Lesson 1 - Class A
This session was on balance. PE teacher A asked me to write the learning objectives on the whiteboard, listing the five stations: trampette, black line, bench, ball, and rocker. I offered to bring in my balance board for next week, though I said it may be too difficult for this group, but it could be worth a try and other groups may enjoy the challenge.
The students arrived together and sat on the benches ready for the lesson introduction, which they listened to well with no moving around. Pupil 1 went first on the benches, me and PE teacher A offered assistance but we were encouraging him to walk by himself. Pupil 1 is capable of doing so but as soon as he balances on his own he sits down. Me and PE teacher A staggered ourselves along the bench to pass Pupil 1 to each other so that we could encourage him to have one step on his own between us. I thought this was a brilliant team method to help encourage a student though it still required some patience. All other pupils flew through this task, expressing eagerness for their turn and moving along the benches promptly, though Pupil 5 get off at the end of the bench instead of turning round. PE teacher A laughed as he could see she was just being cheeky and she got back on when instructed to do so.
Students seem to enjoy sitting on the ball most of all; I thought this may because it is an unusual balance challenge and this particular ball had nodes cover it so it probably tickled them as they moved around. Me and a TA focused on Pupil 3 with one of us holding the ball steady whilst the other helped her to sit upright on top of the ball. Pupil 3 displayed a surprisingly sound level of balance, reacting to the balls movement and keeping steady in the middle. While other students moved onwards to the rocker, Pupil 3 smiled at me and pointed towards the ball; I was pleased to see that she was seeking out my assistance as me and her had not worked together much in the past and I thought it may take a while for her to trust me. However I could see she was clearly fond of the ball exercise so I helped have another go.
Afterwards I asked PE teacher A why he had decided to get the pupils taking turns in this lesson. He said “though it may not look like a high level of activity for a PE lesson, it helps students to improve the quality of their work with one to one teaching, which is worth taking some time to do.” I then responded saying that also the routine may be good for them, which PE teacher A agreed with, saying that a pattern with the way a lesson is run can help them to focus and prepare for what’s coming.
Lesson 2 - Class B
Class B were now working on athletics. PE teacher A told the students that athletics was all about using maximum effort so they needed to have a vigorous warm-up to start with. For the warm-up PE teacher A used music to dictate the level of speed that the students should be using when running around the room. When the music was played loudly the students needed to run quickly, but when the music was turned to down to be quiet the students needed to slow down their run accordingly. At first the excitement got the better of a few boys in the class who failed to be reactive to the volume. After PE teacher A specifically said to those students that they had to be more reactive to the music and listen carefully they began to tune in more accurately. After this all pupils listened and interpreted well throughout the rest of their vigorous warm-up.
When the class stopped they were clearly exhausted, breathing heavier and red in the face. PE teacher A took this opportunity to use a fantastic car analogy in order to describe why they were feeling tired. He explained that just like cars, we as humans produce waste when we work, the harder we work the more waste; he then asked a science question to see if the students knew the gases that we breathed in and out. To both of our surprises the students knew the exact names, oxygen and carbon dioxide. As a joke PE teacher A summoned the student who answered carbon dioxide placed the school whistle around his neck and said “right PE teacher you teach the class now.” The student seemed quite embarrassed and the rest of the class laughed heartily; PE teacher A then asked “the new teacher” to sum up their talk on the human body which he did. I thought this was a lovely way of engaging and connecting with the class, and I was so impressed with the classes knowledge. After the lesson me and the PE teacher both shared our enthusiasm about the classes work today, saying that we didn’t expect them to those questions right but they needed to know how the body works when we exercise.
The car reference went further in the lesson when the class was split into boy and girl groups to perform running drills. PE teacher A said that we’re pretending to have five gears like a car, with one being our slowest and fifth being our fastest. PE teacher a called out a gear for the boys to run in, though it took them a while to differentiate between each one clearly. Towards the end when fourth gear was called, me and PE teacher A said they we could see the boys thought about racing, which would be more like fifth gear, but they stopped themselves to slow off slightly. PE teacher A gave great encouragement for this. The girls had been quiet throughout the duration of the boys drills, which we were very impressed with; I suspected their exhaustion may have helped to keep them calm and controlled. The girls then performed just as well as the boys, listening well and running effectively. Overall this may have been one of the most impressive lessons with this group so far, and it’s clear that they are capable of being pushed hard.
