Optimise pupil activity and progress in PE lessons with these effective transition strategies

5th June 2017 at 12:01

Transition strategies for PE

Recent studies show that one in five children are leaving primary school obese. To try and combat this in schools, Ofsted advise that PE lessons need to be at least 80 per cent active.

One of the most common challenges that teachers face in meeting this requirement is transitions between phases of the lesson.

In this article, I’ll outline two key methods for effective transitions that will help to ensure we optimise pupil activity and progress in your PE lessons.

1. Explode

In almost all PE lessons we have an outline of cones signalling the perimeter of the playing area. When the teacher says: ‘Explode’, pupils quickly sprint to one of the cones.

We can extend this practice by asking pupils to complete a specific action linked to the learning or learning culture such as ‘balancing on one leg’ or performing a ‘star shape’.

Once pupils have ‘exploded’ to a cone, they are now in prime position for the teacher to explain and model the next activity.

The brilliant thing about explode is that pupils:

  1. use a burst of energy to get to the cone as quick as they can and
  2. have time to ‘recover’ while they listen to the next instruction and/or watch you model

What explode doesn’t do is overcome the challenge whereby you have to transition from an individual activity (e.g. warm up) to working in pairs or groups. (e.g. main lesson).

We can create smooth, flowing transitions from individual activities to groups by using:

2. Group games

It’s good practice to set a culture within our classes that whenever the teacher says “groups of…” followed by a number, such as ‘two’ ‘three’ or ‘four’ pupils must respond quickly by getting into a group of that number.

For example, pupils can perform a balance, place their foot on top of the football, touch their tennis rackets, etc.

The great thing about ‘group games’ is that whatever phase we are at in our lesson, be it a main lesson, match play or cool down we can;

  1. call the number required for the next phase of learning,
  2. ask pupils to sit down as they are and
  3. explain and model the next steps clearly.

A good tip is to model with a pair/group, starting with clear steps of how pupils should shape themselves within their pair/group. E.g. Start by facing your partner, toe to toe, then both of you take 3 big steps back. Then I want you to…

Fast, fluid and effective transitions ensure we:

  1. optimise pupil activity, independent and collaborative learning time
  2. have habitual structures for effective modelling and sequencing
  3. keep children engaged in the learning process

Give ‘explode’ and ‘group games’ a go. I hope this article supports you to deliver effective transitions in your PE lessons.

Jazz Rose is a PE teacher and education consultant at J and C AcademyHe tweets at @MrJazzRose and is the author of ‘Teaching Primary PE’