My K-12 Phys Ed Curriculum

Having been involved in some curriculum changes in our high school PE program over the last few years,I feel we are beginning to see the fruits of our labour.

Firstly we decided to wholeheartedly adopt the TGfU model of instruction in Years 7 and 8 with a view to improving the game intelligence of our pupils. In layman’s terms – it was frustrating to find year 9 pupils with no concept of how, for example, to create space or form defensive systems even though their skills were fairly good.

Secondly, in Year 9′ we changed to a SEPEP model of instruction (Sports Education in Physical Education Program’s). This involved using single gender class divisions (our school is co-ed) and then running our lessons in line with a Sports Club Season e.g. Having a grading day, preseason training, in season training and finals competition. This was largely pupil led as all pupils are given a role akin to being a member of a sports club, manager, board member, publicist, statistician etc. The results were fantastic – all pupils fully engaged in lessons! Something that had long been missing with our Year 9’s, especially among the girls. This year we have extended the model into Year 10.

So it got me thinking….how could we remodel our junior school program to fit with the senior school program to ensure maximum progression of skill, game intelligence and social / emotional intelligence (i.e. FairPlay, respect, team work) from Kindergarten to Year 10.

My thoughts: (n.b. these thoughts are dynamic and a product of a particular time in my thinking – by the time I press publish they may well have changed. I am also a trained high school PE teacher and my thoughts are based on my own experience rather than thoroughly researched material)

This is only a representation of how I would devise the games section of the curriculum – obviously, movement, composition and performance, aquatic activities, Outdoor Adventurous Activities, Athletics, Health Related Fitness would also be included.

K , 1 and 2 (stage 1)

– concentration on gross motor skill development, coordination, fundamental movement skills.
– object manipulation – throw and catch – kick and receive – bat and ball
– game play – tag / chase – evade games, target games, striking and fielding games
– explore basic tactical concepts of target games and striking and fielding games

Year 3 and 4 (Stage 2)

– Extend gross motor skills and fine motor skills, coordination and fundamental movement skills (introduce racket manipulation or similar e.g. Lacrosse with large projectiles)
– Extend object manipulation (throw catch and kick receive) – introduce net games and invasion games
– extend tactical concepts of target and striking and fielding games
– explore tactical complexities of net and invasion games through throw and catch games and kick and receive games (e.g. creating space, communication, when and where to pass, creating width)

Year 5 and 6 (Stage 3)

– Refine gross and fine motor skills, coordination and fundamental movement skills
– Refine tactical knowledge of striking and fielding games
– Extend tactical understanding of net and invasion games (utilise new object manipulation methods e.g.invasion games –
Kick from hands – Gaelic football / AFL. Net games – head, feet – sepak takraw) (e.g. systems of defensive, dictating an opponents play, systems of attack, counter attacking, breaking down defensive systems)

Throughout k-6 there would be no need to program a specific sport at a specific time. Instead program categories of sports at specific times and objectives within that category.

For example, instead of having Year 3 play Netball for a unit on your program have Invasion Games – throw and catch. Then use generic / modified games to explore concepts such as creating space, when and where to pass. Potentially playing a ‘recognised sport’ towards the end of the unit to give context.

This way tactical concepts and game intelligence is developed as a primary goal and the skills required (which should be concentrated on throughout stage 1) are developed as a secondary goal. Pupils begin to understand what skill they need and when. If, for example, that skill has not been fully developed in Stage 1 then it would be revisited at this time to help enhance the pupils game play because they have identified that they need that skill to succeed i.e. don’t teach a shoulder pass in isolation then expect it to be used in the game effectively. Where it is likely (anecdotal evidence from 16 years of teaching here) that the receiver will stand still with their arms aloft shouting ‘to me, to me, to me’ gradually moving closer to the thrower and when the thrower does release the ball with a shoulder throw, it fails because no one was in space to receive it.
Rather have the pupils move into space, the thrower throws a pass which is not powerful or quick enough to reach the intended target. Stop and ask ‘how can you change the way you throw the ball to give it more power?’ – then look at the skill of the shoulder pass and introduce it to the pupils skill repertoire.

I know these concepts are not trailblazing. Plenty of schools are already structuring their curriculums this way. It’s just if I had the chance to change ours or start my own school this is the way I would go.


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