YIS Elementary – Team Red Dragons (1P) with their Middle School Leaders
A few months back I posted about the hopes for our ES Sports day this year, and yesterday we had a wonderful day out with our students. I wanted to share with you about the day to encourage more schools to consider a student driven day.
We started 10 weeks in advance to the day, taking 10 minutes at an ES teacher meeting to explain that the day was coming up and would be a little different to previous years days. We didn’t talk specifics, but rather what we were hoping the day would be about and that more information would come soon.
We then spent a few weeks devising the layout of the day and putting all our materials into place so we were ready for questions from any segment of the community! We then booked a meeting with teachers a month before the actual day and we told them specifically about the day using a Google Slideshow and a Google document that included the following information:
- Date and times for each day (we had a ELC – Grade 2 morning and Grade 3-5 afternoon)
- Map of the layout of the venue
- Activity names and description of each event
- Timetable of the day – program of events
- All contact information of the day
- Taxi sign up for those needing to travel from school to the event (which is not on campus)
- Food arrangements
- Frequently Asked Questions
We talked through all major changes and the day itself, and shared both the presentation and the handout to staff on that day to allow plenty of discussion and question time. This proved to be very valuable as we had some great conversations about what we were doing and how the teachers could be more or less involved in this and it gave me a chance to problem solve staffing or other issues that always come up on days like this.
In the same week we presented to teachers we emailed students, parents after the ES assembly that week with details about the day. This was also useful as it gave the community time to process changes and to consider anything they needed to purchase or organise prior to the day.
The day was different as the PE teachers did not run anything, rather we organised the stations but we had no other managerial duties on the day.
This is how our morning program flowed:
- Arrival and attendance with your class teacher
- Student-led warm up (Grade 2 had created and practiced a warm up that everyone else had to do)
- 10 Stations (8 activities, 2 rest stations) that were run by Middle School students – we had invited MS students to be involved and they really wanted to come up and be a part of this day. These students were the keys to a very successful day!
- Stations were really varied and had running games, throwing games and jumping games and were completed in 8 minutes.
- Students moved with their classroom teacher (and parents) from one station to the next and took part in each activity
- Rest stations had water stops or a close bathroom for rest and relaxation time and this was also time spent with their parents and teachers
- At the end of the rotation we had Learner Profile awards (teachers had nominated the LP they felt best summed up their class for the morning) and we handed out one to each class, then we completed our day.
The format lasted from 8.50 – 11.30am and was enough time for our youngest students to be tired but still happy. The biggest challenge was ensuring that the MS students were able to communicate effectively to 4 and 5 year old children, as many had not had to work with this age group before and we had to make sure we were on hand to trouble shoot with them.
We had lunch and time to transition stations for the older students.
Our afternoon went like this:
- Arrival and attendance
- Grade 5 MC’s started off the day with announcements about the space and cheering on each team
- Warm ups led by PE teacher
- MC’s cheering us off to Station rotation – still run by MS students and this time we scored teams at each activity
- Students were not competing with each other rather they had to collaborate, reflect and encourage each other for success. If your team could complete the obstacle course quickly, you would earn more points by sharing your strategy to allow for more students in your class to move quickly through rather than not sharing your ideas. If you could share your points for effective throwing of your ‘shark’ into the sea (eg. run up) once again you could get more points for your class.
- We had bonus points of: Cooperation, Caring and Enthusiasm that were awarded at each station – this was also an important discussion point for the MS students if they felt a class were not listening or working well with them or with each other.
- Max of 100 points for each activity (if you got to 100 we maxed you out) so the scores were closer rather than massive margins at the end which can be very discouraging.
- At the end of the rotation we set up a Relay race for classes to compete for success. Pairs of competitors had to take a cone (that had a finger-sized hole in it) and run to the other end of the course, fill up the cone with water and then work together to get as much water as they could back to their team bucket through a series of obstacles. We had a parent group and and MS student group too which gave much light to the event.
- Final point scores and certificates handed out for all Learner Profile awards (just like the morning) as well as classes won overall for the Caring, Cooperation and Enthusiasm awards and then the final class winners overall.
- Final words and pack up.
The final steps for me are to have a Survey for staff and for MS students to evaluate the day and send a bunch of thank yous to the different groups/people for their work in this day. I am so lucky to work with a very strong PE team, and it was a big team effort to be ready for this day. We now have all our paperwork in order for next year and with some feedback on how to strengthen the day, we hope we’ll be ready to go.