This week I experienced a plethora of magic moments based around a single student. This culminated in seeing a student called Jack (not his real name) beam with pride when telling him that a third of KS3 simultaneously played the balance game he created with another student the previous day.
Here is the sequence of moments, that led to this conversation…
– Jack came up to me at break time and said he had no kit, but that he would like to help out during his PE lesson today (magical). This news initiated an involuntary fist pump on my behalf and a verbal “yes!” when he told me, as throughout Term 1, I have felt like I have been fighting a losing battle with trying to convince him that he is good at PE (a message he is not familiar with from his previous schooling). Since starting at BCA, he has often “forgot” his kit or sought refuge in the SEN department to avoid PE lessons.
– During the lesson, despite not having kit, I encouraged Jack to have a go at some of the activities, as they were based on developing balance and could be safely done in normal school uniform. During the lesson, I watched Jack partner up with another student and try some of the balance challenges from the “Funs for everyone” resource from Create Development, despite his low self confidence (magical). With the support of his partner (which was one of the differentiated learning intentions – support your partner to persevere with a task to improve performance and help them assess when they are ready to move to the next level), I could visibly see him start to believe that he could do some of the challenges and he recognised that he was making progress (magical). This is the simple beauty of this resource, which allows every student, of any physical ability, to challenge themselves at an appropriate level, develop an understanding of how effort and perseverance are the key factors for improving, which in turn supports them to make progress in fundamental movement skills. This then allows students to be able to access a wider range of sports.
– Towards the end of the lesson, Jack and his partner approached me to tell me that they had made up their own game that developed their balance (magical), which they then showed me. Having the confidence to have a go at creating a new game, telling me and then showing it to me, was astounding.
– I tentatively asked Jack if he wanted to demonstrate to the class his new game. before I had even finished asking him, he was on his feet, with a smile on his face, heading to the front of the class (magical). They got a great applause from the class afterwards. Smiles all round.
– The following day, I combined two classes to help cover the absence of a colleague. The lesson was broadly similar to the previous day. I had enjoyed Jack’s new game so much, that I thought that we would have a little competition to see who could play “pat-a-cake, on one leg, with their eyes closed” for the longest period of time (magical/comical).
Here is an email sent to me from a colleague 2 weeks ago about Jack and PE…
I talked to Jack’s mum yesterday about his anxieties surrounding P.E. I did assure her that I had spoken to yourself with Jack present about how he can take part in P.E. and that it is not all about running/performance but rather teamwork and co-operation. I have also discussed P.E. with Jack during our 1:1 sessions, explaining to him why it is important, how it is different at BCA and what he can do if he feels anxious during P.E. However he still seems to get very anxious during the mornings of P.E. days and mum is worried about this. I said I would talk to you again and ask you to re-assure Jack again ( I realise this will be next term) about his taking part in P.E.
One thing Jack does worry about is people’s reactions, for example thinking that people will get angry at him over small things. Whilst I have assured him that this is not the case, I think it might be better if you could personally remind him that should he forget his P.E. kit or need some time out from the lesson then this will be ok.
Jack is having some physical difficulties, such as the problems with his feet, and I think that he does experience quite a lot of pain. Also because of his anaemia he is very tired all of the time. I have explained to him how he might sometimes be able to act as a helper in P.E. and that for many of the activities he may be able to walk instead of run (as that is what you said when we spoke a few weeks ago).
Thanks in advance for your help with this, I think it would be really good for Jack if he does participate in P.E. and I have explained the health benefits of exercise to him.