G5 Invasion Games Inquiry

G5 students are in the middle of their “Invasion Games Unit.” Using the “Teaching Games for Understanding” approach, we started exploring basketball throughout small sided games.

The learner profile items we chose for this unit are:

  • Inquirers: “We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.”
  • Communicators: “We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.”

This year, we are focusing on inquiry and one of our goals in physical education is to nurture the student’s curiosity by providing more opportunities for student-directed inquiry in PE.

Yesterday, after the warm-up, I wrote down a few provocations for learners and asked them to add their thoughts.

This is what I wrote:

“A Closer Look at Invasion Games”

Good Decision Making Is:  Good Running Is:    Good Defending Is:  Good Attacking Is:

I had several markers and learners stood up and started adding their thoughts. We also looked at the modified small-sided games and talked about the importance of respecting the rules.

The PYP Attitudes for this unit are “Respect, Commitment, and Cooperation.

We made a big deal about them before starting the small sided games.

Learners got together in groups of 7 and divided into 2 teams and one person filming the games.

They changed roles during the games so everyone would get a turn to play and a few to film the games.



Before they started playing, G5 students took a look at what was written on the board, their ideas and other thoughts I had added and created a strategy with their teams. As they played, questions raised and students wondered.


I walked around, observed the games, stopped them and asked them questions about their strategies.

We ended up our unit using a great tool called “Plickers” that gets me instant feedback about every single student.


Ask More, Talk Less

One of my goals as a teacher is to become more of a facilitator in my lessons and be able to step back and let the learning happen while students are in charge. That sounds wonderful, but it is not always easy or simple to achieve.

I feel that giving agency to students is not enough, they need to have the tools and the skills to be successful. And then, I find myself wondering and asking all these questions.

What are those tools? What are those skills? How can I start? Where do I start?

We just had a couple of days of PD focused on inquiry and something we talked about was “The Inquiry Five Strategies” If you want to learn more deeply about this, check @inquiryfive on twitter and her website https://www.inquirypartners.com

I was energized and inspired by the new ideas and strategies I learned during the PD and I decided to apply a couple of them that I feel they are somehow related, “Ask More, Talk Less and Stay Curious”

One of the ways to foster curiosity is with provocations and having learners inquiring into something by asking questions. If learners are the ones asking those questions, they become owners of their learning, student agency happens, and as a consequence of them asking more or, talking more, I talk less.

So yesterday I asked grade 5 learners to turn and talk to a partner to share how was their long weekend and if they were able to do something active during that time. I would say that everyone was involved in conversations, which is great to see, listen, and observe.

After warming up with a game, students started reading something I had written on the board to provoke their thinking and hopefully inspire them to formulate some questions.

I had written something like this: The game agreements and the title of Attack and defense.



In addition, I started jotting some questions with the hope that would inspire learners into further inquiry.

A couple of students wondered a couple of things, a few more stood up and wrote some more questions but nothing else happened.

My idea was to foster some curiosity about this “new game,” provoke their thinking and support their conceptual understanding. It didn’t really happen with this class, or if it happened, it wasn’t what I was picturing.

Students were engaged in the games and when I stopped their small sided games they were keen to keep playing and support their team with the different strategies they were coming up with.

I wonder how I could have learners inquiring more during the games rather than me being the one who is most of the time asking those questions.


I wonder if it’s necessary during our PE lessons to try to have learners asking questions or if the fact that they are involved in the tasks and understand the concepts is enough. I feel that for them to ask questions I need to be the one who initiates those conversations. I wonder if other physed colleagues have the same wonders and questions.

Grade 3 is also doing a unit on invasion games and we started playing “Benchball.”

To my surprise, many learners stood up, grabbed a marker and started to write their own questions and wonderings and also the ones from their peers who didn’t want or dare to stand up, which, by the way, was totally fine with me.

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They played small-sided games in half court and I was able to stop the games to talk about them, listen to their feelings, frustrations, and concerns, and also to their successes.


Healthy Lifestyle

Last Friday we wrapped up our “Healthy Lifestyle” UOI

During this unit, G1 learners became aware of the importance of physical activity in their daily life.

Throughout a variety of physical activities such as running, playing tag games, wall climbing and practicing yoga, G1 students started to recognize basic changes that occurred in their bodies.

Hopefully, you have been able to watch and listen to your child in Seesaw as they shared what they learned during this unit.

