Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Student Voice & Planning - Under Construction

After reading Karen's post about feedback from her students at the end of a project, this encouraged me to reflect on my planning process and share how I too, am trying to include student voice in my planning.

Over the holidays I developed a brief unit outline for a Year 10 Exploring Substances unit, brainstorming the major topics I would like to teach . I teach six Year 10 Health classes, which are somewhat streamed, but I don't have time to develop six different units. I decided I would need to differentiate along the way with specific learning activities instead (such as adding in extension questions for the higher level learners, or changing word for the lower literacy learners). I also had designed the outline on my own, and really wanted the students current knowledge and interests to be included in the unit outline too.

Because I have around 140 students to cater for, I decided the easiest way to formatively assess students knowledge was through the use of a Google Form. As below, the Form asked a series of questions related to the topics I was interested to teach the students. From the students answers, collated into a Google Sheet, I could quickly see where the students had gaps in their knowledge (e.g. classes of drugs) and where students had greater knowledge (e.g. basic understanding of addiction). 

I then asked students to send me a personal email explaining what they would like to learn about during the exploring substances unit. I, like Karen, find it difficult to motivate students to share their thoughts honestly. Many of the students said 'anything' or 'whatever you want to teach', rather than taking this an an opportunity to have their say in their learning. This is something I am trying to change slowly.  I made the below Wordle to illustrate the most common words students used in their email requests, as majority of the students did flick me an email. 

After reading through student responses on the Google Sheet and reading each email, I used these to reshape my unit plan to suite my 140 learners in Year 10 currently. Although the unit is not individualised for every class, and definitely not for every student, the unit provides me with a skeleton to teach from, and is a great base for next year.

Similar to Karen, I will be sending out the same Google Form at the end of the term as a summative assessment of learning, and will also send students another Form to provide feedback about the unit. I am hoping by the end of the term (5 more lessons of Health), students will feel more comfortable to express what they would have changed/liked more of. Their feedback will support the Exploring Substances unit for next year, as well as their unit next term.

I feel it is super important for me to try and differentiate between classes and learners, but with so many classes this year my priority is trying to develop skeleton unit plans which can be built upon, with greater student voice in the future. As the unit plan is all over the place at the moment, I will share some of my skeleton units later in the term!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Our Muscly Bodies

As previously posted, in 11PE we are currently exploring human anatomy. After the skeletal system, we then learnt about the musculoskeletal system.

Last year I taught Year 12 and 13 PE, and throughout the anatomy units I realised the students had a considerable gap in their knowledge. Many of the students had taken Year 11 or 12 PE in the previous year, so would have learnt about the bones and muscles, but unfortunately could not recall much of the previous learning. As a result I knew I needed to spend lots of time building students confidence and competence in Year 11, in hope to support progress moving into Years 12/13.

I have been trying to include activities which encourage students to recall the bones and muscles, but also apply their knowledge so that they are thinking a little more in depth, and also hopefully activities which they enjoy! I found an activity on Twitter where students wear jumpsuits and draw on the muscles and bones of the body, so we gave this a go yesterday!

By having students work in small groups to create the musculoskeletal system, I could quickly see which students needed some extra support and who were more confident. I liked being able to work with students one on one or in their small groups, in a relaxed environment, where they were really learning! By actually seeing a life size version of the musculoskeletal system, which they created, students were actively engaged in the activity and asking one another lots of questions. The discussion and collaboration between the students was incredible to see!

After the tracksuits, we moved outside to build on knowledge of the bones and muscles, introduce movements and revise muscle pairings. Simplistically, for every movement, there are always two major muscles (minimum) that create this movement. These two muscles are called the agonist or the antagonist, the muscle is either shortening or lengthening respectively. Additional muscles which support the movement are called synergist muscles.

The class were given chalk and asked to 'chalk their sport'. I gave the three groups one joint each (knee, hip and elbow), and asked them to think of one part of a sport where that joint is used, then label the joint, the movement and the bones and muscles (including the agonist and antagonist). Like the jumpsuit activity, I was able to discuss with students what they were creating in their groups and could easily identify who was confident. To extend the students a little further, I asked each group to explain their drawing with their peers including which muscle is lengthening and which is extending. 

