Lee Garrett

A teaching and learning journey through PE


‘Crossover’ Cooperative Learning Structure in Rugby

In my quest of delivering #realpe lessons, I have recently been focusing on

1) reducing teacher talk

2) lean towards a more guided discovery approach.

I have publicised the benefits of using the cooperative learning model and the various structures on this blog. Today, I used a Kagan structure called Crossover which was used in Rugby. 

Tackling in rugby is something which, I can quite easily omit from lessons and leave for the extra curricular activities for those who want to develop their rugby skills. But this particular class (year 5 boys) love to be stretched, are very competitive and the lower ability students like to embrace challenge  so I decided to try something different other than my ‘traditional’ command style (safety conscious) rugby session.

In groups of 3, Independently warming up, students applied a pulse raiser (rugby specific), stretch and specific skill practice.

After a quick Think-TRI-Share structure, it emerged that most students felt comfortable with the key points and so demonstrating the side on tackle (on knees only) became my hinge task on which way to advance the lesson.

Whenever I ask students to get into groups, this is normally what happens.

1) All the friends (usually similar ability) get together

2) All the competitive ones who MUST win get together

3) Those who struggle (socially and/or physically) get together

And so a continuum of differing abilities, skills, personalities emerge which reflected on the quality range of work produced. So now it was the time to use the Crossover structure to raise progress and continue to use and develop skills other than practical based ones. The Crossover structure is an extremely simple format where students rotate in a specific direction. Shown below:


In groups, they numbered themselves 1-3, and then ALL number 1s moved 1 place to the right and ALL number 3s moved 1 place to the left. Extremely simple to administer but extremely effective. 

I continued to encourage the groups to work together applying the key points of the tackle and then shortly introduced a task to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the front on tackle and the side on tackle. To be honest, the process of thinking, collaboration and analysing was more important than the actual success of the performance and students were rewarded for the level of answering/feedback. 

Initial thoughts at this stage are that, the more able students became leaders through a natural process and not by myself ordering them to take on the leadership role (Taking responsibility). The lower able students were subject to specific feedback by their new peers which enhanced their understanding and confidence (critical feedback). Those that normally get left out/socially rejected suddenly found a new gear to operate in and were engaged although they still had to be monitored for the occasional peer fall out. I’m not sure this would happen with older students.

Back to the Think-Tri-Share structure and this time it was to generate feedback into their understanding and knowledge of comparing two types of tackles. 

After a quick recap and questioning session, I then decided to revert back to the original groups as I felt it would be safer and easier to differentiate the games. The next task was 3v3 with a rugby league type format. To my surprise the level of effort and determination offered by the lower able students was significant. There was a definite resemblance to the technical model offered which more importantly made the skill effective, safe and dare I say fun??? Not to mention the level of knowledge and understanding previously fed back in the lesson

I did have to balance some of the teams but again this was in consultation with both parties involved and at one point I questioned myself as to whether I had ‘stretched’ the students. Yes was the answer. How did I know? They regulated their own game without much confrontation, they wanted to keep playing through their break time, one student requested in private that I do the same next week because he decided he worked better with a particular group as his behaviour had improved.

Finally, this is a great little structure if you want to share or develop information. It randomly mixes groups up creating an environment that can develop leadership, problem solving, decision making/evaluating, I can see that this would be successful in the classroom and in a wide range of activities in PE.

Nb. The Think-Tri-Share is my extended version of Think-Pair-Share. 




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Sharpening the Swiss Army knife (ipad) for P.E – Ready for 2013

A lot has been said about the use of the ipad in the classroom. Twitter certainly helps collaborate ideas and the mass variety and uses of the apps. The ipad is like the Swiss Army knife (wiki: generally has a blade and various other tools). In this edition it generally has a 9.7 inch screen with various apps. Its versatility, creative apps and high quality output never ceases to impress me but as a tool to enhance learning and aid teaching, it has become a tool which has become an everyday item along with my keys (when I don’t lose them) and my board pen. Some of you reading this who already use the ipad especially the #pegeeks will know what I’m talking about but let me share my valuable Swiss Army tools:

The aim of this post is simply to inform and therefore the description is brief but a link to various websites has been attached for more information.

