Well I can’t believe its been such a long time since my last blog. Just over a year ago. The magnetically brilliant @mat6453 influenced my decision to start a blog and since he has left our team to move on to pastures new with @Aspire2be, since then, and despite a training session with Mat to upscale the team, I have to admit, blogging has been on the back burner.
Anyway, here now and in a new job. I am now fortunate enough to be a Physical Literacy Manager (A Welsh Government funded Physical Literacy Programme for Schools PLPS). Im part of a team of 3 people in Central South Wales, overseen by the inspirational @iPhysLit and working in an office with the South East Wales PLPS team and also now ever expanding school to school support team of specialist and rather extraordinary teachers. Our newest member of the team – the brilliantly creative Rich from Red Shoes Productions who is filming our every move (!) describes us as a “box of frogs”. Perhaps accurate, perhaps misguided but definitely describes the vast diversity of the team. Each and every one of our mad box of frogs are brilliantly talented and creative people. Very motivated and passionate about what we do.
So, we are 1 term into our new posts and the stakes are high. We see Physical Literacy as a vehicle to support whole school priorities. We are passionate about physical activity being at the heart of the curriculum as part of wellbeing and health, which we hope will be placed centrally to our new curriculum in Wales. Its not just about sport, its about people. Our task is to help Headteachers, teachers, parents and above all learners reach their potential. Its not going to be easy but thats the challenge and we are all collectively well up for meeting that challenge.
2015 is the year of the #physicalrevolution. Make sure you are part of it.
6 REASONS TO PUT YOURSELF AND YOUR KIDS IN GYMNASTICS
One of the things that I’m passionate about is gymnastics. I was an elite gymnast as a kid, even competing for Australia (a very long time ago) but I’ve been a gymnastics coach for the past 16 years. I’ve coached a range of programs from PMP school programs, Kindergym, Levels 1-10, adults, teenagers and elite gymnasts.
One of the biggest misconceptions about gymnastics is that it’s a sport for a select few. For the gifted and talented. I believe that Gymnastics is not only for the select few. It is not just a competitive sport for the young and super talented. The human body is designed to run, jump, swing, climb, push, pull, invert and all of these actions are movements.
Life is Movement. Gymnastics is the sport of movement and it truly is, a sport for everyone.
I’d like to share a few…
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November 28th saw the first of our #PESSCSC Teachmeets. The event was a success (thankfully!) with 19 ‘edutainers’ and over 30 ‘enthusiastic lurkers’. We were a bit nervous hosting our own for the first time and only having ever been to two other events. We had previously been bitten by the Teachmeet bug. Particularly by the #stjteachmeet which was dynamic, informative and quite honestly blew me away in terms of CPD for teachers. It was different, interactive and pacey. The ‘unconference’ concept stuck in my head. It wasnt too long, too dull, too formal. Snippets of interesting / inspiring / thought provoking stuff was for me the right ingredients to get the brain juices flowing. Teachers are creative, they only need to be shown a germ of a new idea and they can do the rest. Cue #PESSCSC PE subject specific Teachmeet.
Myself and @LittleL2011 (partner in crime for all things tech) managed to infect fellow PESS colleagues #PESSEAS with the Teachmeet virus which gave us more brains and hands to work with. They also brought with them some very inspirational ‘edutainers’ and audience members which contributed to the success of the night. Particularly ‘edutaining’ was @gordonn3 whose used Funny Movie Maker to engage and inspire boys at the start of PE lessons.
Other inspirations included use of Candy Crush Saga to motivate girls by @EV_SPORT and @MAT6453 who sent through a video of how he has developed literacy and numeracy through PE. @NATKINS ‘edutained’ us with a very engaging presentation of physics in PE. As well as external presentations, it was great to see Physical Literacy up there and the work thats going on with our school-to-school support ‘mentors’ for Dragon Multiskills and Sport. Probably one of my personal favourites however was @ICT_MRP’s video of Touchcast and how its been used to engage and inspire his class. This is definitely an aspect I am keen to look at developing with some keen teachers in the near future.
We held the teachmeet at Whitchurch high School in Cardiff. The IT technicians (you know who you are!) were awesome. Having done this for the first time and understanding the mechanics of how it all works, without these guys finding solutions to our problems, it wouldnt have happened. For that we are eternally grateful.
