is a tool which was introduced 2 years ago into the school and I have found it very beneficial in sharing resources and sharing lesson plans / notes with pupils. However one thing I hadn’t done before now was to get pupils producing blogs. Within two weeks of student’s writing blogs however, I am convinced this is a positive thing to do!

As I said previously the main things I wanted to focus on with the students were to develop their knowledge between lessons and focus on independent learning.

Therefore the first blogging task I set for my groups was to Blog a summary of each theory lesson, which has to be posted 1 day before the next lesson.

In this Blog students have to highlight all key terminology from the lesson, key subject knowledge areas, and apply this knowledge to sport specific situations.

For small groups (A-Level) I make every pupil Blog a summary, where as for large groups (GCSE PE), the Blogs are completed on a rota basis with 4/5  pupils blogging each lesson.

The task has been really beneficial so far with the quantity and quality of the blogs being really high. The pupils are also now making much clearer links between lessons in terms of content and how subject knowledge can be applied. They have also been highlighted as being beneficial for those pupils who may miss the lesson as they can log onto the VLE at any time and catch up on the key points of each lesson. In fact due to the positive response and quality of these blogs I am now even thinking of extending this type of task to practical lessons!

 

These blogs though, don’t have to be on a VLE, they don’t even have to be on a computer programme! If you feel your pupils won’t engage in Blogging, why not get them to write summaries of the lesson on A5 Summary cards (Plenary Task?) and stick the best ones on your classroom wall. As you go through a lesson cycle the key points of each lesson will build up over time and offer a fantastic revision source for the group.

 

To extend student blogging further and to promote independent learning within all the pupils I teach, I am now getting pupils to focus on writing their own articles/blog based around a current topic from the world of sport which interests them. These topics do not have to be linked to their GCSE or A-Level subject knowledge in anyway but can be something that they have independently researched, read about and gave their own opinions about. I feel this type of task is not only promoting independent learning but it also gives the students the skills of justifying and explaining their own opinions, which can extremely valuable in examinations. From a personal point of view I believe it also engages students within the subject at a higher level so that they start to become immersed in their learning when in the classroom, hopefully leading to gains in attainment and achievement.

New group, new start, what we have been doing……

This guest post was written by Martyn Beaumont. You can find him on Twitter @doverno10.

This year I have taken on a new year 10 GCSE group, I also have a year 11 group, all using the AQA syllabus. Here are some of the things I have been doing to get my groups off to the right start.

 

Just before we start here is a little bit of background. I am lucky, I am 28, I teach in a relatively good Grammar school, although economically not a typical grammar school, I work in a small, very tight knit department (3 of us for 850 pupils). I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from in my opinion two of the best PE teachers around. We have rubbish facilities, we teach in a terrible room that fits 15 pupils but we cram in 20. Although I own an Ipad I am not a big fan of technology in the classroom or on the field, I am a big fan of good solid teaching, using simple but effective measures, enjoyment is key, just teaching consistently good is key! I am a big supporter of @PE_TOD and all he and his alter ego stand for, pupils write on paper, do not have a spell checker or apps and have folders to put work in. Ultimately pupils will have to write with a pen and paper in an exam, so why not in the classroom.

 

Here are a few tips and ideas (I do not claim to be all my own, many are learnt from my colleagues or others) that we use this term in our classroom to help in the teaching of AQA GCSE P.E.

EXPECTATIONS!!  

Expectations underpin absolutely everything I do; I set them very high, keep them very high and wait for the pupils get the message. I am very consistent and make sure I follow all expectations through, I am honest, at times brutally honest but sometimes I feel pupils need this.  I ignore school data and targets early on regarding pupils and ask my class what they want to achieve in two years. When collectively they ‘choose’ an A as a minimum target we can then move on. I met with my new year 10 group before the summer holidays to set them a summer project, to set the expectations and let them know what is coming. Completion date was made for just before the start of term to see who understood the expectations and brief. Out of 20 I had four fail to hand it in, not bad but would have liked a full house, but it set the tone straight from the off. Does this always work, probably not, but I always say set the bar high and see how close they can get, you just might be surprised.

 

 

Premier League Fixture List

 

This works like a premier league season and is a very simple but effective technique to increase motivation for higher grades. A fixture list for the whole year (season) is made with all pupils playing against each other twice (blue bones fixture generator works well). A fixture can be a mock exam, marked homework, mini-test or anything with a grade value. If a pupil wins the fixture they get three points, two for a draw and obviously none for losing. Points are added up throughout the year and the league table shown on a regular basis. This creates competition for higher grades and competition between pupils which is always healthy. Termly prizes for top of the league, most points gained and other awards are also given.

