Communities, Leadership and me

I have just completed a unit with Grade 10 students and it has fast become my favourite to date.  We looked at Community as our central focus and looked through the lens of problem solving in Communities.  My students were then asked to choose an area of Personal focus (What will I bring to this class/game/reflection?) an Interpersonal focus (what will I do within this Community to build ties to others?) and a Leadership focus (what can I do to lead others in game and out of game?) and we looked at different leadership styles and when you might use them through different activities.

We played Touch Rugby and Turbo Touch as our games of choice in this unit.  The Communities were the three teams they had from our class, and we worked on lots of TGfU activities as well as skill building where required to make our games more effective.  It was so interesting to watch the students work on their community and be aware of their Personal focus both in game and in reflection or planning times.

Next time around I would like to see if I could give students cards to change some of their normal approach (so if one student usually leads, ask them to drop out of one game so that another person could step in) and manipulate some of the ways in which their communities operated but for the most part, they took to the different roles assigned or offered (defensive coach/ offensive coach/ dummy half specific person etc) which enabled them to all be looking out for different things within the team.

The assessment for this unit ties really closely to the work the students are doing, this makes things so smooth and easy to assess with time.  Students are assessed on skills and strategy work (Crit C) both in TGfU modified games as well as Game play in the last 2 weeks of the unit.  They were also assessed on their ability to apply specific strategies in more complex TGfU situations set up specifically to see their strategy and if it held up to a changing game landscape.  I wanted to know if they could think on their feet and if they could take risks in game as the game got much more challenging.

I also assessed on their ability to problem solve game play (Crit A).  We watched some examples of post Football match interviews with players or coaches and we then took on that role after games.  We drew up a list of questions that are asked post-game and then students interviewed each other about what was the origin of a problem in game or origin of a successful game (Personal/Interpersonal/Leadership or Game Sense or Skills or a combination of??) and the students were very good at identifying issues in game.  I didn’t ask them to specifically have solutions to their Game problems, but some of the students got very good at pinpointing the issues and the solutions which was also good to see.

Lastly they were assessed on their Personal/ Interpersonal and Leadership (Crit D) and they wrote a short reflection (Claim/ Support/Question style)  on the way they used these skills as focus points for their community – both on and off the turf.  These were fascinating to read as it was clear that there was a lot of application to PE and beyond and the students will recieve feedback from me with suggested final unit focus points as the next level to this unit.

I really enjoy this unit, the students for the most part are not familiar with these games and so have to really rally their communities to be effective and successful.  My stand-out athletes are not always successful in their teams as the team assumes they will always be amazing and win the ball and so they don’t step into the fray but my teams that have no stand out athletes per se all step up equally and rely on each other to always take risks with them and so usually are much more dominant in game play.

Thank you to Alex Thomas (colleague) for being so creative with the assessment of this unit and to my students who took the challenge and were very impressive.


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