I really enjoyed this lesson and feel confident the students all learnt at least one new thing, and many felt more confident with the application of anatomy. Moving forward I am looking forward to starting biomechanics soon (e.g. Balance & Stability/Levers) followed by exercise physiology!

I was also observed by Anne Sinclair for this lesson for additional evidence towards my registration. To see Anne's feedback, please head hereAdditionally, please visit my appraisal site if you would like to see any of my other evidence.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Restoring Relationships Through Restorative Conversation

Near the end of Term 1, I heard from some of the other beginning teachers about a PD they were receiving fortnightly at school. The teachers were mostly new to the school so were offered an opportunity to work with RTLB on site to explore PB4L teaching in practice. This is the first year the opportunity has become available, so we did not receive this additional behaviour management support as first years last year. 

I had a bit of a fear of missing out, and the PD sounded like it was a great place to discuss ideas and techniques of how to manage behaviour positively. So, I leapt into the PD this term!

The first session was about lunchtime duty - something which is not regularly discussed. I remember thinking on my first duty last year "what am I actually supposed to be doing?" To be completely honest, because no one ever actually told me, I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing until this PD discussion!
Simply, we should be scanning the area, moving unpredictably, and interacting with students. Many of the group discussed duty as a role to prevent misbehaviour to occur, but holistically is it about ensuring all students feel safe and are safe in your area. This means affirming positive behaviour which is modelled, rather than always focusing on behaviour less preferred. If you would like further on this session, please read Cheryl's post (our PCT facilitator).

Our second session for Term 2 was focused on the structure of a restorative conversation with a student following misbehaviour. Two acronyms for the key components of a restorative chat are below.

I had a moment yesterday with a student where I had the opportunity to try and put this structure into practice. After taking the time to have a conversation with him after he told me to go away and shut up, I felt the chat went well. I took my time to give the student the opportunity to reflect on what happened and then explain what/why he was possibly disrespectful/inappropriate (i.e. to think about his behaviour, rather than me telling him what he did 'wrong'). After attempting to use the above steps at the end of the conversation he apologised (which I felt was sincere) and we discussed how he could have talked to me respectfully about what was going on at the time, rather than taking things out on me. He even told me he really wants to learn and he knows that I can help him, but he was stopping that from happening! He came into class today, and although wasn't where I would quite like him to be yet in terms of progress, he was considerably different to yesterday (in a positive way!). I really hope my attempt at a restorative/PB4L conversation sees long-lasting effects and benefits!

Looking forward to seeing what else we discuss/explore in these sessions in the future.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Exploring The Skeletal System

This term in 11PE we have started our 'Move That Body' unit, exploring anatomy, biomechanics and exercise physiology. I really enjoy teaching these topics because I find the body so fascinating! We have just finished learning about the skeletal system, and have started to explore the musculoskeletal system. 

I have tried to be creative with the activities we do, to ensure students are confident with the names of the bones (and eventually muscles). We have played Simon Says, played Anatomy Arcade (Whack-A-Bone and Poke-A-Muscle) and students created their own skeletons and labelled them. For this task, students were given free access to the store room and asked to create a skeleton and then label the bones on Google Drawing. 

Please see three examples of student blogs sharing their skeletal systems: Autymn, Kori-Lee and Tyler.

As one of my goals this year is to increase my use of technology into my teaching, and recently I reflected the need to have more tech in PE, I have been looking around for some ideas. Anatomy particularly lends itself to some interactive websites including BioDigital. The students were given about 20 minutes to look around the body in the 3D human body and were incredibly engaged. As I did, the students were amazed how they could zoom inside the body, and take away/add different layers of the body. Biodigital allows the viewer to explore more than the muscles or the bones, which are the greatest focus in our units. I wish I had more time to explore other parts of the body, particularly the nervous system.

Virtual/Augmented Realities are becoming bigger in education, so I would like to try and become more familiar and confident with them, so I can include into my teaching. Last year Ashley explored Anatomy 4D and I also played with Google Expeditions at the GAFE conference in the holidays, both great VR tools. PE Geek also blogged about Anatomy 4D, encouraging me to include this interesting tool into my 11PE class for further revision, and an extension of learning. I am also looking forward to including a Google Expedition of what happens to the lungs from smoking cigarettes into my Exploring Substances unit in 10Health.