 

Whiteboards

 

I use whiteboards almost every lesson, they are great for group work, great as scrap paper, but more importantly great for assessment and assessment games:

Assessment games

 

Back to front – all pupils stand at the back of the room with a whiteboard and pen. Each row of tables is a level. Fire out questions, for every question they get right pupils move forward a level until they reach the front row (in our tiny classroom that is 3 levels). At the front row they start scoring points for every correct answer. If they get one wrong, they go back a row. Great little competition, pupils enjoy it, great for assessment, revision, better understanding.

 

Keyword FollowOne pupil starts off writing a keyword on his board, shows out the group, person next to him must explain it, then write their own, moves around the whole class. This can be done in small groups as well as whole class, just as effective.

Pointless (colleagues invention based on the TV show) – based on exam questions and mark schemes, fire a question out there, pupils have to write as many points as they think are in the mark scheme, but are trying to get the hardest marks available (usually those lower in the mark scheme). Each point on the mark scheme is given a points total, most obvious are worth very little, hardest worth a lot. Points then added up over the rounds as the game moves on.

 

Team Knowledge Off– Two teams in single file lines facing in ready to answer questions. Works well with topics that have a lot of information such as the participant as an individual. Ask them the question, then a player from each team, in order must name and explain points (very similar to verbal tennis). If correct pupils go to the back of the line and the game continues until one of the teams get it wrong, points awarded each time. Works well as a starter or plenary task.

 

The weakest linkbased on the game show, my own invention, I have blogged about this before so will not explain again, but it is one of my favourite games.

 

Snowball – Use a small soft toy, soft ball, screwed up paper, anything really as a leader to initiate question time. Throw it to pupil, ask the question, they can then throw it to another pupil and ask a question. If a dodgy group get them to throw it back to you then you throw out to a pupil of their choice or another pupil.

Other practical ideas that you can use in the classroom that have worked effectively for certain topics are:

The participant as an individual

 

Contact list roulette – (bit of tech but only minor and again a colleagues idea): pupils work in pairs using a mobile phone and the contact list (bbm messenger list, wats app list, phone contacts list, all work). One pupil closes eyes and scrolls up and down the contact list until you say stop. They then write the names down of the person they have landed on and repeat this 5 times or more. Once complete it leads in nicely to conversations about the differences between the people on the list, who, what, why etc.., great introduction to the chapter.

 

Mental + Physical Demands

 

Injury set up classroomafter teaching all the content based around injury and prevention I use this task as part of an assessment. Send a group out of the room and set other pupils up into a disaster area with numerous injuries and scenarios (clues written on paper laying on the victims/scenarios). Group enters the room and must diagnose, treat, make recommendations and more. This is then repeated a couple of times with different scenarios and victims for each group. They also have a de-brief after the disaster regarding how to prevent the injuries happening next time.

 

 Lastly for now, exam question drilling (this may make the whole post unpopular).

 

I introduce exam questions and mark schemes to all my groups as early as possible. Firstly because they are not used to it, but secondly and honestly, it is the be all and end all of all we do. If pupils cannot recognise exam questions, answer them, analyse them, mark them and scrutinise them, they will ultimately fail an exam.

 

For my new year 10 group I set a group of questions for them to attempt at least once a week for private study lessons. We go over answers as a starter in another lesson. We will attempt two full ‘mocks’ including short and long answer questions a term involving all the content already taught (currently two chapters). This gives me a huge bank of data as the mocks are micro analysed. This allows me to spot weaknesses in content and technique of a class, my teaching and more importantly individuals.

 

My year 11 group have a very similar scenario and are very used to it, and love the amount of feedback they receive as a class and individuals. All mocks are micro analysed to get all the marginal gains possible. The difference with year 11’s (and this happens later on for the year 10’s) is we start to create individual pupil mock papers to attempt based on pupils weaknesses, whether it is content, technique or both. This is a fair bit of work but works fantastically well. I learnt this from one of my colleagues who took it even further this year by creating green, amber and red papers for all pupils in his class based on the data collected, it was brilliant stuff.

