PE Hangout,  peer coaching,  pegeeks,  PEPLC,  Teacher Reflection

Concept based learning – Invasion Games

lego spellen


Lego Spellen by Dirk Houbrechts CC BY NC

For those who know me, you will know that I have recently moved from UNIS Hanoi to Yokohama Int’l School.  This has been a big change for myself (and my family) and I am working in a new PE department and have taken on the Head of Department role.  I am relishing the opportunity to put many of our good practice down in writing so that it is clear to others that our PE dept sees some fundamental truths as important and that this manifests itself in our classes, everyday.  Now I am also part of the #PEPLC community, organising a group online and I am deriving some good questions and quests from this group and the two of these align nicely together in both of my areas of interest.  I have also begun the PE Hangout – a Google chat group with Alex Thomas, Jarrod Robinson (aka PE Geek) and Ken Forde and we hope to be back on track soon to share some of our concept based work.

PE Hangout – Concepts

PE is changing, and it is evident when you read the blogs belonging to Joey Feith, Blake Kampen, Kelly Ann Parry, Dr. Ash Casey and other PEgeeks and PhysEd teachers that they are witnessing and belonging to this sea-change too.  I wanted to discuss the way that Invasion Games is shaping up for us at YIS and to see what others think as we write down our hopes for this academic year and beyond.  I am by no means the owner of these ideas, it is through amazing PD conversations with Alex Thomas and Asako Clark, in my MSHS Dept that we are really digging deep and chatting for hours about what these units could look like and how this progression occurs from G5 (last year of the PYP) through to G10 and beyond to our senior students.

This year we have decided to focus all of our PD and in-house attention on Invasion Games. I will add that other units will be well written and adhere to the MYP and YIS standards in PE but we want to re-write our work and bearing in mind that the MYP is about to change, we wanted to begin with a big areas for us in every PE class – Invasion Games.  Currently our students complete one 6 week unit of Inv. Games inside on our court and one 6 weeks unit outside on the turf.  We decided that the Concept questions didn’t need to change for the units and potentially not even over the course of Grade 6-8.

Below are the working documents and ideas we are honing on for this year.  These have come mostly from Alex and his Outdoor Education focused mind and we have then talked around them and shared the final products and will reflect on them as each unit unfolds.

Significant Concept Invasion Games: Living and working with others is prevalent within human nature – Together Forever!


Area of Interaction: Community and Service

We weren’t about making up more questions at this stage, we wanted to have the same concepts running in each year group and then have them progress as they went from one year to the next.  In Grade 6 students are 11-12 years old.  They are very egocentric and we wanted to harness this as we look at Team games and the concept of working in teams.  Knowing your own self is very important and then knowing your own strengths and then work towards knowing the strengths of others.

MYP Question: G6 – What do I bring to the team?

We are still working on what activities or discussions will enrich this questions with our students, but we want students to be thinking in their teamwork about their skills and then look at what other skills their peers offer and how these will enhance their team.  We are also hoping we can share this question with other subject teachers and draw on the strengths learnt in PE into other group or teamwork projects they are completing at the time.  It is important that students also remember that not everyone can bring the same skills or attributes to a group, and that often you need many different facets to make the team function.

In Grade 7 and 8 students are looking at three areas of discussion: Skills (actual sports related skills); Team Work (working within the team requires certain skills) and Game Sense (looking at the game and knowing where you need to move or how to react to the situation happening on the court/field and looking pre-emptively at what is going to happen).  We decided to really look closely at these areas but again we wanted the significant concept to be about working as a team, building from G6 to now looking more critically at how communities work together.

Significant Concept for Grade 7: Living & working with others presents opportunities and challenges.

MYP Questions: G7 What makes an effective group?  How do I create opportunities in Invasion Games?

Significant Concepts for Grade 8: Living and working with others requires effective organisational skills

MYP Question for G8: How can we organise ourselves?

In Grade 9 the Invasion Games add further depth, we are looking at more rules or adaptions of offense or defensive play.  We are giving students ideas about Game Sense and we are asking them to explore these.  Alex and I want to give opportunity for students to lead teams – through warm ups/skill drills and game play.  To set goals within these areas and to reflect on them in our lessons and beyond.   So we decided to scaffold the leadership opportunities to give students insight into what they should be doing and to get meaningful feedback on their leadership from peers and their teacher and from their experience as leader/s.  

Significant Concept:  Living & working with others requires effective leadership skills.

MYP G9-10: How can I use leadership to best effect?

In Grade 10 we are at the top of the MYP PE program.  We are now heading towards leading others – so we are looking closely at how we can foster leadership opportunities to our students.  We are trying to involve G4 students in our play and have the students set up some games or skill drills for them with coaching structure.  Students will work on the model where they create a series of lessons involving warm ups, skill drills, game play and coach the G4 students on their work.  They will then take some video evidence and share this with other G10 students to suggest ways to enhance work individually or by the team.  They will then take these ideas and run a G10 mini tournament with the teachers focusing on their ability to lead through the skill, Team work and Game Sense components of this work.  By G10 these three guiding concepts should roll nicely into one – as you can’t make decisions using only one of these three areas, they all are balanced upon each other – a lovely little Venn Diagram for your students to draw.

We haven’t got this picture perfect yet, there is a long way to go!   But I know that Alex and I would appreciate your feedback.  Our students are driven in their units by the overall concept that should be written and weave effortlessly into every lesson and should be easily applied to any other subject at our school.  We also incorporate a sport specific concept question to hone in where we are going with the work in our classes too.  Students see these questions every lesson and they form part of our Assessment as well.

What do your Invasion Games units look like?  And do you use Life-skill concepts in your teaching/learning models?  Could you get behind this or would you make some changes?


  • Raven

    I definitely think PE is changing. When I was a student it was just about going outside and playing some type of sport for an hour. I am currently taking a class called EDM 310 and the entire focus of the class is about incorporating technology into the classroom. I think it’s interesting because I’ve never seen it happen before. It has helped me find many tools that I will use when i begin teaching.

  • mhamada

    Hi Raven, I would be interested to know, as a training teacher, what you see as valid, important or engaging or how you see PE changing from your days as a High School/Middle School PE student. My colleagues on twitter and I don’t see that the University courses we did in Australia are changing or embracing change as we see PE changing in the field. Thank you for sharing.

  • Raven

    My name is Raven Williams and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I completely agree that PE is changing. I think it is important that teachers see this and embrace it.

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