Sports DAy,  Teacher Reflection,  Track & Field,  Uncategorized

Student Leadership and ES Sports Day

P1090788 by Paul O CC BY
Spring is in the air, the Cherry Blossoms are poised to burst into bloom and so our Elementary Sports Day looms close.  Last year I blogged about Sports Day ideas with Doug Gleddie and I wanted to share what we are hoping to do this year as part of a two or three year plan for evolving our ES Sports Day.
We evaluated our plan and day from last year.  We felt that although the students had a lot of fun, the day needed to align more closely with our philosophy of PE at YIS.  Now we don’t have a written down statement but the sentiment is that for our ES students we need them to inquire into essential elements of movement, to have fun doing this!  and that our activities are age and motor development appropriate.
Last year our ES day had been a culmination of a unit where students practiced Track and Field events at school before we bussed students to the local field for us to do the same activities all over again in competition between the House groups.  Our evaluation discussion centred around the fact that students were firstly repeating activities that we had chosen with no real links to inquiry about their movement or activity.  Secondly we felt that students connection to competition was not appropriate for all our our students.  We were watching students actively discouraging their friends from participating in events for fear that person would let down the team and lose the game.  And thirdly, our Sports Day runs on a Japanese public holiday, and we have almost every family show up for a day of cheering on their children.  This is awesome! but can be very overwhelming and there is tendency for parents be over-involved in activities and criticism of the teacher running a station (little Johnny threw an extra beanbag – you can’t count that!!!)

So, our solution for this year is:

Early Learning students to Grade 2 will not have a competitive day.  There will be maximum focus on participation and having as many turns at each station as you like and working collaboratively but also individually for success.

Grade 3-5 students will have a competitive day with each station set to have a scoring system where you can get 1, 2, 3 or 4 points based on different criterion but still the major focus is on maximum participation and fun.

Students will work in Class groups and will rotate through 10 stations (2 of them rest stations).  The stations will be easy to set up and run and will include equipment and a laminated card with instructions and a diagram of the set up.

Stations will be a mixture of individual events (eg. sack racing) and team events (eg. adventure challenges) to allow for different styles of leadership and learning to take place.  Scoring will be based on zones – if you are throwing an object for length – there will be 4 zones marked out – for example we will have 150+ objects thrown in by the class and then count up the number in each zone.

Students will not have done the exact game or activity before the day, so there is a newness factor to the day, not repetitive from PE class.

Stations will focus around three themes: Running, Jumping and Throwing and the stations will be a mix of these three areas.  We chose these based on the Track and Field skills we felt were important for all students.
After the station work, students will then take part in a relay activity where they will work with their class group to fill up a bucket of water.  Students will need to carry water from one place to another through an obstacle course carrying a small cone (that has a hole in it) of water.  Everyone will need to take a turn for the task to be completed.

Next Steps for 2016

Next year I would like to set up and run a unit with my Grade 8 students where they plan, design, create and run ES Sports Day.  Half of them will run the younger year group and the others the older year group.  I would like them to consider and use the Design Cycle to collaborate together and create this day:

  • Take on roles for success in the unit/day (eg. coordinator of the day; score keepers; station leaders etc)
  • plan and run the warm up (dance? tag game? equipment? music?)
  • plan the activities for each station – get the equipment and practice and
    • go to the PE classes or talk to the kids and PE teachers about their ES Sports Day unit so that they can find out what they are inquiring into and how they can incorporate those concepts and skills in their stations.
    • make a video that shows how to do each station
    • use QR codes on posters and possibly use an app like Augmentation
    • Brief the ES teachers and students
  • Come to Sports Day and run it with the students and parents
  • Keep score/tally the scores
  • Run the Relay races at the end of the day
  • Finish off the day
  • Take photos of the day, Tweet or use social media
  • Evaluate their planning based on the event itself

Eventually I would also like to use Grade 5 students to assist our ELC students as part of their active leadership too, but this also needs to be considered and thought out a little more.

I am sure that there are others who already do this – I would like to hear how it runs at your school and any advice you have to offer would be welcome.

A big thank you to the YIS PE department as well as Alie Quinn who share their great ideas and thoughts on this topic.

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