19 May 2021

PE Pivots

Middle School
PE Pivots
PE Pivots
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With laser focus and headstrong determination, Lachie eyed the goals and planned his next moves. It was cold and wet, but the only thing he could see was the defender ahead of him and the ball at his feet. Lachie was all set to pivot to the left, break away from the defender and go for the goal. Knowing there was no way he could lose, Lachie lurched, but suddenly felt an intense pain shoot up his leg as he rolled his ankle – and that was that. Game over.

While this unsuccessful pivot is a scenario to which many of us can relate; recent twists and turns in Middle School learning have been more successful.

The introduction of Canvas has been a clear victory for all. It is an intuitive and easy-to-use ‘one-stop shop’ for student resources, assessment and feedback. The use of Subject Announcements and weekly Student Learning updates have been well received communication tools and are now routine.

The week’s Literature Festival stands out with its impressive range of electives and flexible learning options. It is an excellent example of our determination to increase student choice and to create individual pathways which maximise student engagement and learning. A focus on growth rather than grades has meant that feedback comments provide information on the next steps in each student’s learning journey, giving all students the opportunity to experience success and challenge at an appropriate level.

One of the most significant pivots, aside from Lachie’s impressive attempt at goal, is the delivery of Physical Education in the Middle School. Year 7 students are no longer focussing on traditional units such as tennis, dance and basketball. Instead, they are spending their PE lessons working on a series of underlying themes and skills that can then be applied across a range of sports; Lachie’s pivot could have occurred equally in basketball, football or netball.

The Year 7 thematic units of Invasion, Striking and Fielding, Net and Wall and Advanced Movement are not only instantly intriguing but quickly put all students into thinking mode. How does your ability to strike the tennis ball need to alter when you strike the baseball? How does a basketball defence compare to a football zone?

Explicit teaching aims to help students transfer their understanding of strategies and skills across games to create richer, more problem-solving-focussed learning. This thematic approach also allows individual needs to be addressed more readily. The talented cricketer can look to transfer skills into another sport while there is no need for anyone to think ‘oh no, not cricket again’.

The highlight of each theme is the celebration tournament when the new skills are used in a variety of sports. Of course, all the Physical Education core competencies of co-operation, independence, social responsibility, leadership and perseverance remain important and are enhanced throughout each of the units.

The new look Year 7 Physical Education program will be reviewed later in the year and student feedback will be sought. The expectation is that this PE pivot will continue into Year 8. These changes will be documented in our curriculum information document, Pathways 2022. As always, Pathways will be available in early Term 3 in preparation for students to make their Subject Preferences.

And while not a Carey innovation, it would be amiss of me not to mention one final pivot. No matter which side of the fence you sit, the online delivery of NAPLAN tests has certainly created a much more engaging and adaptive testing environment for students. By the way, Year 7 and 9 parents, you should congratulate your children: their behaviour and commitment to the NAPLAN testing was outstanding!

Meredith Plaisted
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Learning

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