I used to teach with a colleague who firmly believed if she exposed her physical education students to enough fun experiences, they would “get it.” I tended to be more of a planner, so I would carefully map out learnings, meticulously designing every nuance, hoping I had the right “equation” of lessons. Our lesson planning was a bit like deciding what was for dinner. “What sounds good, what food is in the fridge, what does everyone feel like.” Over the years, I observed our students feeding into the same middle school with what appeared to be similar skills.
As physical education has evolved, we no longer have to hope that our special combination of lessons or a variety of fun activities will develop skilled students. Shape America’s extensive work has brought physical education into the new century. Shape America identified spiraling grade level outcomes so when students participate in quality physical education with rigor, clearly defined learning targets, lessons designed for mastery of the grade level outcomes, we can be assured our students will be developing physical literacy. Ah ha, the goal: My students leave elementary school having mastered each grade level outcome and are on their way to developing physical literacy!
Scrap the “what’s sounds good for dinner?”, lesson planning! I now map it out, using a backwards design! There is an extensive planning phase before lesson planning. Here is how I am mapping it out:
- Start with the end in mind.
- I am very clear about what students will know, understand and be able to do at the end of each year.
- This clarity comes from our National and/or State Standards and Grade Level Outcomes.
- In Colorado, we are lucky because we already have a sample curriculum designed. The Colorado Sample Curriculum stems from the Colorado Standards and Grade Level Outcomes, with generalizations, concepts, inquiry questions, learning outcomes, and vocabulary.
- When designing units, I again ask myself; What will students know, understand and be able to do?
- I look at the big generalizations, think Bloom’s taxonomy, not just the little the evidence outcomes.
- For example, in first grade students are learning how to manipulate objects (balls, bean bags, hoops etc.) In the past, this unit might have been broken up into basketball, hockey, baseball, volleyball, jump rope. But now I’m teaching how one might determine force and speed with a variety ofmanipulatives. In fact our generalizations for the first grade unit are:
- Responsible use of equipment leads to cooperative manipulation when working with a partner or a team.
- Force, speed, and effort are all requisite components in manipulating an object to a desired target.
- Demonstration of spatial awareness assists safe manipulative activities.
- I keep asking myself; How will I know when my students “have it”? What will they know, understand and be able to do?
- This will become my summative performance assessment. In Colorado, we are striving to use performance assessments in which students must synthesize, and analyze, the learned material to create or problem solve. This is a very different model from requesting students to identify, define or demonstrate.
- Next, I ask; What skills, concepts and ideas will students need to have mastered in order to ace the summative performance assessment?
- These will become some of my formative assessments. I double-check to see if all the grade level outcomes are covered.
- When I have my unit’s summative performance assessment, and the formative assessments, all to check for mastery of key skills, evidence outcomes, understanding of key concepts, I group these into Learning Experiences.
- Lastly, I begin to plan the best course of action to bring each of my students to their highest achievement of the learning experiences, writing lesson plans. Following is a typical lesson outline:
- Class begins with an instant activity which can formatively assess a pre-taught skill or concept or acts as a pre-assessment to the day’s learning target.
- Group up my class and discuss daily learning target, learning plan, and question of inquiry.
- Skill progression and skill practice.
- Formative assessment; walk and talk, think pair share, survey, thumbs up, opinion poll, exit tickets.
- As I teach I am continuously differentiating, and formatively assessing. If students “get it” right away, I move on. If students didn’t get it, I re-evaluate, and re-teach.
This post is part of a series where I will be discussing lesson planning.
My friend and mentor, Phyllis Reed will be presenting on this topic at Shape America Seattle make sure you don’t miss her session Thursday.
How do you decide what to teach?