The cross curricular edge of gcse circuit training

There is growing pressure on departments to contribute to whole school improvement by including reading, writing, communication and mathematical skills into all lessons… and PE is the perfect place to start.

Today’s blog looks at the use of cross curricular skills during an outstanding lesson while maintaining a high level of activity.

The objectives of the lesson were to accurately replicate specific exercises to a high standard; perform to maximal capacities towards set goals and be able to evaluate the movements of others, specific to their strengths and weaknesses.

Connect – The lesson started by the students being set into 3 differentiated teams (teams set from their physical performances during the previous lesson). The starter activity began with students moving exercises from their unknown to their understand columns.

Activate – Teams took part in a warm-up relay, re they were required to pick up their tools for learning (pictures of exercises, names of exercises, whiteboard pens and plain whiteboards. The task was a competition based activity. Each team had to collect the tools, match the pictures and exercise names and then on the plain white boards add the points for performance or points of safety for that particular exercise. Examples of the group work are below.




Demonstrate- students were shown the perfect performance of a range of exercises from the lessons circuit. Using the notability they were asked to take a picture and compare it to a pre- saved picture of the perfect performance. Students were then asked to evaluate the technique using both the written and verbal features on the notability app.

From here it was time to work to maximal capacity following a circuit of 8 exercises. We did not follow the traditional move from exercise to exercise. The whole class did the same activity for the same amount of time, with each individual counting their own personal reps. After each exercise the number of reps was recorded.

It is at this point we must remember that technique was one of our key objectives… Students were appointed to be spotters, specifically looking for good and poor technique. If throughout the 30 seconds a student displayed poor technique, a spotter would tap them on the shoulder – remove them from that set of exercise and offer them advice on how to perform the technique correctly.
This worked a treat!!! In previous weeks students had reverted to poor technique in an aim to improve number of sets, however this monitoring process maintained quality of technique.

In between circuits students were able to attend a coaching class from another student who had been identified as having good technique in any given activity…and then it was time for the second set of exercises.

We’re does the maths come in? After each exercise we were recording the number of reps. As part of the consolidate activity students worked both individually and as a team to analyse performance, look at performance patterns etc. One student from each of the differentiated groups were also wearing a Heart Rate monitor, and graphical data was produced as a group – which once again was compared to other groups and allowed for themes and explanations to be generated, linking to gcse theory.

Numbers, words and sweat!!!!


Apps the way forward: My Top Apps of the Month

Since getting our department iPad we have been testing out a range of apps. I have already posted about the use of Comic Life, Socrative and Coaches Eye, but here is a quick fire list of our favourite apps this term.

1. Easy Portfolio

This app is the first in a line of useful apps from thepegeek apps.
Easy portfolio allows you to make groups and set up a virtual portfolio of evidence for each individual student. You an add video, image, audio, notes, URL and documents.
Ideal for both practical and theory elements of PE. We now have videos of each student performing in each activity, together with teacher documentation of the assessments and pictures of any work completed, all in one place!

2. Easy Assessment

The next step for the PEgeek team. Easy assessment allows you to set up rubrics and criteria that allow you to track and record assessments. This has been set up to record our GCSE final practical marks as well as monitor exam practice question performance and record KS3 knowledge PBL home work.
Easy to use; students can add in their own scores and once again all the mediums of video, audio etc can be added just as in easy portfolio.

3. Pick Me is a great app for questioning whether in the classroom, sports hall or on the field.

You can upload your class lists manually or by importing from Dropbox to save time. The app selects a student to answer your question. You can the record whether that student got the question correct or not using the green ‘thumb up’ and red ‘thumb down’. The programme allows you to choose whether that student remains in the hat for further questions or is taken out as they have already answered. This allows you to ensure you have not always got the same students answering questions.
A the end of the session it gives a count up of their question success.
We have found this great for revision purposes and allowed students to visually track their successes in a lesson and across a number of lessons.

For the PE teachers among us the infamous cross country season is upon us where we run on mass around the fields looking to assess cardiovascular endurance, race tactics, personal target setting and resilience amongst other things. App number 4 allows us to quickly time and record every students time in a cross country / swimming/ athletics race.

Webscorer is our new god!
It times the race, allows you to pre populate the names of race runners or add them afterwards. Each time a runner comes in you press the stopcock which gives you their split. The results can also go live on webscorers web page so students can go and check out their performances at a later date. and a tweet to the link never hurts!

5. A great complimentary app to this is PBGo which allows you to log PB times for any swimming or athletic events (including jumps and throws). It allows each student to create a PB card that records event, time, venue and date to track progress in cracking their PBs. It even allows them to add a mugshot of themselves!



This virtual PB card is being used with GCSE students to track their cross country running. It can give you top 5 times over the chosen distance. This evidence can then be updated to Easy Portfolio as their personal evidence!! Can’t wait to roll it out with more groups.

