Today PE teacher A returned and I was eager to introduce him to the ninja game I had developed. He said he was very interested by the idea and asked if he could step in half way through the lesson to see if he could create a different input which I was more than happy to accept.
Lesson 1 - Class B (ninja ring development)
PE teacher A gave a quick introduction to the lesson, asking the students how they had all been since he had been away and telling them that he would be handing them over to me as he was excited to see the ninja lesson we had been doing. It was lovely to see that PE teacher A did what he could to develop a real relationship with the students during lesson times; I think the students appreciated being asked about how they’d been and probably helped them to stay relaxed and created a slightly more comfortable environment. It also demonstrates how approachable PE teacher A is a person which obviously helps them feel comfortable with asking any questions about tasks.
Sir then handed the lesson over to me and I got the students into a circle like last lesson. There was a mixed response to this, with some students acting really excited and saying they were happy to do this game again, others were less enthused. I didn’t take it to heart though as I knew that every day can be very different with some students, and I knew they had enjoyed the last lesson so I was determined to get them enjoying themselves this lesson. I asked one student to remind us of all the rules and to explain to PE teacher A how we had played “ninja ring.” The student described the task accurately and fluently and I was very impressed. We then began playing as we had done last lesson, but I reminded them of my tip about trying to confuse the ninja in the middle which some of them had remembered. The students were just as quiet as last lesson but didn’t seem as in to it as it was no longer a novelty to them. I knew that I was going to have to move the lesson on quickly to keep their interest.
I did so, getting the class to increase the size of the ring a few times to make it harder. I also wanted to give the pupils some freedom and asked if they wanted any more thieves put into the ring yet like last week, or if they could think of any variations themselves then they were welcome to tell me. To my surprise the students didn’t want to introduce more thieves as quickly as I thought they would, but some students were very interested in getting more thieves involved. However the group then had a brief discussion and arrived at a comprise by themselves which was absolutely lovely to see. The game was obviously promoting what I wanted it to: this class were listening to each other. The group had decided by themselves when they’d introduce more thieves and how many which I was happy to go with. I like to give the students a leading role in parts of the lesson in the hope that I will imbue some level of creative thinking. When the students use their imaginations to think creatively on their own, and when they can listen well to each as they had today, that’s going to provide a fantastic foundation for them to start designing their won games outside of school times. That’s when things can really make a difference to their interest in physical activity, and I was so pleased that I could see it happening, even if what was just a slight action in the day.
PE teacher A then asked me if he could step in, which I was more than happy about. He had come up with an excellent variation of the game and brought out three very different balls. He also brought a box of blindfolds which I didn’t know was in the cupboard. PE teacher A explained how he was going to progress the game; everyone was going to be blindfolded and he was going to sit in the middle of the circle. He was then going to roll a ball to someone in the circle and that person had to raise their hand if they heard it coming. PE teacher A could see some of them were slightly confused and so they had a practice run first. The practice run did them good and cleared up the rules for them. They then went into a competitive game where if somebody did not raise their hand when the ball was coming to them, they were out! I knew this group liked competition so I thought it was brilliant that PE teacher A had managed to introduce a competitive element. The first ball used was a ball with bells in it, so most students did well to hear it. But the PE teacher A switched to nobly ball that was much quieter and harder to hear. As soon as he introduced it I realised this was a much more effective method of progression. PE teacher A had identified the focus of the lesson which was listening, and specifically tailored the task so that the listening element of the game became increasingly difficult, thus exercising their hearing in a more precise and effective way than the approach I was taking. Though my original idea of the game had still proved a potent exercise, I think this was definitely the best way to move the game further forward.
When PE teacher A had stepped in the student interest in the game was revamped very quickly, which I was thrilled to witness. Once again the class left as though they had enjoyed themselves very much and I thanked PE teacher A for his terrific input. He said he had loved my idea as it was different for PE, and he also said to me “with your fresh perspective and my experience, there’s no reason why we can’t come up with unique and interesting activities, and that’s what I think has happened here today.”
Lesson 2 - Class F
This was another lesson on athletics. The class performed their usual warm up of music reactions. As soon as the music started the entire class were on there feet and ready to be running around. When the music was loud they had to run fast, and when PE teacher A turned the music down they had to move slower. The class reacted well to this today.
PE teacher A then brought the group back together and explained they had practiced short distance running and now they were going to practice some long distance running. He implemented makaton at this point and used his hands demonstrate there was a clear difference between short distance and long distance running. PE teacher A put on some more music which was much slower in tempo. The song also lasted exactly 5 minutes and the students had to be moving throughout the duration, whether it was a jog or a fast walk. Everyone did really well in this task, though Pupil 3 stopped a few times for reasons unclear. The TA’s were always with her and coaxed her onwards which worked nicely.