The whole evening went with a bang. The room had an exciting buzz, Presenters were right on and information shared was on the whole, new and refreshing. We have another teachmeet planned in the spring term. March 13th. This is also the date for the UKEdChat subject special for Physical Education. @LittleL2011 is co-host and we are incorporating this into our teachmeet night. Early evening will be Teachmeet #2, from 7:30pm onwards will be the UKEdChat PE special. Its going to be quite an event.
The PESS team have just completed a 2 day pilot of the use and validity of the Dragon challenge. What’s that? Watch this video….
Dragon Challenge does what it says on the clip. It’s a marker in the sand. A way of achieving a baseline measure of what children are able to do in relation to fundamental movement skills. It includes skills such as balance, catching and throwing, dribbling and agility. At the moment children are given a time and a quality score for their efforts, something which we are trying to gain consistency and accuracy over. And it’s causing some interesting discussion and debate!
We are working closely with NGBs, Sports Development teams and many schools from across the South East and Central South Wales. Led by our PESS strategic leader, Swansea University and SportWales, it’s an experience we are all proud to be part of. If we get it right, Wales could be up there with the best of the world.
Until then we will keep on truckin as they say. Go team PESS!
I love this approach, if all education was like this, would we be better people. Better thinkers, more creative and able to solve problems in real life context. Can’t be a bad thing can it?
Teacher to pupil: “What are you doing?”
Pupil to teacher: “I`m thinking.”
Teacher to pupil: “Well, stop it and get on with your work.”
Michael Barber, The Learning Game
A new school; a new teaching and learning policy; a new beginning! September 2010 saw the opening of our academy and the start of our journey towards producing an ‘outstanding’ education for the pupils who came through our doors…
Much work had gone before the first pupils ever stepped foot on the school site…mainly in the development of our detailed, rigorous and (in my opinion) inspirational Teaching and Learning Policy. The hope has been to develop a curriculum based on questioning and move away from the old-fashioned view of knowledge and learning that manifests itself in an ‘answering pedagogy’, that is to focus on a ‘correct answer’ and not deeper understanding or the process of coming to an answer…
The terms Unit…
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So for this year we have a huge focus on developing PHYSICAL LITERACY in our schools. Physical Literacy as the outcome of Physical Education and therefore a concept that we cannot ignore.(PHE Canada, 2013).
It seems the rest of the world are far far ahead of us in this field, although Margaret Whitehead from Bedford University is a world leader in clarifying what it is and how we might develop the concept. I’m not going to get into debating what it is, what it’s about etc right now because as most people know who have read up on this, it’s a widely debated and discussed phenomenon! My simple brain would get lost!!
What I personally understand to be what Physical Literacy (PL) is all about, is not only ‘physical competency’ but also in a school context, where a child would display the personal qualities and attributes as described by the 10 High Quality Outcomes for PE and Sport by the DCMS (2004). Although this document is quite old, for me it captures what we would hope a physically literate child to demonstrate during PE lessons. This should be recognised and rewarded so that its not just the performers who get the glory but those who have shown great confidence or a real willingness to take part or great decision making in the lesson.
Other ‘tools’ that we have in our PL box are the Play2Learn and Dragon Multiskills resources from SportWales. These not only outline the basic, fundamental skills that we would like all children to be able to do by the age of 11, but capture an approach, a delivery style, good pedagogy, and personalised way of helping young learners become physically literate.
Anyway, all that stuff aside, the purpose of this blog is to share my learning journey through helping a group of teachers from South Wales who are working together to try to support the PL journeys of children in their schools. We have called them Physical Literacy Leaders.
We have just completed day 1 of their journey towards understanding what it’s all about, towards improving the outcomes for PL and provision to support it in their schools,towards their own personal developmental journey as a result of being a PL Leader and that by using this approach they can make an impact on the Welsh Government priorities of improving standards in literacy and numeracy and reducing the impact of poverty. We already have some evidence of this from Herbert Thompson primary school in Cardiff but aim to make this common practice in all schools in Wales (!) starting with our PL Leaders of course…….