‘hAPPy APPin’ from EV Sport

Socrative sets the standard for Solo Stations

For those of you looking for an engaging app… Socrative is your answer. It can be accessed on iPads or via the Internet on computers, and allows students to take part in interactive questioning; with instant feedback for both them and you. This is the icon you are looking for


On this occasion I used socrative as a starter and evaluation tool to assess which solo station students should start at within the lesson. As part of my planning I had pre set a multiple choice quiz, reflective of a unistructural level, asking about indifferent methods of training. Students logged into my ‘room’ and began to answer the questions at teacher led pace – each time I received feedback that all students had answered.

Here is a preview of the Socrative home screen that displays all the possible set-ups you can run.


At the end of the starter I had a clear picture of what methods of training students had understood in from the practical lessons proceeding this lesson.


This is where our solo station journey began…
All students who had got all the questions correct started the lesson at station 2. .

Those students who had not answered all the questions correctly started the journey at station 1. This was set up as a teach station where students could revisit the specific area of training methods where their mistake had been.
On this table there were a range of sources available to suit a range of student learning styles.
* textbooks for those who wished to read information on specific training methods.
* sheets with pictures and QR codes linked to videos that could be viewed using the ipad.
* teacher input / teaching.

When they felt comfortable that their understanding in this area had improved they went back to the starter activity – this time answering the question at their own pace (a setting within the app). Only one student had to revisit station 1 twice before moving on to station 2.

At station 2 Activities and questions were pitched at a multistructural level and contained practice exam questions using the verb describe.

At station 2 their was a self assessment sheet linked to the exam questions that consolidated the learning at this station.

Station 3 allowed students to progress to relational thinking, where the ideas and knowledge generated at both the uni and multistructural stations had to be related to a specific sport.


This writing frame allowed thinking to develop, while acting as a stepping stone for an extended writing piece linked to a BTEC Sport assignment meeting assessment objective P2 in Module 1

‘Describe 3 different fitness training methods used to achieve excellence in a selected sport’

The plenary for the lesson once again used socrative as an exit ticket was set up and all students must complete this task before leaving the room.

The solo stations allowed students to build and expand their knowledge at their own pace, feeling success and progression as they moved through the stations and the different activities. I feel the set up of these stations encouraged students to be independent, and in someways resilient (especially those who started at station 1) and also resulted in more work being completed.

Get the fat controller out and get Thomas the tank and friends flying from station to station!! Whoo whoo!!!

Team EV are back…and the teaching just keeps getting better

As a HoD I am lucky enough to observe the lessons of others…and I’ve seen some outstanding PE practice this past week.

If ever you were unsure about how to differentiate in practical PE then this lesson commentary is for you.

The group are 3 lessons into their football module, and range from levels 3-6.

The lesson started with some clearly set objectives


Pupils led their own warmup, reflected on prior knowledge from the previous lesson and were set a directed task; their focus…dribbling.

Students completed the first section of their lesson learning sheet


From their knowledge and performance in the connect tasks, students were asked to place themselves at the correct station. How did they know which station? The teacher had a number of statements for students to match themselves to.


These stations followed a teach, do, review theme with increasing competence in the skill of dribbling required.
Station 1 had a lot of teacher input with student following a set path using simple dribbling techniques.
Station 2 encouraged students to dribble, look up and pass in a controlled and unchallenged situation.
Station 3 was a small sided game of end game in which students worked in small teams and had to dribble the ball into the end zone to score a point. This station also required students to actively analyse the performance of others using a simple analysis sheet.


As students felt they had successfully completed the tasks at the station with increasing fluency, they moved to the next station. Even for those who may not have moved station, physical progress was evident. To consolidate new learning, the learning sheet was revisited and new learning was added.

Each group fed back to the class what challenges they had faced at their station, how they had overcome them and what they had gained from the lesson.


Overall and outstanding lesson and a good format for anybody struggling with differentiation to use!

Sport psychology lesson 2

An earlier post identified how I had used photo babble and a solo lesson tracker to introduce elements of sports psychology…now it was the turn of the students to present their understanding though a range of mediums – chosen by them.

The lesson was structured around
1. Teach – for those who had missed the previous lesson or had graded themselves as pre or uni structural on their solo tracker.

2. Do – production of a assessment display piece to match the assessment criteria
‘describe / explain/ analyse the effects of psychological factors on training and sports performance’ – P6 / M3 / D2 – unit 1

3. Class review – peer assessment of the work produced, and a personal review of understanding using the same solo tracker from the previous lesson.

