Concept based learning,  MYP,  PhysedSummit,  Professional Development,  Teacher Reflection,  TGfU

Connecting my student’s learning

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SOLO Taxonomy – Jo Bailey @LovePhyEd

It has been a busy few weeks and today as I sat down to write out my new Grade 9 Community/Invasion Games Unit I found myself with some real questions about where things are heading for me as a Physed teacher.

Last weekend was the PhysedSummit and I had been really excited by a few of the different presentations, but one that resonated with me was Jo Bailey’s on SOLO taxonomy – if you haven’t watched it, you can see it here.   Jo (and other’s) use rubrics that are very simply written to show the hierarchical progression of learning to enable students to clearly see What they are learning and link this to How they are being assessed in a particular unit.

Here is part of one of Jo’s examples:

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Now you can see that there are 5 levels of understanding and that Jo uses both text and diagrams to demonstrate to her students the progression and how they differ and extend as the student has a stronger understanding.   You can also see that she writes in clear terms so it is very difficult to not know what is expected of you.

Jo uses templates to ask students to decide where they are in this spectrum of learning and to justify why they feel that is where they are.  In order for students to move up to the next level, they have to justify, to her, their thinking and understanding and why it is they are ready to move up.

As an MYP teacher I use the Criterion given to my by the IBO but I have struggled in the past to really connect the explicit learning in my class to the rubric that I have to write based on the MYP’s templates.  The semantics are troublesome to me as there are so many Command terms that it gets tricky to know what you are actually assessing and I fear the students aren’t actually relating to the teacher-talk rubric, which defeats the purpose of writing them.

The ‘aha’ moment for me came today when I was trying to put the assessment together for the Grade 9 unit and to pinpoint and reflect on why it was that the students hadn’t performed as well in their assessment last year, as I had hoped.  The assessment included the students writing an Aim of a futsal lesson they were going to deliver – the Aim had to have elements of the three concepts of Invasion we had studied: Game Sense, Game Skills and Interaction and the students were asked to explain which of these they were incorporating into their planning and justify Why they had chosen them.

Students then had to submit their Lesson plan that should demonstrate the link to their Aim and the lesson activity/ies they had planned.  Most students had written an Aim that was poor and then their planning showed limited connection to the Aim of their lesson.  It was clear that they hadn’t connected the idea of the Concepts of Invasion that we had been studying to the planning of their own lessons.

The planned activities were generally weak – I had explicitly taught using many examples of TGfU and small sided games as well as Fun Warm ups incorporating dynamic stretching (rather than explicit stretching) but when given the time to plan their own activities the students went back to Static stretching and boring warm ups and specific skills that involved passing from one to another in static line ups – I couldn’t see where they got these ideas from and it was clear that they couldn’t justify how their choice of activity related to any of the Invasion Concepts or the examples I had given them about planning a PE lesson.

This year I am going to do my best to use this SOLO taxonomy as well as the MYP rubrics (using the same command terms in both to do my best not to confuse my students) to try and explicitly link my three Concepts of Invasion to the function of Warm up and Small sided games in the hope that the Aim of their student-run lesson will be clearer and that they have the ‘aha’ moment I would like them to have.

I also plan to work harder on having more explicit scaffolding on the major Concept of the Unit: Leadership in Communities – looking at how to effectively Interact with others and how to effectively Communicate and ask them to consider what these would look like in Invasion Games.  I hope that with better communicated tools from me, that the students will have a stronger sense of self-leadership (motivation and initiative are just two of them) and that they will be able to link the Unit Concepts studied together more fully.

This is an example of my first draft SOLO for Invasion Games at this level:

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The second part question I have is about Inquiry.  Mark Williams and I gave our presentation as part of PhysedSummit on Essential Questions and inquiry in PE.  After reflecting on the presentation, I realised that Mark and I have subtle differences in our Guiding Questions.  Now Mark teaches predominantly ES students so I know that the questions between ES and MS and HS students do need to be different!  But I noticed that Mark’s examples are usually more PE specific but mine are more generic – I have started to wonder if this matters.  My over arching question or guiding statement of inquiry is about a bigger picture problem – eg. What is effective leadership when working in a Community? or Adaptation and application of thoughtful strategic systems requires effective interaction in groups.  Then I use PE specific inquiry and activities to think about this concept, I am keen to see what others do and to hear of other examples – I suppose it doesn’t matter which was you do it, but there is a big difference in terms of the problems we are solving in our units.

Now off to finish planning, thank you for taking the time to read my rant.  Of course I welcome any advice or critique to make this unit more effective and increase student learning!

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