What does it take to inspire
Kids love to play, and the idea of playing to learn is a sure-fire way to get their attention for achieving truly inspired learning. Add creativity and critical thinking and you’d be surprised what your students can come up with. This is the experience of GEMS Dubai American Academy’s Jaimie Powers. Jaimie is a Physical Education teacher and PS Specialist at DAA.
Together with her teaching partner, she presented her students with a unique challenge based in the Essential Fluencies that would encourage her learners to imagine and play like never before.
“Imagine you walk outside to the playground and all of the equipment and toys are all gone,” she told her students in her scenario. “ Your goal is to create a game that you can play only using four pieces of equipment.” And that’s where all the fun started.
How do we plot a
path to success?
Jaimie and her partner gave their kids 4 pieces of starting equipment: dodgeballs, hula hoops, skipping ropes, and cones. The guidelines were simple—their games had to be completely original, have a clear set of rules, and had to be playable by at least 4 people. In addition, they could use all the items or a few, but the rest was up to them.
At first Jaimie found implementing the Fluencies a bit of a challenge, but their intuitive growth-focused processes were the perfect fit for the learners on this engaging project.
“Due to the fact that we only had one idea between the two of us, we decided to give it a try and see where it took us,” Jaimie recalls. “As we developed the idea we made it into a two-week lesson, and as time went on we added more elements to the project.”
As for the achievements of the students themselves, Jaimie couldn’t have been more pleased. “Students are truly collaborating and sharing ideas as well as exploring different options that we would never have thought about in any PE class we taught previously.”
How do we measure
growth and progress?
How do we continue to
improve and excel?
The takeaways for Jaimie and her learners are about as positive as you can imagine. “The students now have a lot more control over our PE lessons, and I truly feel like it is no longer me giving out different games and skills for them to master,” observes Jaimie. “They are mastering the skills that they need to be mastering through the games they are creating.”
Students will be using iPads to record game demos, and creating a poster for their next lesson presentations. After that, it will be time to let KG1 and KG2 students test out the games for themselves. Jaimie feels that having the students control the class gives them a sense of purpose and value, and a feeling that they are important participants in the gym community.
What are the next steps for Jaimie and her learners at DAA? “The next steps are to continue with the Fluencies and slowly start adding them into all grade levels,” she claims. “We will be working with grades 1 and 2 next and by the end of the year we will be including KG1 and KG2 students in this process as well.”