This is an excerpt from Complete Guide to Primary Gymnastics by Lindsay Broomfield.
Planning for Gymnastics in Primary Education
When planning your gymnastics programme you should address three questions:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- How will you organise learning?
- How will you know when you are achieving your aims?
In this teaching resource, planning takes the form of meeting targets through long-term, medium-term and short-term planning.
The scheme of work on the DVD contains a curriculum in the key activity area of gymnastics in physical education for primary school pupils (reception through year 6). The long-term plan meets the guidelines of the early learning goals and primary National Curriculum.
A long-term plan focuses on the targets you would like your pupils to achieve by the end of the programme. The long-term plan therefore ensures that pupils have acquired the physical attributes to achieve a reasonable level of skill in gymnastics and the knowledge to extend gymnastics tasks in a meaningful way with a view towards evaluating and improving performances, thus preparing them for participation in gymnastics in year 7 at secondary school. The scheme of work on the DVD details many procedures, such as building on basics, the introduction of partner work, and tasks based on themed ideas to ensure the continued acquisition of knowledge and skill.
The long-term plan demonstrates how the units of work on the DVD are distributed across the foundation stage and key stage 1 and key stage 2 periods in a sequence that promotes curriculum continuity and progress in pupils' learning. Supporting the principle that gymnastics activities have wide-reaching benefits, different aspects of the units of work are cross-curricular, linking with other key areas of learning in the national curriculum. Your long-term plan should answer this question: What are you trying to achieve?
Medium-term planning takes into account the methods you can employ to reach your long-term targets. Think of the medium-term plans as the stepping stones to achieving your long-term targets. In this scheme of work, the medium-term plans can be identified as the targets you would like your pupils to achieve by the end of the foundation stage, key stage 1 and key stage 2. By the end of the foundation stage, pupils will have acquired a repertoire of elementary movement skills through simple physical coordination activities involving body management tasks, locomotor skills and object control skills centred on basic gymnastics activities that enable them to become competent movers with an understanding of simple rules that ensure that they are responsible for their actions. Attainment of the skills and knowledge will enable pupils in key stage 1 to focus on further skill development introducing gymnastics-specific skills learnt through the gymnastics formula and through observation. They will learn to value the performances of others so that by the end of the key stage they understand how their bodies work and what skills and movement patterns they can achieve. In key stage 2 those previously learnt skills become channelled into themed units of work that challenge pupils to extend their learning through partner and group work and to use those skills in creative and meaningful ways, thus meeting the long-term targets.
The individual units of work build on pupils' experience and ability, enabling the use of progressive activities that meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and plan towards achieving the long-term target. Your medium-term plan through implementing the scheme of work in Complete Guide to Primary Gymnastics answers this question: How will you organise learning?
The short-term plan involves the steps and procedures you will take to meet your medium-term and ultimately long-term plans and targets. Short-term planning in Complete Guide to Primary Gymnastics refers to the individual units of work featured on the DVD. Each unit of work contains instruction for the basic structure of the gymnastics lessons and details the learning intentions and learning outcomes explained in the overview at the beginning of each unit. A focus on learning through a progression of lessons will enable pupils to meet the short-term targets identified in the learning objectives. The learning objectives are varied, giving pupils many opportunities to demonstrate their understanding and achievements through avenues such as acquisition of gymnastics skills, creative movement patterns, open discussion, evaluating and improving techniques, question-and-answer tasks and problem-solving initiatives. Your short-term plan should answer this question: How will you know when you are achieving your aims?
If you wish to take gymnastics instruction further than the curriculum-based activities, Complete Guide to Primary Gymnastics and its scheme of work on the DVD provide an excellent foundation and insight into teaching gymnastics. It provides a clear understanding of the basics for teachers' continued professional development (CPD). For further information regarding teaching courses and qualifications, contact your national governing body for gymnastics. (In the UK, awards for teachers are offered by the national governing body British Gymnastics [www.british-gymnastics.org] and UK Gymnastics [www.ukgymnastics.net]).