collaboration,  Concept based learning,  Criteria,  Goal setting,  Leadership,  MYP,  peer coaching,  TGfU

Communities, Interaction and Problem Solving

Gif from YouTube clip of Tag Rugby Mixed Super League Round 5 (Autumn 2014) – The Tuggas v Hippos

Global Context:  Identities & Relationships

Key Concept: Communities

Related Concept: Interaction

Statement of Inquiry: Group problems are often not ‘stand alone’ issues but rather a complex interaction of multiple facets that require the community to interact with each other in order to solve them.

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Assessment – Crit A, C, D

Year 5/Grade 10

Sport/Focus – Invasion Games – Turbo Touch and Touch Rugby

This year the focus for our Grade 10/Year 5 MYP students has been Leadership and they have worked very hard on planning and sharing their own workshops (mini workshops to begin with but then finally working to plan and lead 40 min lessons by the end of the year).  We have really focused heavily on the different types of leadership and how to use our personal strengths but also to recognise and be aware of the strengths in others and communicate and collaborate effectively in team situations.

The last unit of the year is Invasion and as we have really spent a lot of time working on Planning we decided to not assess this part and to focus heavily on Community building, and problem solving through Crit A, C and D.

Students spent the first few lessons looking at: Is this game a tag game?  Invasion Game or Both? (stolen borrowed from Mark Williams) and we looked at what makes up an Invasion Game and from here we developed a list of questions based on our game play.  Some of these included:

  • when do I pass the ball?
  • who do I pass the ball too?
  • where do I move when I don’t have the ball?
  • how can I communicate effectively in defence?

We then took time to unpack these questions with some Teaching Games for Understanding games and looked at our Skills, Game Sense and our Interaction for solutions to these questions and we discovered that the questions actually lead to more complex answers then we thought.  This led us full circle back to our Inquiry question and the fact that some of the problems we face have an origin but that the solution may have several layers or parts and with each member of the team we need to unpack solutions that suit our personal needs and experience.  Phew!

We have then set up a series of assessments for this unit.

Criteria A: Use of Knowledge

My colleague, Alex Thomas, first suggested that we look at an interview style assessment and he has been very creative in setting this up for his class.  I have not been as creative, but it is worth sharing both angles so you can see where this type of assessment could grow to with time and experience.

TASK Introduction: After professional sporting matches, talk show hosts, managers, coaches and others debate the effectiveness of the players in their matches.  You are going to take on the role of a player, coach or manager answering questions about your teams’ match.

Examples: Football Tactics (6m13s) Football/soccer (1m50s) Football/soccer (13m20s) Rugby Analysis (5m22s)

Your Task: You will take time after a Touch Rugby or Turbo Touch game you have played to discuss a major problem that you experienced in game play and analyse it.  You will need to consider the origin of the problem and discuss possible reasons why this issue affected your game and discuss possible solutions or areas to focus on and justify this in your discussions.


  1. What major or complex problem did you see happening in the game?
  2. Why do you think this was a problem in this game?  Where did the problem have an impact on the game play?
  3. What do you think was the origin of the problem?
  4. What possible solutions or focus area/s do you think would help?  Justify your reasons.

Students have spent time watching their game play from the sideline (when subbing) and then when their team is ‘off’ they have had time to share, reflect and to listen to the problems they identified in game play.  I gave my class a choice to either record to YouTube capture or to write their responses, Alex’s classes have had to record and he has built a background just like from the matches with the team names and some sponsors logos so that when they record it has a very official look.  The hope is that next year we could ask students to record a ‘show’ version with a panel of students sharing and identifying problems together just like a talk-back show.

The top band of the TSC looks like this:

In your post-game interview you can:

  • explain in detail a complex community/team problem from your game an
  • analyse many of the reasons WHY this was a complex issue for your community/team applying knowledge (skills, game sense, interpersonal and personal skills) when discussing ways in which to solve this complex problem
  • use a variety of game vocabulary consistently and effectively when analysing your game play.

This has brought some great conversations in my class about what the origin is of the problem and it has also made a greater awareness that there are problems and that we can identify them and look for a variety of solutions – which could have led to a  Crit B where kids planned ways to work on these problems, but the identification is often enough to spark effective conversation about how to grow and improve (and what they are doing well already!)

Crit C: Applying and Performing

Students are being assessed on their game play work in a Turbo and Tag and Touch Rugby and their ability to cross over skills and modify game play based on games being played.  They have established their questions of inquiry and this has also led to skill and game sense conversations about complexity and how we can add to our repertoire of performance skills/strategies.