Anyway, day 1 under our belts and feeling pretty good. The people we selected for this role are definitely the right people. They ‘get it’. I know that’s not very descriptive of me but I hope you know what I mean ( those of YOU who get it! ) We had a real buzz around the room, people were engaged, were very motivated and eager to get started. We left them at the end of the day with thoughts as to how it would look for them in their schools. We are trying to practice what we preach and go for a personalised approach so that our learners take ownership of their program and their own work.
Next meeting is scheduled for next week where we share our initial thoughts and ideas as to how we will go through the action research together and what support, milestones, funding and training need we all need. We have the newly developed DragonTracker App which is going to help us measure children’s physical competency which is FREE to download from the App Store (not android yet sorry).
I’m going to update this blog as a record of our journey as Physical Literacy Leaders and by June next year, hopefully we can show that we have helped a lot of young people get onto their own Physical Literacy lifelong journeys.
DEVELOPING ORACY SKILLS AT KEY STAGE 3
So how can we support literacy across the curriculum? Well in PE we would all be concerned about too much writing, too much reading and too much non-active time in our lessons, unless cross curricular connections were made with other subjects. So for me and for most of us physically minded, are thinking of ways to support National priorities through new and inventive ways. So how can we make a real contribution to the development of literacy whilst staying on our feet and engaged in activity?
Good pedagogy and AFL has led to a lot more productive talking time in lessons but for so many of our learners, distinguishing between street talk and formal language is getting more and more of a grey area. What we want to hear is productive, formal language in our lessons therefore we have to provide the scaffold and tools to make that happen.
Since last year, a number of schools in the Central South region of Wales (Twitter: #PESSCSC) have developed oracy skills in PE. I thought it would be worth sharing some of the ideas that have been worked on in two schools; Lewis School, Pengam in Caerphilly and Treorchy Comprehensive in Rhondda Cynon Taff.
Firstly it might be useful to see some of the resources;-
Developing word power
Word power contains verbs, adverbs, connectives, prefix, adjectives and prepositions and gives Examples of where these might be used in PE. This has been used as display in PE teaching areas to prompt and stimulate thinking from both pupils and teachers!
Different types of talk
The different types of talk has been used during various times in the lesson for a variety of reasons – to instruct, present, ask questions, explaining their work, describing a partners work and so on.
The first picture at the top is of Treorchy Comprehensives’ Walkie Talkie, flip over prompt cards for pupils. you can see the different types of talk along the bottom.
The second picture at the top shows how Lewis School has integrated the different types of talk into their PE curriculum at KS3. Just to note that its not meant to be prescriptive and if other productive talk was going on then it would be recognised and rewarded, but doing it this way the school felt that it gave a focus for each different type of talk at different times.
Treorchy Comp has taken the types of talk and developed them as ‘Walkie Talkies’ as part of a whole school PLC that looked at developing literacy across the curriculum. They have had these professionally made into usable, mobile ‘scaffolding’ materials for pupils. These are currently being piloted in many departments. We will be reviewing how successful/useful (or not!) they have been to staff towards October /November time. Watch this space!!
This is my very first blog. My aim is to update weekly on progress, news, dates, achievements from the Central south PE and School Sport Team. Blogs will begin from new term September 2nd 2013.
Over the past few months I have embraced 21st century learning (a tad late I know but I’m here now!) I suppose I owe a thank you to our new boss who on appointment bought us IPads – my new right arm – and came with a refreshingly new outlook on what we should be doing. Not that it was all bad before- far from it, but we needed a shift towards a new approach. A distributed leadership model means that we are all ‘free’ to develop our creativity. This has got to be a good thing?!
The most stark realisation for me is that we were advocating good things, good pedagogy, AfL, focus on assessment, leading PLC’s and networks of teachers to work towards all things new in PE. But we were missing the connections, relationships, technology and inspiration to make a real difference. Now, I don’t think I’m worthy of the PE Geek title just yet but I’m certainly turning into one. This I know when I’m working off a lap top, IPad and smart phone simultaneously! I’m. A bit snowed under with apps at the mo but I suppose you don’t know what works for you unless you just have a go. Evernote is my biggest friend so far.
My biggest fear in this new dawn is writing blogs is that I produce a load of old rubbish that’s no use to anyone so if anyone has any tips, I would love to hear them. Thanks to everyone I follow on twitter for the hints, hashes and links to very useful info that has got me here today.
Ok so here I go, press the publish button and now begins my new life in cyber land….