MS Sports Day – Bench-ball by Adam Clark CC BY NC SA
Every school has it’s Sports Days. At YIS we have a chronic lack of space and so the traditional Track and Field day does not exist and in its place is a Middle School Sports Day that sees students play a variety of team games to win points for their house.
This year we changed things up a little to try and use the resources more effectively. The PE Team decided on the Sports, offering a variety of choices to students based on the activities we had been doing in our MS classes and also a little more variety to keep everyone happy. We offered these choices digitally, using Google survey to collect results. Students were then cross checked via the school attendance software to make sure we had captured a response from everyone.
Based on the votes, this year we offered: Bench-ball (invasion sport); Basketball (Girls/Boys); Futsal (Girls/Boys) and Table Tennis. Students then completed their rotation and came to the YIS Gym for Tail Tag (team style) to complete the morning.
Now if you read my blog, you will know that our HS students have been leading their own SEPEP units recently. And so we invited our G9 and G10 referees and our strongest leadership team to come and be involved in MS sports day. I had my strongest G10 students link to a specific team and they had to prepare warm ups for the students that were fun and prepared them for the day ahead. They brought their ideas, prepared equipment and came dressed for success. The MS students were so delighted and the combined student energy was very infectious.
Our referees were asked to officiate all the games during the day. They were paired up so that they had someone to assist and were under the direction of different PE/Coaches so that they had a mentor and an advocate to assist them. This in turn led to some great opportunities for our HS students to practice being in leadership roles with younger peers, and for them to also troubleshoot and discuss their own self-run tournaments that will take place next week.
As the organiser of the day, I felt that this model set us all up for success. I was able to have other staff members come to watch without pressure of refereeing or being concerned about coming to PE, but to just come and spectate and enjoy seeing our students having fun. Our MS students did have a lot of fun, and worked hard and our HS students were very engaged in their jobs as referees and leaders of teams. I will keep this model for next year, it was truly inspiring.
The other addition to our day was adding Pom-Pom awards. Before we announced the winning Team, we gave out awards to the individuals who stood out for us in each sport as those who really are all-stars. They played well, but the focus was on the way the engaged with others – fair play, encouragement, role models in the game, respectful discussions in coaching, refereeing, getting drinks for others and generally the best people to have on your team. This set the tone for a very different kind of day – one where we promote love for each other – not just selfish play – and the students rose to this. I asked our HS students to nominate the MS students for these awards, and this was another way in which their voices were included in major decisions, and they then advocated for younger students who will be our next generation of HS leaders.
A big thank you to the YIS PE Dept as well as the students – a great day for all involved.