collaboration,  Concept based learning,  MYP,  peer coaching,  Teacher Reflection,  TGfU,  Uncategorized

Invasion Games – Designing a Game

koiKoi by David CC BY NC

Simplicity really is key to a unit that runs smoothly and I continue to aspire to be able to keep things simple to eliminate the stress that I feel when I can see the end of a unit coming towards us (date is fixed) and I haven’t finished yet.  I haven’t yet found all of the right pieces but I do feel that with this unit I have got close to the desired goals that I set myself in delivering the unit:

  • to keep things simple – reduce written tasks, reduce homework for the students and for myself
  • connection – to connect learning to real life situations – not just sport or skills without conceptual connection in other places
  • to have lots of physical activity
  • to promote creativity and collaboration in PE
  • to have lots of fun!

I wanted to share this unit because it is one that I am proud of as it ticked most of my desired goals from this list and with refinement and a few changes, it will be much stronger when I dust it off again next year.

Who: Grade 9 (Year 4 of the MYP Program)

Focus: Invasion Games on the Turf (small futsal space)

Mixed Gender, 21 students

Global Context: Identities and relationships

Statement of Inquiry: Living & working with others requires effective leadership skills.

Assessment: (all docs linked at the end of this post)

Knowledge and understand (Crit A) – students will observe their team as they play their newly designed invasion game.  They will then identify problems their team are having and write a Claim/support/question about this. (Formative A involved in the process of sharing their game design with their classmates – answering questions on this)

Planning for performance (Crit B) students will be assessed on their ability to plan a 15 minute skill session to deliver to their team in preparation for the tournament.  They will then assess the effectiveness of their plan after executing it in game play through a 5 min interview with the teacher in the very next class.

Reflect and Improve on this performance (Crit D) – students will select a Personal and Interactive focus and be assessed on the demonstration of these skills in class.
Applying and performing (Crit C) will be assessed on skills in a variety of games and game play.  These include skills and tactical awareness and decision-making in-game play pressure.

This unit was derived from a number of conversations that originated on Twitter.  I put out some tweets looking for new Invasion Games that I could play with my students in a tight space.  I had a number of people write back and amongst those I struck up some good conversations with Dr Ash Casey (@DrAshCasey) and with Justin Mahoney (@MrMahoneyPE) which led to good resource swapping and an idea that sparked to run a unit where the students create their own Invasion Game.  Dr Ash had shared some great research articles (please contact him if you want to know more) that he had been a part of investigating that documented the strengths of having students invent their own game, and I felt that the student ownership was very valuable and would be worth investing time in.  Justin shared a great book with me, I have since purchased it (Developing Game Sense through Tactical Learning by Ray Breed and Michael Spittle) and I admit that many of these invasion games I already was familiar with, but the way which the authors scaffold out units is really helpful and I am not as well versed in Net and Wall Game TGfU so this has been a worthwhile investment for me as a growing teacher.

I decided that I would run my 7 week unit like this:

  1. Introduce a new Teaching Games for Understanding exercise and modified game every lesson that led to us playing LOTS of different invasion games and learning about modification of everything that is possible in games.
  2. Decide on a working definition of Invasion Game
  3. Break up into groups of 4-5 and have students invent their own game based on parameters mapped out from our definition, our space, numbers of students etc.
  4. We started working on choosing Personal Skills and Interactive Skills that we felt are important when working with others in this unit.
  5. Each group having 15 mins to teach us their game – we played it and rated it based on: Ability to modify/ Is the Game Challenging us?/ Is it an Invasion Game?  Is it Fun to play?
  6. We voted on our favourite game and made last modifications to the game as a class
  7. We played the game and got to know it and wrote out the rules.
  8. We wrote SMART goals based on our Personal Skills (eg. to be more articulate) and Interactive goals (to share more ideas in coaching times) with the focus on improving Game Play in this unit. (I graded their goal being appropriate and their demonstration of this goal in class).
  9. We then had to do an in class assignment: What is a Game Sense problem your team is having in this game?  Student wrote a Claim/Support/ Question response.
  10. Students then took their Problem and decided on an effective solution – they had to individually prepare a Drill or modified Game for their team to play/work on in a 15 minute session.
  11. Each student submitted a planning document on the day of their lesson and ran their lessons, we had 2 or 3 student run sessions/class for each team.
  12. The next lesson, I interviewed the students who had presented the lesson before about this process.  Students had to choose the interview questions from a list I shared with them.  I graded their work then and there based on their plan/reflection for Crit B.
  13. We played a mini-tournament lesson and I graded their Skills and Performance work in class.

I have really enjoyed this unit, it has tested me out as a teacher to keep things really moving along and to endure some students who would have preferred to have just played soccer, but I believe that the Concept of leadership has thoroughly been met with students having multiple opportunities to observe their team and others, to prepare work to share, to deliver and manage their work with their team and to reflect on this.  They have had to communicate effectively on and off the pitch and have had to explain new ideas to a diverse group of learners.  I am super proud of my students and am already looking forward to the next unit.

Links to documents:

Goal Setting – Crit D work that led us to our goals for the unit and into the next unit

Task Specific Clarification – the rubrics for grading this unit

The Crit A Problem spotting task and Crit B Planning a session 

Reflection Question ready for interview after their session


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