Examples of the do:

The students chose a variety of medium with which to present their work.
* Some chose traditional pro’s and wrote a written evaluation.
* a number of groups used photo babble to communicate understanding Fromm the performers perspective while including theory content. Planning time involved creating scripts


Once again I must apologise for not being able to upload video to this blog. The example above starts with Mohammed Ali saying “I have the confidence to get in this ring…now you’re on the floor… Ding ding ding”.

The opponent asks ” how did you manage it..what do you have that I don’t?”

The pumpkin in the corner (no significance in the choice other than I only have the free version of photo babble!) then goes on to explain about mental preparation, focusing, imagery and arousal and how they link to optimum performance.

* One group produced a iMovie trailer highlighting the trials and tribulations of Joey Barton, with clips of his mistermeanors once again with reference to inverted u theory and possible solutions for Joey!



* another group produced a podcast based around theory using examples of kimbo slice!!!!!!!! I did say pick any performer?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

The quality of work produced across all mediums was of a high quality, and students commented on how having the choice made a difference to them… After all we all have our own styles of learning!!!!!

The class review process proved very successful. We set out a success criteria and spoke explicitly about how this linked to the stages of solo. Groups were asked to attach a solo grading to the work, while also commenting on presentation and examples used to express theory.

What have a learnt from this?
Well firstly I assumed that everyone would want to use the iPad and produce all singing and all dancing…but just like us teachers – some students are scared and wary of technology.

Did technology produce better work?
There was no significant difference in the grading of written or technology based presentations, however student review feedback suggested the movie and photo babbles were more interesting to watch and review, and students said they would go back and use this work for revision purposes over reading.

It was identified that lower ability students, who often struggle with written communication benefitted from the visual and audio aspects of the task, and more information was communicated than would have been within a written piece.

Review outcomes were more structured and peer review reflected that of the individual and the solo tracker. Students also began to recall ideas and performance from the procedural stage when assessing others…bonus!


Comic life meets coach my video for an analysis story

Having an iPad in PE is beginning to make anything possible, and things that were once an arduous task are now simple and most importantly fun!

I have spent the last couple of weeks following people’s advice on which of the many analysis apps to use (and free ones where possible) and as most people on twitter know…I am addicted to transforming every part of the world into comic life.

This post describes the merging of the 2 mediums, and how they can be applied to the practical element of PE.

It was a year 9 mixed ability group, part way through their athletics scheme of work and their weekly focus was on the discus. The first lesson involved teacher and student led teaching, during which every student was recorded using the “coach my video” app. The students then watched their performances back and annotated the video, taking still pictures of certain aspects of the technique.

For the first time, they loved being filmed…and I put this down to the fact that it was with the iPad! Also the possibility of instantly annotating and choosing their own stills, rather than having to take them away to print or download etc brought an enthusiasm to the analysis process.

Between the 2 lessons I made a comic story for each student using the stills with annotations they had chosen. On each square was space for the student to comment on their technique.



Before the students embarked on this process, we as a class reflected on the perfect model, with key words and still pictures of each phase of the throw displayed on the board.

The results were great, students showed improved understanding and a higher quality of written feedback. They loved the concept of the comic and as a class decided that they should laminate all the sheets and have it as a class comic. This comic was then shown to their friends, who now all want to do the same thing in their lesson! Even whilst I was prepping the comic pages in my office,I had students asking “when are we doing this”….so all I would say is give it a go! The construction of the comic looks like it would take a long time, but it took under an hour to create all the comic pages for the whole class.

Can’t wait for the class set of iPads so they can create the comics themselves!

Solo learning with sports psychology

This week the fusion of solo and iPad took place. It was a year 10 BTEC group who had previously done one introductory lesson on psychological factors that effect sports performance. The learning objectives were shared on the interactive whiteboard…then the fun began.

The task was explained using a photo babbled inverted u theory that spoke to the students.


It is here I must apologise for not having video upload facilities on this blog. The first mouth asked the students to work as a group writing down as many words related to the inverted u graph on a sheet of paper with the graph on.

The next mouth asked them to explain the different points of the graph, specifically linking their ideas to performance.

The final mouth then asked them to research a famous sports performer and to apply the theory of the inverted u to their sports performance.

Each task was built up section by section on different pieces of paper that were then collated together as the task progressed.

Here are some examples of the work produced…





Central to the lesson was each students individual progress through the solo levels, while working within the group. Each student was given a learning evaluation which was referred to and filled in at the end of each task. The grid identified what levels of thinking and feedback were required by each task, giving examples of how they may achieve each level.


The students were able to see their progress as they evaluated their contribution to the group work. It also enthused students to get to extended abstract…must be the competitiveness of PE students coming out! Lol

This lesson is the 2nd of 3 lessons…next lesson they will write their final assessment pieces ( extended abstract). Each individual will be able to chose the skills and format they present their work in:
A poster or leaflet
A report (word document)
A photo able
A PowerPoint presentation

The results will be posted next time!