Written work and Elementary PE are not always the best companions; the number of bits of paper with students work on I have seen blown across the field or having a big dirty footprint in the middle of the work as they have been stood on accidentally when the students were working on the floor, is enough to put you off setting written tasks, without taking into account the fact the students want to being active in their limited PE time. The previous SPELTAC courses have also highlighted how PE can really help ELL students by focussing on the development of their verbal English.
However, there are times when we do written tasks. As mentioned in an earlier post, the PE department decided to help students in reflection tasks by having common reflection questions to act as sentence starters. These are on cards that the students can refer to when planning and on a website.
At the end of the G4 athletics unit, students were asked to reflect on what they had learnt during the unit. The reflection questions were provided as sentence starters, and students used 2-4.
As a teacher I modelled some possible responses, before students used ‘think, pair, share’ to develop their own responses.
Students had to then put their reflection on their blog. Some choose to video record themselves speaking their response which was posted onto their blog; other wrote onto the blog directly, while most wrote on paper and took a photo and uploaded to the blog or typed it up later.
Where next – These pieces of written could be developed further. At present the first draft is the final draft. Students could be asked to take these drafts home and edit them and redo for homework – but I feel that classwork should be completed in class, and elementary students should not be completing homework. We could, as Rossbridge and Rushton suggest, become involved in joint construction in order to develop the written language. However, I feel this would impede into the limited time we have for physical activity. Maybe this reflection completed in PE could be used by the class teacher and worked upon during literacy time in class.
Maybe it is just fine to leave it as it is and accept that while we are all ‘Language Teachers’, we all fill different roles in helping students develop their language.