Lesson 3 - Class C
These students had been using trampolines to fine tune their vestibular systems, they were now going to try moving from A to B by any method necessary. We set out rows of blue mats for each student to try moving on and a tougher course was laid out for Pupil 1, being the most independent. Thicker, crash mats were used for her lane, with a larger roller posing as an obstacle.
I was thrilled to see Pupil 2 entering the hall, pushing a fellow student in their chair. This was the most independent I had seen him. A TA also showed me Pupil 2 performing an accurate forward roll with next to no assistance. I then helped Pupil 2 to his feet and continued to him encourage him to roll forwards which he obviously enjoyed doing.
Afterwards I tried to get Pupil 2 walking as much as possible as he was clearly warmed up and motivated after walking to the lesson and performing forwards rolls to start. When he was sat I placed each of his feet just beyond shoulder width saying “one foot there, one foot there and...” then I would take his hands and give him a gentle pull to coax him getting up onto his feet saying “up we go.” At first Pupil 2 was performing the action of getting up with assistance well, but with some trepidation. After repeating the process numerous times and using the same phrase as above to prepare him, he seemed to become more energetic and more willing throughout the session. Each time he walked I had two aims in mind: how long did he walk for and how independent can we make that walk. Pupil 2 can walk extremely well when being guided with two hands, however I have managed to walk with him holding just one hand. I made sure I only used one hand during this session and if I tried to take my hand away briefly once a decent walking rhythm had been established. Pupil 2 becomes very cautious when no physical contact is made between him and a helper, and sits down as soon as someone lets go of him. Despite my efforts, Pupil 2 sat on the floor every time I tried to get him walking by himself, on the plus side though I had him walking for nearly twenty minutes in total, an astonishing amount of time for this pupil, and I may have still been holding his hand but at times he was holding onto as little as one of my fingers.
Lesson 4 - Class D
PE teacher A decided that this class may not benefit greatly from an intense sprinting session when considering those with cerebral palsy. He felt it would be better for this group to practice shot put using bean bags, and focus heavily on their technique.
Similarly to the morning session however, the warm-up began using music to dictate the level of speed when running, which a lot of the students needed lots of encouragement to do and didn’t need quite as long to get really warm and breathing heavily.
The group was split into boys and girls when they practiced some arm warm-ups as they were going to be throwing. The movements included flapping like birds, snapping like alligators, and shrugs as we pretended not to know the answer, which proved very amusing for the class.
PE teacher A then focussed on their shot put technique, explaining in a demo that they cannot use their fingers, just their hand. Most students were able to perform technique accurately, however some of them got quite over excited and tended to throw the bean bags instead of pushing with the hand. PE teacher A was quick to notice when they were doing this and pointed out to them that they need a stricter form. After a few practices PE teacher A gave further instructions to improve technique which involved twisting the body and bending at the knees to create momentum. All students found the three teaching points difficult to employ all at once and the concentration that it took for some of them was clear, nonetheless some progressed more and more throughout the practice, while a few others were not moving the bean bag as far or in the same direction as before due to the numerous things they had to focus on. One Pupil in particular who had a good technique their hand ended up struggling in the second practice when twisting her body the in the wrong direction, making it very difficult for themselves to perform. Despite guidance this student still struggled.
Lesson 5 - Class E
At the beginning of this lesson, PE teacher A asked if the students could remember the three components of athletics and asked them to whisper the answers in his ear to prevent any cheating. Five students got the correct answers and were given a gold coin as a result.
For a third time today, the warm-up using music was used which clearly got this class excited and just as tired as the other classes. A quick chat on breathing was given afterwards as well, when PE teacher A asked if the class knew the names of the gases we breathed. One student remembered oxygen, but it took copious guesses between the class to finally remember carbon dioxide. The guesses however were educated, and a couple of students had clearly heard the name before as they were giving very close answers like “carbo oxide” and “carbohydrates.” So I was still incredibly happy to see the level of knowledge this class had on the human body even though they struggled to get to the answer.
The car analogy was used again to help clear up the process of exhaustion for them and it continued when this class were also given sprinting drills as the two wheelchair uses where not here today. PE teacher A explained the use of five gears and how they represented different levels of speed; the first time round all but one student were not interpreting the gear number accurately so PE teacher A ran with them which helped the pupils very much. Soon all students were interpreting and performing beautifully and were given an individual run around the hall in different gears before getting changed.
Live life to the full.