Child and teenage angst, comes in many shapes and forms. The need to always be right, the best, the winner, is a common occurrence in many classrooms. As previously discussed, part of our ‘job spec’ is risk management.
The beginning of the school year sees us familiarising ourselves with individual students and working towards creating a safe supportive class environment. Physical education lessons can be problematic, particularly team games.
Our classes often have a smattering of sporty types, natural athletes. Some are prepared to lay their bodies on the line to ensure they emerge the victor at every opportunity. Throwing care to the wind, they charge recklessly amongst terrified classmates, unable to differentiate between a Saturday game and a friendly frolic in the playground.
A carefully planned class game can easily turn into a catastrophe. Inevitably there are minor injuries, a small group of meek mild, soft-hearted students gather at the teacher’s side with all manner of health problems, hoping to avoid engaging in Armageddon.
The game often concludes with complaints of cheating, temper tantrums, sulking, the list goes on.
There are two possible solutions, stick to skills based PE lessons and avoid team games that are potential trouble spots. Or alternatively get creative and help students manage the variety of situations they find themselves in. This leads on, to the focus of my writing blog.
I can already hear screams of outrage from many. I am not arrogantly assuming that we all, experience this conundrum. Unfortunately I have, generally with older students.
‘Winners and Losers’
This juicy writing lesson varies a little from previous lessons. It was developed out of need. My exemplar is tailored to be read to the class prior to a PE lesson, where a game of some sort is to be played. Before reading the poem, identify unfamiliar words and discuss these with the class before sharing.
My expectation was that on completion of the PE lesson, the class would write a reflective statement in Juicy writing format, summarising their feelings about the recent game.
Learning Outcome: Use descriptive language to add impact to your writing
- Write a minimum of five lines
- Record ideas in a list format
- Use at least one new descriptive word
- Avoid using dead words
- Make an honest attempt when spelling unknown words
- Write from the heart
- Revisit Success Criteria
- Teacher reflects on PE lesson, records personal reflective statement on whiteboard.
- Refer to attached word list, identify six words that could be used, seek suggestions from class. Record on whiteboard. I usually aim for a balance, positive and negative, for example (determined, energetic, fantastic, annoyed, thoughtless, aggressive). The list was glued in students draft writing books and used frequently.
- Individual work on drafts, teacher conferencing with students, publication on attached template.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced with this type of writing is getting students to write appropriately. The ‘Rule’ was, you couldn’t mention names or use unacceptable language. During the modelling process I demonstrated, on numerous occasions how to record strong feelings in an acceptable way. Students who still struggled with this concept used to come to me and I helped them to ‘get it right’.