Guest Blog Post by Jennifer Smith


Wordle from goals students set

Guest Post from Jennifer Smith

Inquiry Questions

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

Physical Education is changing and unfortunately some teachers aren’t willing to change with it. They are called Gym teachers. There is a reason that Education is behind Physical. We always need to know WHY we are doing the activity instructed by the Physical Education Teacher. It has been my challenge to myself this year to be creative in checking for understanding with my students.
I started out this challenge by using my bulletin board in my classroom as a unit board. Since the first lessons we all teach are rules, routines, and expectations, I made the board a goal wall. My students wrote their goal for the year and put it on a sticky note then posted it under their grade. I went further on that thought and told my classes that I would take down the sticky notes each unit and make a Wordle out of them. Now each grade has a poster Wordle that has everyone’s goal on it and they can go look at it to motivate them for their goal. After the goal board, I started with my units and giving two inquiry questions from the standards for each grade. Each student could choose one of the questions to answer and post their answer. I again make a Wordle once the unit is done and post it. This gives the students a running trail of what they have learned and wrote about all year long.
Does it take a lot of time out of my lesson? Absolutely not!  If I am doing station work, it is part of the station. I still have an activity there, just an added writing portion while they wait for their partner to take a turn. I have played a tag and if they have been tagged twice, they go write their post and can get back in the game.  I give the students freedom to go over there when they have their answer or a lightbulb moment to write down their thoughts on another white board.
So the students wrote their answer, and it’s on a poster, how do I REALLY know that they understand?  After each class, I go over and read their answers and check if those answers connect with the inquiry question. If a class doesn’t seem to be on the right page with connecting back to that inquiry question, we have a discussion about the answers given and come up with a general consensus of what type of answers should be given.  Even if the class seemed to get it, we still discuss some answers that some students gave to add to their learning.
I sell my board by telling them that they could either write a paper about our learning or take 30 seconds to write it on a post it note. POST IT NOTE! is their answer. The difference from last year and this year has been an amazing shift into LEARNING why they are being physical. They have more questions and comments about the lessons and less begging for dodgeball. One board has made such a change and I plan to continue thinking of creative ways for these students to learn. I already have one set up and ready to go, but I must try it and make sure it works!
The turn and talk method is great to get the students talking and seeing what they learned, but I want to challenge you to make your students dig deeper and really think and connect with the lesson.

Student Responses

Student Responses

Word Walls in PE

Word Walls in PE

3 responses to “Guest Blog Post by Jennifer Smith

  1. Have a board on a stick to take outside. When it’s end of class, have them write on their post it and stick it on and you carry it inside. They will be proud of that you are carrying and showing their answers. You can transfer them to a bulletin board or somewhere in the hallway wall.

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