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So it looks like I don’t know my alphabet…A.B.C.P.E…

In reality, I am quietly confident that I could recite the 26 letters of the alphabet (in the correct oder). So why A.B.C.P.E? Well, I thought I would share one technique I am using in PE lessons at the moment to improve the Literacy of our pupils. With Ofsted **waves angry fist at the screen** now focusing on Literacy throughout all subject areas the phrase “we are all teachers of Literacy” could be not be more poignant!

Being a founder member of staff at a new (start up) academy I have been in a very fortunate position; to be part of a team of staff who have etablished the culture and ethos of an ‘outstanding’ school (Ofsted, Nov 2011). Literacy across the curriculum has been key since the day we walked through the door into our new school. How are you as Lead Teachers going to improve/drive Literacy in our subject areas? we were asked from day one! Before our school had even been built the founder staff were fortunate to have a training day with Geoff Barton, the truly inspirational Headteacher from whom I have gained so much…(PowerPoint No. 77 on Geoff’s website is from that traing day)

With all of the staff singing from the same songsheet in regards to Literacy, students are surrounded in a consistent environment; one of high level language/vocabulary and full sentence answers as mandatory. One of my favourute sayings that can often be heard is ‘Speak like a scientist’ or ‘Speak like a Philosopher’ or ‘Speak like a Team GB Coach’…you get the gist…students are encouraged….no, not encouraged…more than that…its insisted that they speak at an ‘elite’level. Geoff Barton told me recently at the ‘Youth Sport Trust: Using PE & Sport to improve Literacy’ (PowerPoint No. 104) to reject the first word of a pupils answer…simple but so powerful! Ask pupils to repeat the answer but change the key word…the next attempt is nearly always a better answer! This is one technique I use every lesson…and it works!

Enter the Reaction Ball…

Teaching all boys PE classes…we all know that boys will find anything to fiddle with while they are sitting down listening…from a ball in their hands, a shuttlcock or my favourite; the small black bits of rubber on the 3G pitch. I decided to introduce my very own A.B.C Ball (a very hi-tech invention consisting of a reaction ball with the letters A.B and C written on the ball). Discussions/Q&A sessions in lesson now involve the ABC Ball…

Quite simply…the ball triggers responses from the pupils. I pose a problem/question; “Whast makes Cristiano Ronaldo so good at beating an opponent in a 1v1 situation?” A quick 30 second pair share discussion and its time for some responses. The first pupil may tell us that one reason is due to the fact that he has excellent close control…time for the ABC Ball…I throw the ball to another pupil who then has to Add (add a whole new point), Build (build on a previous answer…make it a higher level answer, give more depth of understanding) or (if they are feeling brave) they can Contest a previous point…

Honestly, the boys love it…the only management issue is making sure they dont jump on top of another pupil when they try and catch the ball…The ball can control the discussion…ask a pupil to throw to another pupil or back to you if you want to pick a specific pupil…Pick A, B or C for an individual to assist with assessments…

The impact so far is simply that these discussion/lesson dialogues are much more focused and from the moment the question or problem is posed the level of language increases…pupils are constantly striving to ‘show off’ their vocabularly or analytical skills…and pupils learn from other pupils…

So there it is…my most recent technique for raising Literacy through PE…I would love it if you could let me know what you think, what you like or think I could add or change to make it better…or even still let me know something you do that helps drive pupil literacy through Physical Education…

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7 thoughts on “A.B.C.P.E

  1. Really like this idea, so simple but really engaging. I am also working on literacy through PE and have been getting staff and students to keep blogs about progress in PE lessons. The students write about what they have learnt and targets and the teachers give feedback on this inc looking at the literacy used

  2. Really love this idea, really simple bit seems so effective. I am also looking at literacy through PE and am doing blogs with year 7. The students post about their sessions and what they learn/targets to improve, and staff give feedback on this and their literacy. In early stages at the moment

  3. I tried using this today for Maths, worked really well. Students could see it helping progress :) plan to use more especially as students get used to it… I used it in combination with a Kagan Cooperative Learning Structure – Round Robin

  4. Great idea. Used this with AS level Anat & Phys group today. Binned off the ball (personal preference) but projected A, B, C onto wall beside board for reference throughout lesson. I changed “A” to “apply” requiring whoever was answering to use the previous point/suggestion and apply the theory to practical examples. Worked a treat. Thanks for the great idea.

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