Lesson 1 - Class B (My Gladiators Lesson)
Today PE teacher A returned and I ran him through a lesson plan I had for the first class of the day. He said he liked the sound of it and helped me set up.
The warmup I had developed for these students was called ball battle, where a team of half the class had to try to place volleyballs in a large net while the other team try to prevent them from doing so. At first the students didn’t understand despite my explanation. Fortunately the PE teacher recognised that there were certain concepts the students were misunderstanding and asked if I needed him to step in. I accepted and he explained the game in a different way, using particular spaces of the hall to help him describe what teams should be doing where. After the teachers explanation all the students understood. Though it was a daunting moment for me when I realised I wasn’t sure how to explain something, I’m glad it happened because it highlighted for me what helped these children learn; such as the spaces they’re working in and the people they’re working with. The teacher gave a suggestion to the defending team to roll the balls down towards the other side of the hall, away from the net. The students incorporated his advice effectively and the second attempt we made at the game went much smoother, before swapping teams over.
We then practiced some skills with soft play cylinders. I asked for a volunteer to help me demonstrate the activity but nobody wanted to so I picked someone. My assistant performed brilliantly, listening to my instructions without being distracted and then displayed strong physical ability. I had asked him to hit the cylinder, squat down and pick it up, lift it over his head and throw it against the wall as hard as he could. This is an incredibly complex movement and I knew it would get these students concentrating, which is something I wanted them doing as I knew they were so high in energy all the time and easily distracted. However my assistant refused to hit the cylinder before picking it up. I detected his embarrassment and allowed him to proceed without that part. The reason I had included that component for the movement was that it acts like a pre-stretch to the movement pattern of picking something up and as a result makes the work more dynamic, using momentum. This is called myotatic reflexes. In fact when I got the whole class performing the activity, all students were reluctant to hit the equipment as instructed so I said I’m happy for them to miss that part out. They picked up the soft play and threw the equipment with great effect, I made sure to watch their footing and they all implemented the staggered stance I had asked them to. I was impressed to see they had been keeping their posture as demonstrated and nobody stumbled or seem to struggle to perform smoothly, though many of them were getting tired towards the end of the practice.
We then came to the main competition. I set up benches and explained they would be going head to head in pairs to knock each other of the benches with the soft equipment, which I think some of them were excited by from their loud reaction. The rules were simple, each pair had 90 seconds to knock each other off and were not allowed to push above the stomach. They were also only allowed to push with the end of their cylinders which was a safety recommendation from PE teacher A. We split the class into boys and girls so we could have simultaneous competitions before have the top boy player go against the top girl players. The boys were very interested in the competition but the girls seemed more nervous than I expected. I stayed with the boys and PE teacher A went with the girls, I was happy to see in my group there was no fowling though some seemed quite grumpy when they lost so I made sure to give them encouragement and provided feedback for their next turn. Unfortunately when students were not playing they appeared bored and quite disruptive by sitting by the kitchen door and fiddling. It made me realise that perhaps these pupils are always better of in constant activity rather than taking turns.
We ran out of time and could not have our boys vs girls competition and the students immediately headed for the changing rooms at the lessons end. PE teacher A said in terms of ideas, my lesson was brilliant and said he would quite like to take my ideas and integrate them into some of his future lessons, which I was incredibly happy to hear. He gave me some tips about mentioning space when giving explanations and said that I need to keep them doing things; for example the task in the middle could have been progressed by moving the students back and making them throw further. He also said “it’s difficult to work out what that class like doing and they’ll be reluctant to try almost anything you give them so don’t be too precious.”
Lesson 2 - Class F
This lesson was on rolling a ball to a target, in this case another person. We all sat in the black circle and rolled the ball to a person of our choice. I picked up the makaton sign for choose from PE teacher A. As I noticed the TA’s paring up with a student to assist them in their rolling, I decided to sit next to Pupil 3. Pupil 3 required my assistance to roll the ball every time. I was vocal with her every time we rolled the ball together, attempting to incorporate as much makaton as possible, including the new signs I had noticed during this session. She made eye contact with me as if attempting to establish a connection but failed to perform physically; I guided her hands after a count of three to prepare her for the movement each time and to give her time to get in tune with responsible muscles in the hope she would gradually warm to performing on her own. Unfortunately this outcome didn’t transpire, though Pupil 3 didn’t seem to appear more comfortable with the idea of rolling the ball and actually started to look at the ball when we were rolling it together. As an even better reward, the TA’s of the group announced that Pupil 3 was surprisingly comfortable with me and was obviously starting to like me.