 

This is just a few simple and practical ideas that we have been using this term. You may have heard of them already, you may already do them. They are enjoyable, easy to implement and almost tech free (I am not saying tech is bad thing just not a big fan). I will be writing another blog post near Christmas with a few other ideas that we will be using, probably based on the practical elements, hope this helps!!

 

Using Google in GCSE PE

Over the last few months I have been looking into the capabilities of using Google as part of my teaching to help improve results within GCSE PE. Within the last two years there have been many resources available to try and enhance learning, which includes, Edmodo, Socrative, the use of twitter and school blogs.

 

Each one of these has its advantages and disadvantages and each one has its own individual strength. With this in mind I began to look for a more all rounded solution. One where pupils can easily communicate and share their ideas but also be one where work can be checked quickly and easily.

 

Google has tripled free storage space, across Gmail, Google+ and Drive, bringing the total to 15GB. This is a serious move by Google as it places the company at the forefront of cloud based solutions with institutions working to tight financial constraints. Having trialled the use of Google Drive, I thought I would highlight some advantages of using the platform.

 

Advantages of using Google Drive

 

  • Access files anytime on any device with an internet connection.
  • Work offline with documents.
  • Share files/documents with others and collaborate in real time.
  • Share folders with students and receive and feedback on assignments.
  • Allow read only access on documents and share with students as resource with no photocopying.
  • Save a document in a variety of formats.
  • Works with other Google Apps to provide platform for forms, surveys, projects.
  • Save to GoogleDrive with two taps of an icon or clicks of a mouse.
  • Search files in Drive for name or keyword.

 

 

Google Drive provides a platform to organise and enhance workflow for teachers. The most obvious example is how quickly resources can be shared, annotated and collaborated upon. A shared folder with a student could contain assignments, screencasts and resources that could serve to form a digital portfolio and a reference point for teacher and parents. In my opinion, the fact that we can now share more storage space for free, places Google Drive firmly ahead of Dropbox. The main advantage of Google Drive is the ability to comment on pupils work, for them to respond and resolve the comment, but then for that learning conversation to be recorded as evidence. This is a fantastic resource for teaching and learning and has been a success so far in the trial period.

 

As with other cloud based solutions, there are a number of disadvantages to using Google Drive. Not least the requirement to sign up students via a Gmail account and the testing question of the whole school solution. However, as we make our way with cloud based storage, I can recommend giving Google Drive a try. With 15GB for free what have you got to lose?

 

Sharing is caring and one of the most powerful features of Google Drive is the ability to share. Users can easily share documents, presentations, tables, graphs and spreadsheets by simply changing the visibility options in the sharing settings of Google Drive. But what if you want to aggregate all your documents into one document and share it with others (probably your student). Google Drive provides you with that solution.

 

What is a shared google document?

 

A Shared Google Document is a feature embedded within Google Drive that allows users to create folders to share with other users. These shared folders can contain any type of media ( text, images, docs, files, PDFs, spreadsheets….etc )

 

How can I use Shared Google Docs with my students?

 

Here are some of the ways to use this feature with your students :

Create a shared folder for your class. In this folder share with your students :

  • Class assignments
  • Class announcements
  • Grading reports
  • Reading materials
  • Resources related to what they are studying
  • Videos, and tutorials and many more.

 

No more lost work, lost folders or missed work due to being absent from school. All the work and resources they need will be stored in one place for them to be able to access. The capabilities of collaborative work with partners and small groups is endless.

 

Google Drive is not just a great resource to use with students. Why not try and integrate it into your PE department to enhance the collaboration between staff. Use the sharing capacity to produce collaborative presentations, worksheets etc, that all members of staff have some input into.

 

With the impact of @PEgeeks could it be possible to create these presentations collaboratively with input from teachers across the country. This way producing ‘super’ documents for students

 

Google+

 

Google+ is a fantastic way of providing communication between people. It is very similar to Facebook and also Twitter. However it doesn’t have the 140 character limit that Twitter does.

 

How can it be used with PE?

 

The excellent thing about Google+ is that you can add people to different groups (these are called circles). When sending a message, which can include text, pictures, web links and videos, you can select who you wish to be able to access the message. Within school you can add different circles for your different PE groups. e.g. GCSE PE, Year 7, etc. This way pupils in the GCSE PE circle will only be able to access and view the information that is sent to this group or circle.

 

The other strength to Google+ is the ability to set up communities. These communities are private groups where only members of the group are able to access the information. These are also good for specific groups such as BTEC and GCSE groups.