The class then moved onto some sprinting again, and I was impressed to see almost every student ran nearly the whole way by themselves. Not all of them were able to do this, however they still did some good independent work at times.
They then moved onto another hurdle practice but instead of cones the PE teacher was using the coloured lines on the floor. The class practiced together slowly and they all did a big step over the lines together. They gradually increased the speed together until they were doing a light jog. I think the students working together at the same time worked really well as they could copy those around them and looked like they enjoyed doing the activity with their friends. One student however hadn’t been joining in until this point. This was thanks to the TA who had been with her who managed to get her to join and was making some silly imitations of a train which this student seem to like.
This same student also made an odd refusal to leave the hall once the lesson had ended. A TA and PE teacher A had tried to gently guide her to the door but she just lay herself down on the floor instead. PE teacher A asked me to help pack the equipment away so that she could clearly see that the lesson had ended and it was time for her to go. PE teacher A even turned the lights off to make this more lucid. Still the student wouldn’t leave, and PE teacher A and the TA had to pick her up gently and take her to the door. Interestingly she made no struggle at this point.
Lesson 3 - Class D
PE teacher B let the group choose what sport to practice today as a treat for all the hard work they had been putting in over the weeks. The class were very excited by this and one by one said the sport they would like to play today. The most popular chose was football and it was decided. The students then did their usual warm up of running round the field which was lead wonderfully by one of the students.
Afterwards PE teacher B had produced some footballs and some coloured bibs. The class were split into two teams for a 6 vs 6 game. The excitement was apparent from the start and some students displayed great football skills. However PE teacher B stopped the game quickly when he noticed one student had spent a lot of time with the ball. PE teacher B plainly asked him “who could you have passed to?” The student seemed very unsure and practically went through the team before he got the correct answer. PE teacher B explained that this student wasn’t looking around for help, he wasn’t using his team; this was sad because a nearby student had consistently put himself in an open position to receive the ball and had been calling to this student who had failed to acknowledge him. PE teacher B said that he was the only student that was working hard enough to have been passed to, so he encouraged the students to look around and use each other as a team. The game went on and each student passed much more frequently, and everyone was keeping the head up to look for help most of the time.
Lesson 4 - Class E (ninja ring)
This was one of my ninja ring lessons again. This class had already tried these games so I got on quickly when they arrived to waste no time and got them into a circle in the hall. I got one student to remind us of the ninja ring rules which he relayed to us beautifully, and even mentioned that it’s purpose was to help train ours sense and in particular our hearing. As this group hadn’t adapted as quickly as class B and I knew that PE teacher B was going to bring in his version of the game later in the lesson, I warned the class that things were going to be getting more difficult more quickly than the last time we played. This was to engage them and the get them ready for the tasks, it was also a method of motivation, telling them that things were going to change but not specifying what exactly.
This lesson went much better than the last time, with students listening brilliantly and identifying the direction of sound much more accurately than last time. Again I decided to give this class some freedom, and even give them a sense of ownership of the game by simply asking what way they wanted to make it harder: “would you like to increase the ring size first or shall we have some more thieves? It’s up to you.” Very quickly the class decided they would enjoy introducing more thieves and so we did so quickly. Still the class were listening brilliantly and some students identified their thieves correctly every time. It was definitely time for a change in stimulus.
PE teacher A took over, bringing in the three balls from this morning, along with the box of blindfolds. He blindfolded them all just like this morning’s class and explained to them how the game was now going to progress. As before some practice runs were undergone first which I definitely feel was appropriate for this group as they took time adjusting to the new version of the game. Some students were plainly cheating by not placing their blindfolds on properly, which was a real shame as some other students were getting on magnificently. Even the couple of students who refused to perform in my Spiderman sessions were quietly behaving themselves and were actually among the best performers in this class which I was thrilled to see. Everyday really is different for some students with special needs; everyone has off days, but when they have a good day, particularly in this class, they get on remarkably well.
Lesson 5 - Class G
This was another lesson outside today and the boys were playing with footballs and basketballs again. Some of them were really struggling to understand which balls they were allowed to pick up and which balls they had to use their feet with. The TA’s, PE teacher B, and I were all trying to encourage these students to use the correct techniques and when. Pupil as always was getting on beautifully, performing accurate shots at the goals and basketball hoops and really enjoying himself.
Live life to the full.