A few weeks ago I began a SEPEP journey with my HS classes. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, please check out my original blog post where I explain the premise and share resources.
We are four weeks (two to go) into our first Grade 10 SEPEP unit at Yokohama Intl School and so far things are really looking good. Students are arriving with a sense of belonging and are engaging in peer coaching conversation that is meaningful and relevant.
Let me tell you how we set this up, with about 54 students and two playing areas, we needed to select a game that offered variety but also fitted into our space. We went with Line Ball and I wrote out very basic rules and shared them with the students. Line Ball is like benchball but we use the entire end-line as the scoring zones, with netball like play (no dribbling or double bounce on a pass) and a mandatory 5-pass rule. I wrote the rules out with some issues (not well explained and parts missing) to have arguments and heated discussions which has lead to some serious rule revision by the referees.
As we didn’t have lots of time and we weren’t sure how this unit would go down, the teacher’s made the teams and then the students had to select which role they would play in the success of SEPEP. We decided on the following jobs:
- Captain of the Team – in charge of team conduct in play, liaise with the referees and help to write the assessment criterion on Engagement (MYP Crit D), decide on awards for games/tournament
- Coach of each Team – in charge of warm ups and skills progression based on the performance of the team and individuals; also to liaise with the Captains, the Duty Team member for equipment and help to write the assessment criterion on Performance (MYP Crit C)
- Duty Team – in charge of equipment, water, setting up the playing areas, bibs, warm up equipment, score boards and help to write the assessment criterion on Engagement (MYP Crit D)
- Sports Board – the group in charge of the whole overseeing of the unit – they write the schedule, the tournament and plan and contact all requirements for the celebration day at the end.
- Publicity/Media – decide how to share the unit info, photos, make logos for teams, make awards, keep track of scores etc (our G10s set up a Weebly site for this)
- Referees – officiate the games, re-write the rules and share with the teams.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I like things orderly. I like to know what is going on in advance of the occasion and prepare for multiple possible outcomes. However, this does not work in SEPEP. The going is messy, it is not organised and it requires you to sit back and be a part of the chaos. But to our delight, within a very short space of time, and when the students realised that we weren’t organising them, they quickly sorted themselves out.
We have held seminars for the students on How to run the perfect warm up; Provocation on Rules (differentiate or not?); Sports Awards – purpose and some ideas of non-Sports awards; Types of tournament schedules and how to liaise and talk to each other in tough times. And the students have worked hard.
This week we had a 30 min block of time where we had to complete tasks that the students had set. Then we had 10 mins to share as a group – a rep from each of the role groups held the floor and shared and asked for feedback, I wish I had videoed it – they have come so far. We have a pre-tournament this week all prepared on the SEPEP website, with the full schedule, the games, locations, referee in charge, score boards and places to add nominated players for awards. My job is just to sit back and assess the kids using the Task Specific Clarification (rubric) that they wrote (beautifully). And to enjoy and marvel at the leadership we can see.
Now, it isn’t all peachy and amazing, but the best part is listening to the conversations and knowing that when things aren’t entirely on-task, that the students can figure it out. They come for advice or to ask for clarification, but they sort out issues and deal with people – all exactly as we hope they will when they leave school and start working or studying away from YIS. I have never been prouder of these young adults, they have cemented for me that we need to do more of this sort of thing with our students – and I hope you might too.