How Consistency is Key in PE (After the Lesson)

Last week, we explored the importance of consistency during the lesson, which, if you are interested, you can read in greater detail here. This week, we are going to discuss consistency after the lesson. One of the most important parts of the lesson is the debrief, where we discuss the significance of the game and how it was played. We may also deploy a cool down for very active classes that need to settle before they return to class. Finally, as a way of quickly testing retention of the material, we can use a quick diagnostic with the whole class or by the individual.

I have written a blog post about the importance of debriefing entitled, “The Most Important Part of Montessori PE Happens When They are Done Playing.” Within this blog post, which I encourage you to read if you are interested, I detail the importance of reflection after the game. Many students will understand the connection between the game and the classroom lesson or material, but there may be many who will not initially. This time is critical to discuss the use of symbolism and meanings behind the game so the students can make their own connections between PE and the classroom. Without the debrief portion, the game in PE may be fun and entertaining, but the opportunity for reinforcing learning from the classroom is lost. If the goal of Montessori Physical Education is integration with the Montessori classroom, we must take time to investigate all the ways that the PE lesson integrated with the classroom lesson and material(s).

I have also written a blog post on the importance of having the students only return to class when they are calm, and it is entitled, “How to Keep your Classroom Teacher Happy (Even if it’s You).” If you are interested in techniques that I have used and currently use in the classroom to bring my students back to resting levels, then this article is worth reading. If you have any techniques that work especially well for you, please share them in the comments section below. What we can all agree on is that the classroom teacher will be much happier having students return to class calm and ready to listen versus. students returning with rambunctious energy.

Finally, the last way that we can be consistent after the lesson is by employing some type of diagnostic tool to gauge the students learning. We want to check themes like comprehension, recall, etc. Having these little “quizzes” at the end can you give a good idea what the students are taking away from the lesson, and if it needs to be altered to fit the lesson outcomes that you are looking for. I have altered game mechanics or the use of symbols in a game after realizing the students did not understand the concept the way I hope they would. If you do decide to use a diagnostic tool at the end, here are some helpful themes that you can use with your students.

  1. If the lesson is based on a certain human culture, civilization, or time period, most probably you will be playing a sport of those people. By asking the students where and when the game was played, as well as why, helps connect the game to the people who played it (I have a blog post on teaching sport as culture here).

  2. If colors have significant meaning in the game ( red = heat, blue = cold), ask the students what the colors mean and how it connects to the bigger overall concept of the lesson. There are many lessons in Volume Two that use color to convey extra meaning within the lesson.

  3. If there is a classroom material that the PE game is based on, ask the students how the game mechanics symbolized or recreated the function of that material.

  4. If there is a process, order, or method that the students are trying to remember, have the students describe the different steps or pieces. For example, if the lesson had to do with the Scientific Method and science fairs, have the students to connect the experiment done in PE with the different steps.

  5. After the lesson, having students recall a fun fact from the introduction is good; having a student add their own fun fact they remember from their classroom study is even better.

Again if you haven’t read “The Most Important Part of Montessori PE Happens When They are Done Playing” and “How to Keep your Classroom Teacher Happy (Even if it’s You,” I encourage that you read those articles. Consistency after the lesson will help the students transition back to the classroom, and will reinforce concepts in integrated with the classroom curriculum.