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My Solo Journey…Baby Steps First

About a year ago I was looking for different ideas about good practice in Physical Education.  After working in one of the top 6th form colleges in England for a number of years I knew what it was like to work at an ‘outstanding’ place of work.  After leaving I certainly saw a number of lessons that definitely did not go anywhere near outstanding.  Certain practices I observed, I was shocked to see.  It reminded me at times of the ‘KES‘ days, or ‘Dynamo Digby‘ from the ‘Grimleys’.  Just now I was notified by  about a recent article and a conversation by two well respected PE teachers,

after reading the article it made me think of all of the above.

How could I use a method of learning in PE that would benefit the students.  There is so many different ways out there and no one size fits all, though that is what I wanted to achieve, lots of differentiation within a lesson.

When I started looking into different methods a year ago, and this was mainly through looking on twitter at how other people structured their lessons, I came across this tweet

I watched the video and was like wow, I would love to see that in my lessons.  At the time, the school environment I was in, was certainly not a good one, and a lot of bad practice was observed, at times I would make reference to KES when telling people about incidents I had seen. Now in a new school I wanted to try Solo in my lessons.

I started to read about the work from Pam Hook () and she has four great books about how to introduce solo taxonomy into schools and then how to introduce it into PE.  After reading these I put the idea to my co-teacher, and she is amazing, always wants to try new ideas/things, so as a team we started to plan how to introduce it into PE.

I was looking on Pintrest at ideas and saw some Solo Posters for PE, I thought they were so good I made some of my own.  Then along with the posters how could I introduce it to the class.  I found this video, and was going to use a question about the olympics.  After watching the video the students would write down one thing they knew about the olympics (unistructural).  I then put them in groups of three/four, and they had to nominate one person to go and read all the post it notes that were on the board, and pick three (multi-structural). Then on a piece of paper they had to stick the post it notes in a triangle and draw lines between each of them.  They had to write at least one sentence about how they were related (relational).  Then finally they had to write at least three sentences with the first one saying “The olympics  made me think about…” (Extended Abstract).  Now this was a very basic way of starting it, but helped the students see how it was all related.

So during a recent unit of football I started to implement it more and more in lessons.  Along with the posters I split my board up and saw a great idea on Pintrest, that I implemented

IMG_1518

At the start of the lesson I asked the students to initial at the very bottom, and then throughout the lesson they could move their initials up when they feel that they could display the criteria.  When they moved their initials up, I would question them about the different criteria to check for their understanding.  Now I have been doing this for about 6/7 weeks now and it is going well.

In one recent class I have two non-participants, and thought it would be a good idea to give them a set of questions and had to question each group and video their answers.  She asked one student who said he was in the multi-structural level why are you not in the relational stage, he said “I know the skills, but don’t quite understand how they all connect” the lightbulb is going off!!  The students can see their learning journey in PE, within each lesson.  In a different lesson I asked students to work with people in their own lesson, and had different activities for students in each lesson. This was helped by individual learning plans in which I used blendspace, see my previous blog here http://goo.gl/tkXG5J

This year I am really experimenting with a host of new ideas and enjoying the process in doing so.  I wanted to hear what my students thought so i asked them about the lesson, using a google form.

Responses:

Was learning more effective when working with peers at your own level?

Yes 69 97%
No 2 3%

Do you understand Solo Taxonomy?

Yes 59 83%
No 7 10%

Can You See the Benefits of using it in lessons?

Yes 61 86%
No 5 7%

I also asked for written feedback and there was a lot of positives to take away, one that stood out to me was:

“I enjoy knowing my level in the current sport that I’m learning. Sometimes we play a sport for the heck of it because it’s fun but never really assessed ourselves on how we play. If we get better, the game gets more fun. I like the concept of solo taxonomy and knowing where you are on the playing field”

Now depending on what curriculum you use will depend on how you assess your students. I have walked into a new job and slowly making changes, and feel this will be something we will carry on working with this year.  Hopefully can introduce new departments into the idea to see the benefits in their lessons.

Using Voxer I have introduced this idea to  , @SchleiderJustin and @NicholasEndlich who all really like the idea of using solo.  is currently using it in an Ultimate Frisbee Unit.  He really likes the flow to the lessons and how this will impact on his students.  It will aid in mastery during a topic.   Like anything it is about taking baby steps and making sure everyone understands, is learning and is having fun.

Questions:

How do you assess your students?

Have you used ‘Solo Taxonomy’ before?

Would you consider it?

How do you differentiate in lessons?

Do you ask your students for feedback?

UPDATE:

Recent Hangout about solo taxonomy

check out : http://lovepe.me/2014/11/29/862/

Discussion

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