How do I get my students to think more critically and creatively? How can I make my existing class projects more engaging for the student? How can I create an environment where students take more accountability for their learning? These become the same professional development topics for us as physical educators, not just core subject educators.
The goal for me each time I attend a conference or professional development opportunity is to come back to Excelsior Springs High School with at least one new idea, unit of study concept, or assessment tool that can be implemented in my classroom quickly. I feel like the November 2015 MOAPEHRD conference (Missouri Association for Physical Education, Health, Recreation, and Dance) provided one of those opportunities.
I came back to school the following Monday from a weekend conference with 8 boxes of the game “Spikeball”. Maybe some of you have seen the game marketed on the ABC series “Shark Tank,” where budding entrepreneurs have a shot at making their dreams come true. A couple of young men dreamt up the game “Spikeball”, which is designed to be a 4-person game that utilizes motor skills from a combination of well-established sports/games (volleyball, tennis, ping pong). The equipment necessary to play is minimal, a 3-foot diameter plastic mini-trampoline and small inflatable rubber ball. To play it successfully, players need a fair amount of eye-hand coordination, but the game also requires a great deal of communication between playing partners, playing strategy, and creativity. With no need for massive amounts of space, it has become a fantastic way to get a class of 30 students engaged positively, and actively moving and communicating.
Out of this professional development opportunity, two additional student project concepts have arisen. With collaboration from Coach Irons and Coach Baxter, we have created an Instructional Presentation Project for our Recreational Sports classes in which small groups are assigned a specific individual or partner sport to research. Within the two days that students work in a computer lab they are required to creat 1) an information sheet/study guide which describes the key requirements to their sport, 2) a 15-item assessment with the answer key to be distributed to their classmates, and 3) provide a class presentation that demonstrates rules, playing strategies, specific skills and boundaries, and scoring.
While the returns on the Instructional Presentation Project were positive and heightened interest has been created for Spikeball and other partner sports, the second project will hopefully bring out the creative side in students. Later in the semester Recreational Sports students will work in small groups to “Create-a-Game”. Similar to Spikeball or Boccer (a popular basketball/soccer combination game), students will draw up playing rules, scoring strategies, and necessary equipment to an original game. Additional desired objectives would be that the game entices a high activity level of players, requires cooperation and teamwork, and contributes positively to a desired level of health and skill-related fitness.
We can’t guarantee the next multi-millionaire on “Shark Tank”, but we hope to encourage students to be creative thinkers and calculated risk-takers.
Post by: Aaron Holst, HS Physical Education Teacher
This is a resource build by the ESSD40 staff for to aid in transforming teaching and learning.
Inspire. Empower. Challenge.
Learning Out loud