 

Overall their are many different ways to enhance the learning of pupils. Many of these have similar traits and there is no particular right or wrong method, it is the one which works best for you and your pupils.

 

The best solution would be to use a range of methods and pick the strengths of each method. Google have produced a fantastic set of resources for teachers and Google+ and Google Drive would be part of my technology package alongside Twitter.

Death by Past Paper Question and the Birth of Past Paper Poker!

This guest post was kindly written by Paul Taylor @ticktock80.

For as long as I can remember, Summer term or more specifically April – June, has meant two things for students embarking on their GCSE or A-level exams, copious amounts of revision and infinite boredom!  While I would like to tell you that this doesn’t happen in my lessons, I can’t.  In fact the monotony of the last 9 years has finally broken me!  How is it that I spend all year planning and delivering lessons to engage and enthuse my students to be passionate about my subject, making their learning experiences fun yet efficient, only to get to the final hurdle, where they experience a slow and painful death by past paper questions! (PPQs). The time where their enthusiasm should be at its peak has become the time where they find themselves on the slippery slope to disengagement – Nightmare!  Surely this is the educational equivalent to ‘pi$$ing into the wind’?

This year that had to change, if not for the potential that continual focus and engagement has to offer in the lead up to an exam, but for my own sanity! I sought out support from the PE department at Penistone Grammar School, (PGS) specifically Ben Dowle (@dowley8) and Kate Bancroft (@klbancroft88) to help ensure that this year the ‘silly season’ of revision and exam preparation didn’t follow the familiar and universal default setting of:

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Now at this point, I’m sure some are thinking that there isn’t a great deal wrong with that model and I absolutely agree.  However, the first phase of the chain is where you win or lose, where you engage or disengage, where you become efficient or inefficient in their revision.  The rest of the chain is spot on and if you throw in a few prizes/sweets (‘spice’ if you’re from Barnsley) then not only are you laughing, so are the students #engagement!

 

The ‘spice’ became the focal point of creating something engaging and in this moment Past Paper Poker was born!  The ‘spice’ were to be the poker chips and now all I needed was someone who actually knew how to play poker! Cue @dowley8!  Ben was more than happy to educate me and the students how to gamble!!!  I jest, however, without this understanding it would have undoubtedly not been as effective.

The game is very simple and the ability to adapt it for a variety of different class sizes (@haleytaylor82 with 50+ GCSE PE students, @PCrookPGSALC with 30 GCSE PE students) makes it all the more appealing.

Ben and I put students into teams of 4, presented each group with a dry wipe board, dry wipe marker and a sealed envelope with their chips/spice in, we then played a YouTube clip of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. This went down like a ‘sack of spuds’ but we enjoyed the subtle link!  “What we doing today sir?” was asked as they looked at the sealed embossed (sticky label really) envelope full of spice!  At this point, offering our best ‘poker faces’ we set out explaining the rules of Past Paper Poker! The presentation below can be used to help explain the game. The slides can be downloaded from here.

Now if you cast your mind back to earlier in this blog where I made reference to a process of PPQ revision, you remember, the part where I made excellent use of Microsoft’s ‘Smart Art’, the point I made was about getting the first bit of the chain right and being creative about how the questions are asked.  If you get the format right, the engagement will follow.  Past Paper Poker certainly addresses the first link of the chain and consequently engages students.  Recently my # PETaL_TM buddy Ben Horbury (@TheBenHorbury) gave Past Paper Poker a whirl and was impressed with how students became ‘unconsciously engaged in revision’.

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While I genuinely believe that students must access revision that directly links to the examination, and use material that the examination board produce, the manner and variety in which we give it to them should be broader to prevent students decelerating going into their exams and ensure they are ‘peaking’ at the right point.

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The idea of avoiding the ‘infinite boredom’ when accessing PPQs has sparked a whole new approach to past paper revision at PGS with other games such as ‘Past Paper Pass the Parcel’ (we love alliteration at PGS), ‘Past Paper Hide and Seek’ and ‘Past Paper Spending Spree’.  More to follow on these!

 

To wrap up, I am not saying that these will work for you, I’m not saying they will result in better grades for your students, but what I am saying is they will be more engaged, and enthused at a time of the year where engagement is vital if we are to heighten the chances of them fulfilling their potential.

 

Try it, you might like it! (If you don’t at least you’ll know you don’t!)