Today I ended up with another cover teacher, Supply teacher B, who was actually a PE teacher. She had explained to me that in our school she was a science teacher, but she had taught PE before and always enjoyed returning to it.
Lesson 1 - Class A
I updated Supply teacher B on what I had seen this group doing (athletics) and she asked me what I thought of the idea of setting up a circuit based lesson. I thought the idea could be effective as I knew Pupil 1 was easily distracted and may enjoy the many number of things available for him to do. However this is why I also thought a circuit may be a bad idea and I warned her that Pupil 1 may be too distracted by the many activities and may not follow as a circuit. Nonetheless we both figured it was worth a try so we set up the trampette for some basic bouncing as one station, the second was a matted area to do rolling, another station had four upside down benches in a square to balance on, the next had squishy shapes to climb over before jumping onto a mat, and the final station had a large soft cylinder to roll with.
When the class arrived the cover teacher gave them a brief warm up to do, which I had not seen being used before with this group; she asked me to turn the a cd on so the students could simply run around the room to the music. I was impressed to see that none of the class members, including Pupil 1, did not disrupt any of the stations me and the cover teacher had set up. It was also nice for me to see the children enjoying some music as I had not yet seen any music being implemented into any PE lesson yet. I was aware however that some classes do not enjoy hearing music during lesson time, so if I decide to use any I will have to understand the class as a whole first.
After the warm up a teaching assistant was assigned to each student, and I was assigned to Pupil 1 - perhaps because I had mentioned him a lot to the teacher before lesson time and hopefully she thought I knew him well enough to keep him on task. Pupil 1 behaved nicely with me and generally listened to my instructions, with the odd distraction resulting in a small get away. I did notice that he focussed particularly well when balancing on the benches; I figured it was because he was less practiced in balancing as he asked me to guide him continuously. I encouraged him that he was behaving very well and tried to get him walking along independently as much as I could. He responded well at times but still often asked for my assistance, but if I perceived him to be performing effectively then I refused and nurtured him forward, which went brilliantly. There was also a few moments where Pupil 1 was distracted but still by me. In this instance I remembered what the PE teacher had told me about using vocal intonation and trying to add entertainment to the lessons which would help the students to listen to me. I tried addressing Pupil1 in a number of voices which sometimes worked in returning his attention to my instructions, though I could not identify any particular intonation that continued with the same result each time. At one point, when my intonation failed, I decided to perform a roly-poly in front of Pupil 1 which snatched me his attention immediately back. This highlighted for me that PE and any form of physical activity really should be fun and exciting to keep people motivated to do it, otherwise people will lose interest.
Lesson 2 - Class B
The cover teacher knew this class well and said that she had a game in mind for them which was a version of Danish longball - a game that I had never heard of and was instantly interested in. She explained to me that it was like a combination of cricket and dodgeball, and that the students had to hit a ball by a team of fielders and score runs while the fielders had to hit them below the waist with the ball to get them out. This highly active and competitive sounding game is something that I believed would be suitable for this group, as I knew sports arouse their interest and competition can be useful not only in motivating them but in getting them used to performing under pressure.
On arrival the teacher explained that they would be playing Danish longball for a majority of the lesson but first they were going to practice their throwing. I thought this was a great way to construct the lesson as it would warm up the student’s muscles and is a calmer start before a high levels of activity, which may have got the pupils too excited if it was dived straight into. So the pupils were placed into pairs and practiced two different throwing techniques before seeing how many they can get in 30 seconds. Most students found this quite easy but did well to continue after some encouragement from the teaching assistants.
When playing Danish longball, the students seemed riddled with excitement as expected and generally performed well. However I noticed a few students failed to anticipate where the ball would be going, considering every player was right handed. Either they weren’t sure how to understand this concept or they simply were not interested in catching the ball, perhaps because they would feel under pressure to then throw it at the batter. No matter what the reason was I made sure to encourage them to position themselves accurately so they would have a better chance of winning. One or two students responded, while a couple of others did not, and that is when I suspected that they where perhaps not interested in playing. After thinking this I decided I was going to get active. I caught the next ball and threw it across the width of the hall and got the batter out; students where palpably impressed as my actions were quick unexpected. Although I felt mean for deliberately making an effort to get a single student out of the game, particularly as they were one of the more able players and clearly looked disappointed to be leaving without having scored, I still stand by the fact I did well to arouse the fielding teams interest in the game. After this I think the fielders felt more encouraged to make an effort in beating their opponents and continued to perform slightly more energetically.
Lesson 3 - Class C
The supply teacher wasn’t too sure if she knew this class, so enlightened her as to how able they were. We set up the trampette, some mats, a bench as a slide for Pupil 1, and the large trampoline. As a trampoline instructor, the supply teacher was interested to see what work the rebound instructor in this class would be doing. The supply teacher asked to have a go with the students on the trampoline under the guidance of the rebound instructor, who seemed happy to help. This made me think that perhaps I could have a go one day as the movements are not complex and I do have passion for trampolining as I have one at home. But today I thought it was best to stick with what I know and let the supply teacher and rebound instructor get on.