TSC top band is here:

In game play situations you:

  • consistently demonstrate a range of the above Touch Rugby skills in a fluent, controlled and powerful manner.  You results were usually accurate.
  • You could apply these skills in a range of game play situations.
  • consistently demonstrated a range of complex Touch Rugby Game sense strategies/tactics that we worked on in class with fluency and good timing.
  • You could apply these strategies in a range of game play situations.
  • consistently and quickly read the game play well and responded effectively

Crit D: Reflecting and improving performance

In our last unit we evaluated our Interpersonal SMART goals and looked at some questions or problems we saw with implementing strategies in group work.  We have now chosen a Personal focus and an Interaction focus.  The difference we identify is that we need to have personal skills (such as initiative and motivation) to make our interactions more meaningful and effective.  So if we know that we personally need to work on a goal and that this has an interaction effect then this should see change in our community work and collaboration with others.

So, students set focus points for themselves Personally and when interacting (in game play, on the bench and in coaching times) with set strategies for each of these three times (game, sub, coaching/reflecting).  They are keeping a journal for 3 lessons to evaluate which strategy they used in class, success or not and WHY? and then focus for next lesson.  I asked them to think about these questions, but they didn’t have to answer them, just use them to guide their reflection process:

  1. what did I learn about today?
  2. what don’t I yet understand?
  3. what questions do I have now?
  4. what can I do already?
  5. how can I share my skills to help peers who need more practise?
  6. what will I work on next?
  7. did the strategy I used today work?  How can I measure this?
  8. claim/support/ – how is my IP or personal focus helping me to learn about interaction with others?

I am hoping they will see the benefits or pitfalls of their strategies but start to find out what they are doing (or not doing) to be better leaders – both personally and when interacting with others.  I also shared some ideas for how to collaborate more successfully and to make conversations that remove the personal or emotional loading that can come in game play.

Ideas for more effective interaction:

Introducing an idea/ statement I think that…It appears to me that…

What I found…

What I liked about…

Agreeing with an idea/ statement That/X makes sense to me because…I think that/X is true….

I liked the same thing…

Disagreeing with an idea/ statement That/X is interesting, but…I have a different solution/ answer/X…

I’m not sure about that/X;

What I thought/ suggest is…

Asking for clarification Could you go over part /point/ question X one more time?How did you get X?

Could you do that again?

How do you do X?

What do you mean by X?

Making a plan I think we should…What do you think about…?
Feedback loop
  1. Positive Statement about X (skill/idea/IP focus etc)
  2. Problem you see – question or statement (no emotion or personal attack here)
  3. Suggested solution (if you have one) or discussion about the Problem you saw OR  Positive Statement about Y
Leadership Styles Autocratic – no discussion, leader makes decision for the good of the groupDemocratic – everyone shares with leader coordinating discussion, majority rules

Abdicratic – feedback offered from group, but leader has final decision

Laissez-faire – everyone shares their opinion/feedback, relaxed style of sharing

Learner Profile Open minded, Risk Taker, Balanced, Principled, Caring, Inquirer, Thinker, Communicator, Reflective, Knowledge
Personal Attributes to consider Adaptable, Alert, Assertive, Calm, Capable, Confident, Conscientious, Consistent, Cooperative, Dedicated, Efficient, Determined, Energetic, Flexible, Honest, Independent, Motivated, Optimistic, Organized, Persevering, Practical, Productive, Realistic, Reliable, Focused, Versatile, have initiative

This unit is still growing and will be stronger with another year of teaching it, but it has been wonderful to see them grow and to identify problems and ways in which to address them.  Any comments of feedback would be very welcome.


  • mhamada

    Thanks for sharing! I am hoping to develop this further this year too – it would be great to talk more about it!

  • MrsLieke

    This is such a great post! It helps me re-think the invasion unit I do at ISD. The angle of sports commentators is interesting and definitely something I would like to further develop with my students. Hopefully I will be able to share this with you (depending on privacy issues)

  • mhamada

    Thanks Sandra, it is a work in progress – but the key for us seems to be less written tasks and more creative in how we are sneaking them in – no big stuff – it is just not in context of our subject.

  • Kylie Newbold

    Thanks for posting this Mel. I have been grappling/thinking about/planning how the kids I work with can be more reflective and what I can do to help them provide meaningful and effective feedback to their peers. You have helped me see that I am thinking in a similar way to many ideas mentioned and I have a clearer direction as to where I can go with this.

  • sandrab

    I just love the talk back show Idea! I can see this promoting great discussions about the game play, skills, tactics and the decision making that happen/didn’t happen on the field.

    YIS you guys are rockin the MYP

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