After our time in the circle we then slid back a few paces to increase the distance between us. This is an example of progression. The lesson then progressed even further with half of the class sat on a coloured line of the court on on side of the hall, while the other half sat on the coloured line opposite. We continued rolling at this distance. Now the class were getting the idea of rolling the ball to each other, PE teacher A decided to challenge them with a concept. PE teacher A introduced the idea of scoring points by rolling the ball past the opposite line, so the people in front of us were no longer on our time. Despite the repeated explanations of the students of this class did not seem to process the point scoring concept at all, I hoped that if this lesson was to be repeated over a long period of time then they may eventually come to understand it. Nevertheless this class was much more content then they usually are and performed brilliantly throughout most of the lesson.
Lesson 3 - Class D
The class began with their usual warm up of running around the field, which most of them got on with very well; some needed extra encouragement as usual but responded reasonably quickly to it today.
The class were going to be practicing some batting skills with a cricket bat, and were put into pairs with myself included. We line up across the length of the playground, facing our partners. We then threw the ball underarm so that it bounced once or twice before being hit. I had already recognised the pupil I was working with as one of the top abilities in this class and hit balls consistently. His aim was to hit the ball past me so that it would roll onto the grass which he managed to do three times before swapping. This pupil also displayed considerable effort and performance when catching my shots, going after every one and succeeding most times with an acute use of both hands. We then swapped again, and by this time the pupil was clearly warmed up as he made many more shots to the green this time and most of them became so airborne that they flew over my head with literally no chance of me getting them. I was not that surprised with this students performance but nonetheless I made sure to let him know I was remarkably impressed, which he was obviously pleased by as he then when on to demonstrate in front of his teacher, who was also impressed.
I noticed some of the less able students had been given small cones to hit the ball from instead of reacting to the ball bouncing from the bowler. This seemed to work well with these pairs as I heard the TA’s saying they delighted with the work they were putting in today’s lesson.
Lesson 4 - Class E
This lesson was on tennis skills, particularly focussing on reaction time. PE teacher A began with an interesting warm up where he was in front of the class who were all in their own space of the hall, jogging on the spot. When PE teacher A pretended to play a shot, the class would have to respond with the correct reply to that particular shot. For example if the teacher did a volley the class would have to respond with a smash, if he played a backhand then the class would play a forehand and so on. This was interesting as many of the pupils were inclined to mimic the teachers movement exactly, like a mirror effect, but after to a few goes they started to get the idea and were concentrating on what they were doing just as well as what they were seeing. PE teacher A then decided to get them working faster on their reactions by adding an elimination element; whoever was last to respond was out. When they were down to the last two PE teacher A played a series of shots that the pair had to respond to. Whoever was quickest was the winner. This warm up was brilliant, the students loved it and it engaged them mentally and physically as a decent warm up should. Some struggled more than others but the practice rounds still enabled them to progress.
PE teacher A then decided to incorporate one of my game ideas from this morning, ball battle. He split the class into boys and girls and brought out a basket of balls which he tipped all over the floor. He explained the rules and the class seemed to get it right away. I thought this maybe down to the teachers method of using boys vs girls as he could clearly say that the boys were doing one thing while girls do another, which is something the students can all visualize. When I conducted my original game this morning I had made the teams mixed with and equal level of ability; with no bibs or visual representation as to who is on what team I started to understand why this morning’s class had got confused so easily. But here there were clear teams and clear instructions. PE teacher A had shown me that visual stimulus don’t always have to be bright and colourful.
I was delighted to see that everyone in this class was loving my game idea. Me and the TA’s even got involved and everyone became very competitive but all in the name of fun. I think the TA’s enjoyed it most of all! It was wonderful to see an idea I had coming together in somebody else's lesson and that everyone was enjoying it. It reminded me that whenever people have fun they really can work physically hard without even realising, even the adults showed me that today.
Lesson 5 - Class G
All students arrived for this class and it was a cricket skills practice in the small hall. The pupils practiced bouncing balls off the wall with assistance. All pupils enjoyed the activity but needed help to stay focussed on task as always. They then had a basic cricket game were the batters had to hit the ball past a row of cones which was being defended by the rest of us. One pupil hit the ball with no assistance with great technique and strength and is clearly the most able of the group. Others had a go but needed assistance as before. To my surprise the students defending still needed some help from the TA’s, I though they would have all been very excited about the idea of picking up a fast moving ball but it took them a while to get the idea. Overall the class had performed very well and had clearly enjoyed themselves very much.
I was very pleased I had the opportunity to take a lesson today and learned a lot from it. i was also very proud to see PE teacher A using my idea in a slightly different setting, and with great effect.
Live life to the full.