Today Pupil 1 appeared in a delightful mood, for reasons nobody was actually sure of. As I felt I hadn’t spent much time with this pupil in the past I decided to take advantage of her happy mood and focus on her today. I tried to mimic her movements to grab her attention and also to establish a common status level. I knew how volatile Pupil 1 could be so I figured intimidating her was one of the worst things I could do now she was in such a good mood. She seemed bouncy and giggly and slammed the floor a few times, which I copied to entertain her. Occasionally she laughed, but whether that was because of my actions is unclear. I knew she usually enjoyed sliding down the bench but she hadn’t had a go yet so I tried crawling in front of her and guiding her towards. Initially she was enthusiastic to follow me, so I thought crawling with her clearly worked well, however as soon as we reached the bench-slide she stopped and turned away. In an attempt to entice her back I called her and showed her sliding down the bench myself; she wasn’t interested anymore. I feel this was an exercise in understanding Pupil 1 slightly better, however I get the impression she is a young lady of allegiances and will probably need to have a lot more time and fun with me before I can get her to do anything. Why do I have this impression? Because not long after my endeavors to get Pupil 1 excited by something, a teaching assistant entered the hall and Pupil 1 bounced up and down with joy and went straight over to him. After a small visit I heard the other teaching assistants say that he spends a lot of time with Pupil1 which is why she responds to him. Whether I have the time scope to get Pupil 1 reacting the same way to me I think is doubtful and unrealistic. But I do believe if I continue to pay her attention during our sessions then I may be able to persuade her to perform well in PE.
Lesson 4 - Class D
More Danish longball in this lesson. Class D are slightly less active than Class B so were prepared are few lighter and slightly larger balls and a tennis racket as well as a cricket bat incase some students found batting difficult. We also had a tall cone to act as the marker of the batsman incase students felt more comfortable hitting the ball off the top of the cone, rather than receive a pass from the bowler.
Again Supply teacher B explained what we would be doing but to warm up we were going to practice our throwing. The students were clearly motivated by the idea of Danish longball and worked well as they were eager to try this new sport.
As predicted, Pupil 1 and 2 felt more comfortable hitting the ball from the tall cone rather than receiving a throw from the bowler. Surprisingly, I found that this class communicated more effectively than Class B. They worked well together in teams and made more efficient use of the space when fielding; some students even predicted where the ball would be going according to the batters dominant hand, ability, and usual tactics, unlike the behaviours I observed earlier this morning. I found this to be a remarkable effort made by this class, being motivated by the sport, by the teachers, and by each other; this class has always worked effectively in my experiences, taking on instructions and utilizing specific team members, I thought today was another great example of how this class works together.
Lesson 5 - Class E (my second rolling lesson)
This was my second lesson, and it was going to be follow up from my previous lesson. It was going to be very similar, so it would make good practice for me as I would have the chance to repeat a few things, furthermore it would also be interesting to get the opinion from Supply teacher B.
This time we did not start with a dribbling warm up, because like the lessons I had seen PE teacher A giving in tennis skills, I wanted to stress the importance of progression, which I discussed at the beginning of the lesson. So this time we went straight into pairs and performed the two minute passing task and kept each others scores. Again, we had a second round where students were encouraged to beat their score. A few issues with counting were still present, but within a smaller number of pairs than the last time so students were clearly starting to understand the concept of the task. This time the progression was good in most pairs improving on their scores.
I then went on to give the same demo I did last lesson on interception, challenging the class to remember that specific term “intercept.” A correct answer was given by a student and I asked them to give a clear definition to the class of an “interceptor” which was delivered accurately. I gave praise as the students did not know what this meant when we had started last lesson and reiterated the definition to clarify. We then played a game of “interceptors,” just like last lesson, but this time I decided to get involved to imbue enthusiasm and effective team cooperation; I remembered the time I had seen PE teacher B getting involved in a game of football which highlighted for me the importance of being a figure of authority but also fun. If the children aren’t having fun while being active it’s going to much harder to motivate them to excel in that activity; getting involved tends to surprise students and helps them to enjoy the activity much more, therefore putting in more effort to excel.
At last we came to a game that I had called “goalsketball,” which was an amalgamation of basketball and the game I knew their PE teacher wanted them working towards, goal-ball. The class were split into teams and were allowed to dribble and pass the ball, just like we had done in the first task, but they had to roll the ball through a goal of two cones being defended by the opposition. I had enforced a rule that nobody was allowed to knock the ball out of another players hands, they could only “intercept” the passes, which was an attempt to implement the new interception concept and perhaps more importantly, safety. I knew some members in this class enjoyed competitive sport and I could see things getting quite rough quickly. Occasionally there were some close calls with regard to physical contact and I had referee firmly, reminding students they were not allowed to touch another player and that if they did so they would get a reminder. This reinforcement using the schools disciplinary system worked well. I also had to improvise a new rule as students were taking shots far too close to the goals and I wanted them to be challenged so I said they could only shoot from their side of the court from that point onwards, which made things much more difficult and more interesting for them. Overall I think the class really enjoyed this game I had created and seemed to engross themselves in it, however I felt there was a more competitive atmosphere than a friendly, team cooperative atmosphere, which is something I will try to encourage if I decide to play this game again with these students.
Live life to the full.