Lee Garrett

A teaching and learning journey through PE


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‘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:

Image

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.