Teaching Games for Understanding

Last year I went the the APPEC Conference and I attended to the game sense session with Shane Pill. As I Physed teacher, I obviously always included games in my session, but the approach of game sense was new to me.

This whole idea got me thinking and this year I decided to use the TGfU (teaching games for understanding) approach for my invasive games unit.

I used resources I found online through twitter, listened to a podcast, got some ideas from the amazing PhysedSummit and even contacted some teachers who had experience with that.

At the bottom of this post you’ll be able to access the resources I used for my unit.

I had plenty of resources, read a lot about it, and I still felt like I hadn’t really planned my unit.

However, I decided to get started  and what I experienced was just AWESOME.

The first question I asked to my 5th graders was “What are invasion games?”

I had them turn and talk and most of them had a little idea of what that mean, some of them had no clue.

I started talking about the traditional way of teaching PE with a warm up, skills focused lesson, a small, modified game and a cool down time.

Somehow, I felt that this using traditional way didn’t really help the students to be successful in the game, because practicing the skills without a defender was completely different than the game situation.

I started my journey of TGfU small, having the kids play a tag game called “It Tag” and I really saw how much thinking and discussion happened during class, and how students how usually where not feeling strong or successful during this kind of games, started to play more and really be active during the lesson.

Even If I had to stop the games quite often to discuss what happened, what challenges and opportunities were there and other tactical questions, I felt like the kids were much more active than when I had them doing drills to practice the skills.

Today was my second day of teaching with this new approach and I was very excited to see how this is indeed a student centered approach and how students are realizing that they need to communicate and collaborate in order to be successful.

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