The Power of Feedback

Creating Montessori PE games is not an easy endeavor. It involves looking at the classroom curriculum and trying to plan games according to that timeframe. When creating a new game, established and well known game mechanics need to be combined with vocabulary and rules that emphasize the concept being taught or reinforced in the lesson. Finally, after the lesson is done, it must be discussed in the post game debrief so students make all the connections that were intended. However, there is another step in the process if you want to continually improve your lessons: feedback.

There have been instances when I took a lot of time to create a brand new game that integrated concepts well, only to discover after the game was played, that it wasn't all that fun. While initially it felt like a huge letdown, I asked the students what could make the game better, and they gave me great ideas. With the next classes, I was able to add and test these ideas until I was happy (and the students were happy) with the new version of the game based on their feedback. If I had let my ego get in the way, I would have scrapped the game and started over from scratch due to the disappointment felt after the first test run. However, I swallowed my pride, admitted to myself and the students that the game was not fun enough, and with their help, dramatically improved it.

Students are not the only ones you can elicit help and feedback from. If you are not the classroom teacher, you should be communicating with the classroom teacher every week. Besides making sure that the games and curriculum align, another thing to discuss is how the PE lessons are impacting the classroom. Are the students using the concept vocabulary more? Are students making connections to PE games and using rules or mechanics from the games to describe concepts in the classroom? Are the students coming back to class happy? These are all great questions that can help the PE teacher refine what they are doing. If you are the classroom teacher and their PE teacher, if you have any other classroom teachers to talk and discuss with within your grade level, those brainstorming and discussion sessions can prove to be very helpful.

Having created over sixty Montessori PE lessons (with more on the way), I have come to rely on feedback as a necessary step within the creation process. Whether you use my lessons (which you can find in the website store) or you are creating your own lessons, taking time for feedback is time well spent. Appropriate feedback can make a bland game into a good game, and a good game into a school favorite. The power of feedback is one of the most important tools in your creative arsenal.