The unit is now over and we would like to ask you to keep inspiring your child to be active and practice different physical activities as well as maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Thank you!

Getting Out of My Confort Zone

As a wrap of the Adventure Challenge, Cooperative Games, UOI, I had students designing their own games and sharing them with the class.

I have done this before but I guess this year it really hit me starting a lesson where I had no idea of how things were going to end up.

Last week I posted an activity for learners to complete using their digital portfolios, Seesaw.

I told them to find a moment in class or after school to think about a game and gave them clear expectations. As I said, this was a wrap of our unit, so that means that these G5 learners have been inquiring, learning and playing a variety of cooperative games.

Below you can see what I shared with students:

Design a Cooperative Game

1. Think of the goal of the game. What do you want people to achieve?

2. Explain how to play. Rules.

3. Organize the game. Students will be playing in teams of ____ students.

4. Think of what materials you need. You can use PE equipment but be sure to ask if we have it.

5. Name your game

I also added an example for students to better understand what to do.

To my disappointing out of three classes, only one student had completed the activity before our lesson. I learned, later that students do not have any home learning anymore and they didn’t really get much school time to work on this kind of stuff.

At the same time, I had told the G5 learners that if they didn’t do the activity outside of the PE lesson, we would have to use 20 minutes of our lesson to complete it.

I gave them the choice to work by themselves, with a partner, or in groups of three.

Students had an iPad and they used their seesaw accounts to design the games. Some preferred to type, other to video themselves while explaining their games, and I also had a few learners who drew some pictures and typed a few extra explanations on their game.

And so we have had two days of pure “not knowing” what will happen in class, which have been quite different, stressful somehow and filled with student voice choice and agency, and teacher inquiry.

Since last year I have been using a site called Flippity to create groups quickly and randomly. There is an option of a wheel, and so I had used it this week to choose the students who would be running the games for others. I had 4 groups of students getting their equipment ready with the TA while the rest of the class started to do a warm up.

What I found out by doing this activity, it’s that many learners still don’t understand what’s a cooperative game and when they have to design one, they just come up with anything that really interests them or seems fun.

Some students, though, were quite creative, explain their games well to the class and were really on task.

I guess, what I found more stressful about doing this kind of activity, was to have so many students at the same time going to get equipment, not being really sure about their games and managing two courts and two completely different games at the same time, trying to support everyone, the ones who were in charge, and the ones who had a hard time understanding the rules, because, as I mentioned earlier, several times those games made little sense and it was challenging to find the cooperative part of them.

It really made learners think about their games and how they didn’t meet the expectations. At the same time, other students were wondering about each other’s games and learning in a completely different way.

I ended up my session using plickers, plagnets, and having learners assessing themselves. This is the question I asked them, which is one of the benchmarks for interactions, one of the big strands for PSPE in the IBPYP.

Have you demonstrated the ability to perform and function as an effective member of a team?

I actively participated in the team activities, shared my ideas and respectfully interact with others
I participated in the team activities and respectfully interacted with others
I sometimes participated in the team activities and tried to interact with others
I did not participate in any team activity or interact with others







Meaningful Experiences in PE: Guiding Principles


‘Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for behaviour that gets you want you want out of life.’ – Ray Dalio

Guiding Principles of Meaningful PE

Movement has the potential to enrich human existence and Physical Education can be a site that contributes to this by creating meaningful experiences of movement. Meaningful experiences are those that hold ‘personal significance’ to the learner. PE Teachers who subscribe to the creation of meaningful experiences, are influenced not just by the achievement of learning objectives but by the value the learner attributes to all forms of movement and to PE itself. If teaching is seen as problem finding, problem defining and problem solving in a complex environment to assist the individual or collective to flourish, then we need guiding principles for our professional judgement and decision making. Ultimately we want children to become physically educated, to see how habitual daily…

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G5 Adventure Challenge: Human Hungry Hippos

G5 learners are doing an Adventure Challenge unit (Cooperation games) in PE.

Our central idea is: Working together results in change.

One of the key concepts we are studying this year is “perspective.” Students understand that others might have different ideas to solve a problem.

We have been playing several cooperative games where students had to choose between different jobs or roles.

Last week we played Human Hungry Hippos.

For this game, learners got together in small groups and everyone had a role. They had to choose a different role than the one they chose before in a previous session and game. Roles/jobs were: reader, cheerleader, video recorder, and helper/getter.