  Twitter: This is probably the most important tool. You have access to a whole community of like minded teachers from the same subject, different subject, different parts of the globe, senior management, middle management, NQT. The list is endless. And for the time you spend creating an account you get in return a plethora of ideas, strategies and some wise words of wisdom. However there are some valuable people who #sharingiscaring openly elaborate on the new releases found, new ways to use the apps. Techies worth a follow: @ICTmagic, @syded06, @mrobbo, @danielharvey9 and ICTEvangelist.

Edmodo: This pivotal learning platform has provided me an infrastructure to effectively and efficiently communicate, organise , monitor and report, give good quality feedback, engage and support. The interface is very user friendly. As a teacher of GCSE and A Level PE, it has enabled me to mark homework as it comes in reducing the pile up that has occurred in the past. Once in, I am able to annotate the submitted online homework and give effective feedback. There is a gradebook function which acts as a teachers mark book and you are able to monitor what time homework is submitted. This has been useful!

Other brilliant features include the library option where you can store resources and link to Google Docs. You can create classrooms, set alerts (reminders), connect with other teachers and communities and set quizzes/polls. For more information on this platform click here. Other teachers who have documented their use of Edmodo are @davidfawcett27 and @mat6453

 or  Ubersense / Coaches Eye: I prefer Ubersense but my colleague uses Coaches Eye. To be honest they are very similar in use and hold similar features. Once a video has been recorded, you can use it instantly and then the fun begins. You can analyse using various drawing tools, use slow motion, manually scroll frame by frame. Ubersense can compare videos side by side or overlay and finally you can narrate over the top of a video. Follow @mrbpeteacher, @mrmozely and @PEeducator,

Following on from the analysis apps is Youtube. A well known and global app which thanks to @TeamTait has a dedicated #Pegeeks channel which you can access if you contact him. Here there is a bank of skills for students and teachers to use.

Socrative: For me this is one of those apps that gets used the most. In terms of providing feedback, it allows the teacher to get an insight into the whole class. Using a device (ipad, ipod, mobile phone) the student would use this as an online clicker. Teachers can make either multiple choice questions or short answer questions which at the end of the test can be emailed directly to the teacher for instant analysis thus getting feedback from the students. If you have not seen or used this app, use it as one of your 2013 resolutions to do so. Check out the website here.

 Explain Everything/Educreations/Showme: Ive used all 3 screencast apps. Explain Everything has a lot more features and tools to create a high quality screencasts than the other 2 but I have to say that I generally use Educreations simply for ease of use and because you have an online account where you can store your presentations. Great for the flipped learning and blended learning model. @pauldavidmac has some good examples on his blog of how he uses screencasts.

Evernote: This online notebook allows you to clip and store web pages, store thoughts & ideas, photos and general notes. My students use Evernote by taking pictures and using the online storage facility which is helpful if work presentation is poor. They are then able to snyc their notebooks to their desktop/laptop or device which is useful revising or writing up notes. Evernote notebooks can be shared among colleagues via email. Students are now in the habit of obtaining evidence of anything within the lesson by taking photos and saves valuable lesson time as they dont have to copy stuff down. Click here to take you to the Evernote website.

The above are the main tools I use for teaching and learning but following this are other apps which I use:

Pocket – Place to store online blog posts and other interesting articles.

Wordsalad – Free tag cloud used to put across learning objectives in a different way.

Avid Studio – I use Avid instead of imovie.

VideoScribe – Engaging presentation app other than Prezi

Aurasma – Augmented Reality. This app has so many potential uses.

Dropbox / Box.com – Online storage

Phoster – Excellent poster app

Kagan Name Selector – Instead of using lollipops. Will start using this come the start of term for questioning techniques.

Easy QR – QR code generator / reader

Below are apps that I rarely use for one reason or another (mainly lack of time) but I will eventually get round to it.


Video in Video



Comic life

There are some excellent teachers who are using some of the above apps and more to enhance the learning of students. There is no right way or wrong way in using these tools in class as long as the purpose is to engage the student and enhance the learning.

Over the next couple of months as technology and pedagogy evolves, some of the apps listed will be replaced but part of the excitement is trying new stuff and experimenting, using the ipad creativly within the classroom. Please feel free to add to the list of alternatives or recommend any others.