Teacher Reflection,  Uncategorized,  volleyball

MYP #PhysEd and the inquiry cycle – Net Games for HS students


Mastermind by Steve Berry CC BY SA

YIS have adopted the MYP Next Chapter this year and this means that our PE Department are starting to sort out how our criteria have changed under the new guide.  My colleague, Alex, and I are quite into semantics, and can quite easily engage in conversation about what words mean and how we ensure our learners are truly connecting their learning to their assessment and feedback through the use of the key command words.  So far I am enjoying the fact that the new command words (eg. describe, explain, justify) are the same words that are found in other subject guides, this ensures that the words we are using are being used in other classrooms and reinforcing the learning for our students – it all makes much more sense now!

Under the older rubrics, we used words like “detailed, accuracy, basic and complex” but under the new rubrics we no longer see these words and we are finding new ones like “state, imply, describe and explain”.  Sometimes these changes can be subtle but this is a great time for us to explore how our units will need to change to meet the new expectations.

Our G9 and G10 students (Year 9-10) have started this year with Net Games.  We are looking at the Concept of ‘Change‘ and then focusing on three key related concepts: Adaption, Interaction and Systems.  We have been looking at ‘systems’ of play for our students and after 4 lessons where we have focused heavily on skill development so that we can play games with some proficiency – we are now in permanent teams of 7 students and have started exploring the systems that make up Volleyball.  Students were first introduced to the concept of ‘rotation’ on the court and after this was made, we asked the teams about their individual strengths – they then started to explore the idea that some were stronger setters; diggers/bumpers and hitters.  Some move faster than others, some are more confident and happy to lead the communication and through these active conversations, our students decided they would try ‘switching’ positions and set up ‘switching systems’ or strategies for their teams based on their team rotations.

The progression has been steady, but with clear rotational order, switching systems and now strength based on position, we are seeing three hits (defensive/ 2 offense hits including a spike) and so now the students need to progress to a more complex system – including blocking and fake hitters to put off the defence.  This has all been student driven with careful tidbits or inquiry questions from Alex and myself to help them in the right direction.

It is a wonderful thing as a teacher to have an ‘aha’ moment from your students, and when I asked my G10 learners this week about their communication system – they all nodded, rolled their eyes and told me that they would call ‘mine’ on the court, what a silly question they all thought.  I smiled, and then asked them what they did when two people called out mine?  What if the ball fell between two front court players?  Two back court players?  One front/one back court player?  What if it happened on the 1st/2nd/3rd hit?  What if it was a setter/hitter who both called mine?  What if the ball was going out? What if a person on the team was too shy to call?  The Aha moment had arrived and suddenly the students realised that their Communication system was basic, easy, and it didn’t fit into their new rotational, switching system – it needed to be rewritten to be a working plan with game complexities – and they went to it.

For the next 2 weeks, the students will have their computers/iDevices with them every lesson.  The question I have asked them is :What do you need?  I want individuals to know what it is that they need to do to be successful in their team agreed Systems.  Do I need to know more rules?  Do I want to look up other strategic ideas?  Do we need to learn how to Block (single? Double?) and do we need to add a Libero to the back?  All of this is student driven inquiry coming back to the systems they are creating to deal with the adaptation of game play.  The student interaction in teams and within the class is really strong, the students know which of them are on the school volleyball teams, and they know which teachers they can ask and they have access to Google tools so they are off and running.

The major assessment for this unit meets 3 of the new PE criterion – Knowing and understanding; Planning for performance and Reflecting and improving performance.  Each student needs to complete a small booklet that asks them to identify the team system and explain it; then to share their plan for individual growth in this system (or multiple systems).  The plan needs to be carried out in game play and then rated and reflected upon for its effectiveness.  Students will also reflect on their own work as part of the team system and whether they did enough in their opinion.  We will use a small teacher interview when the students have written the plan to make sure they are on the right track, and then offer support as they have their team meetings throughout the process.

Students will also have time to continue to work on their skills and to work with us to create a skills rubric, with input into which skills are the most challenging (eg. move to a ball, dig with success; or spike or over hand serve with a step up) and then the more basic movements (eg set or dig a ball with no movement and technique errors) so that they have a clear picture of their level of achievement at any time.  They can ask us for an assessment any time over the next 3 weeks of their skills.

This unit has been a great joy to work on and to see the close relationship between the Concepts, related concepts and the inquiry process, as well as the assessment fitting neatly into this unit.  It is always such a positive feeling to see how these also connect to our other PE units and to other subjects areas.  I am already excited to teach this again next year.

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