The idea of choosing a new role was to be able to see things from a different perspective and have learners reflecting on how they worked with others and supported their team in each challenge.

Learners had written instructions and the reader had to read it out loud for their team. Once they knew what to do, they could get started. The video recorder had to make a short clip and add it to their Seesaw to build their portfolio. Everyone had to be featured in the video, also the video recorder being in action ( playing the game) and reflecting on their game and role at the end.

Below you can see some pictures and videos of G5 learners in action:

In addition, we worked on co-creating success criteria. Below you can see what we came up with:

G5 Cooperative Games Success Criteria

I can be open-minded to work with anyone

I can be principled, respect others

I can communicate with the team effectively

I can give it a go, participate!

I can be safe

I can think positively

I can share the equipment

I can share the workload, choose a role: leader, cheerleader, helper, mediator, reader…

I can have fun!

The Power of Visual Feedback and Student Agency

Although this blog post’s purpose is to highlight how visual feedback and student agency help learners grow in their learning, I would like to add that this is something that can be done in any grade.

At the beginning of the Rhythmic Gymnastics unit of inquiry, I shared with G5 students what was the success criteria and what was going to be their summative assessment.

Learners used their previous knowledge and newly learned gymnastics skills to inquire into what they needed to do to create a floor routine.

They taught themselves basic ways of using rhythmic gymnastics equipment, such as a ball, a ribbon, or a hoop, watched different rhythmic gymnastics videos to get inspired and inquired onto the best ways to combine a specific gymnastic skill such a roll, balance, leap or jump, with the equipment they chose to use.

Throughout the unit, gymnasts reflected on their own practice by completing exit tickets and forms and thinking of the use of their time while working independently and with others. They also reflected on how engaged they were in the unit.

During the whole unit, I gave constant feedback to learners. Sometimes I would just give them quick tips, or ideas on how to make a sequence of movements or how to transition from one movement to the next one. Others I filmed them while performing and shared my thoughts with them.

My TA filmed each group of gymnasts as the rest of the class kept on practicing. I used those clips on the following lesson to confer group by group.

Visual feedback is powerful. Students watched themselves performing, we looked at the quality of the skills and talked about how to improve those. Using the success criteria we thought together about their routines. Some of the learners realized then that they forgot to add a leap, or that their use of the space was very limited, and so on.

I spent the whole lesson watching those clips with learners, group by group and felt that they got very meaningful feedback that they would apply right away.

What pleased me most, is that when I was working with a single group, the rest of the students were very engaged in their task, practicing over and over and trying to get better at their skills and their overall routine.

Today, students reflected on their work and added their thoughts in this grid:

Ms. Michelle Class

The other two G5 classes would be doing something similar tomorrow and I would add their links here:

Mr. Garrett’s Class

Ms. Lou’s Class

Wednesday and Thursday are their final performances.

Can’t wait to see them!

We will film every group and share it so parents and the community can also see students in action.

G3 Gymnastics UOI

During this UOI, G3 learners have been inquiring into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs, and values.

In physical education, G3 learners have been exploring different gymnastics skills and choosing the ones they preferred to create their performance.

Our central idea was: “Performance is influenced by purpose and audience”

Having that in mind, learners thought of who would be their audience while performing, and why they chose to do that specific performance.

During the UOI, students worked on single point balances, headstands and handstands with or without support, different rolls, jumps, and vaults. They got constant feedback as they practiced their skills. Peer and teacher feedback.

I also found that visual feedback really helped them while performing different gymnastics skills and they were able to improve the skills as they understood better what to do or how to do it.

Below you can see some pictures of G3 gymnasts in action.

Next week, students would be performing in the gymnastics room. Some of them choose to do their floor performance individually, while others preferred to do it with a partner or in a small group of three or four gymnasts.

We will be filming their performances and will upload them to their drive after.

G1 Gymnastics UOI

G1’s gymnastics unit of inquiry is now in full swing.

Our central idea for this UOI is: Gymnastics involves making patterns in our movements.

Learners are practicing several floor skills, such as rolls, balances and different weight transfers.

You might have seen your kids in action already as I started to add some short clips of their forward and backward rolls on Seesaw.

Last week they worked on many different balances with a partner. Students understood how important is to control their bodies and have a good form while doing gymnastics. They collaborated to create their own balances with their partner and made sure they held them for, at least, 3 seconds.