My best lesson - Set engagement soaring with ultimate frisbee

29th August 2014 at 01:00

Pupils love playing ultimate frisbee in PE lessons because it is so different from mainstream sports. Some children are crestfallen when they hear we are doing football (again), but frisbee is a sport that all students tend to embrace.

The great thing about ultimate frisbee is that, although it is a sport all of its own, pupils can transfer skills that they have previously learned from basketball and netball. This means their proficiency is high from the very start - and so engagement follows.

Students lead the learning in this lesson. Thirty pupils in a games hall is a tight fit, but split the hall into thirds and it works. The children wear name tags for my benefit, but also for a self-evaluation task at the end.

First, I ask the pupils to explore different ways of catching the frisbee, to find what works best for them. They try catching with two hands, one hand, on the move and so on.

Then we start to play some games. Each team begins with end zones (point-scoring areas) of the same size. Halfway through, I ask the students to suggest ways to make the games more or less challenging for players. One popular idea is a rule stating that teams must complete a certain number of passes before they can score. Another is expanding the end zones for teams that are racing to victory and shrinking them for teams that are struggling.

With the games over, I ask students to sort the keywords of the lesson - which I have printed out and stuck on to card - into groups under the headings "offence", "defence" or both. Then the children place their name tags on the area or skill in which they have achieved the greatest success.

This lesson is a lot of fun, but what really engages the pupils is the responsibility they are given. And, incidentally, I taught this lesson at an interview and it got me the job.

Kirsty MacPhee is a secondary PE teacher in Scotland

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