Posted in assessment, education, kids, lesson plans, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

Speedminton (badminton)/Pickleball unit plan

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Lesson 1/4: Speedminton/Pickleball- Forearm/Backhand hit

Lesson Components

Leaning Target: I can execute the forearm and backhand hit.

 This unit will allow the choice of playing speedminton or pickleball (same learning target to be achieved- personalized to student choice of meeting the learning target)

 ES- a continuous volley with a partner using the correct form

MS- showing the form during stationary activities

PS- need more practice

LP- not participating 


Standard 1-movement skills

Indicator 14- forearm/backhand hit using an implement 

 Character goal- I can give 5 feedbacks during class. 


Set the Lesson

• Backhand thumb grip 

◦  thumb is placed straight up and down on top left-hand bevel, back hand facing net, lunge with dominant leg.

• Forehand – basic (“V”) grip 

◦ reach for shuttle with dominant hand and arm extended, palm facing net, lunge with dominant leg, follow through across body.

•  Review (show a badminton game on the ipad)- we just finished a volleyball unit, so ask the students what they predict will be the same and what predict what will be different (compare/contrast). Emphasis on court movement, serving, scoring, etc. 

Lesson Content

• forearm/backhand hits- getting comfortable with the grip on the racket and becoming comfortable hitting an object with the racket (hand-eye coordination)

• When do you use a forearm hit vs. a backhand hit? 

• Modeling- teacher will use the ipad to show the students what the different hits look like- teacher will model and students will model

Student Practice

Activity 1: Practice

Practice:  Students will practice hitting (birdie or wiffleball) against the wall

•  Practice: Students will practice with a partner (choice of birdie or wiffleball)

• Advanced students will progress to volleying continually

• middle students will practice stationary (Partner A tosses & partner B returns it- switch roles)

• progressing students will use a foam ball (bigger object) to practice eye-hand coordination 

Activity 2: Application

Student choice- move to application of the skill (ES/MS students)/PS students will still practice stationary

 Activity- 4 square with an implement


1. Set up a 4 square court(s)

2. 1 student in each square (4, 3, 2, 1)

3. The student in square 4 is the server and a rotation occurs when a student misses the ball or a student hits the ball into their own square. 

For example: If the student in square 3 misses the ball, they go to square 1, 1 goes to square 2, 2 goes to square 3 and 4 stays in 4. 

 Student Choice: Use a birdie with a speedmitton racket or a wiffle ball with a pickle ball racket. 


• Students will use their plicker to mark their progress

• Students will demonstrate some of their skills

• Students will discuss their learning

• Students will share some of the feedbacks they gave their partner.

• Teacher will ask review questions and revisit the learning target

• When do you use a forearm hit? When do you use a backhand hit?

Cornerstones of WLMS Instruction

Student discourse: Students critique each other with feedback on their form.

feedback to students: make sure this is on-going as students will need a lot of feedback on day 1. Teacher gives all students feedback on their LT/HOS papers (teacher makes notes during class about students to remember feedback as well)

student reflection: Students reflect on their LT/HOS papers at the end of class with their progress and set goals for the next class.

personalization (plan for specific students): Students will have the choice of meeting the learning target with a pickleball racket and wiffleball or a speedminton racket and birdie. 

Lesson 2/4: Speedminton/Pickleball- Serving

Lesson Components

Learning Target- I can execute the skill of serving.

ES- hitting targets (hula hoops) with their serves

MS- executing the skill of serving against the wall or stationary, getting the birdie over the net from the serving line

PS- need teacher assistance, need more practice

LP- does not participate

 Character target- I can give 5 feedbacks during class. 

 Standard 1- movement skills

indicator 12- serving 

Set the Lesson

• discuss why serving is so important

• relate it to volleyball serving (we just finished that unit)

 Lesson Content

Show examples of serving

• teacher model, ipad model, student model

 Student Practice

 Activity 1: Practice

• a. Students will practice an underhand serve into the wall. Students will practice at least 10 repetitions
      * Opposite foot forward, racket back, contact in front of body

  * Flick your wrist for the appropriate amount of power

•  b. Students will be ‘serving’ into a wall, but might be hitting the birdie too hard because they cannot foresee it going over net. Students should be reminded about amount of force needed to serve the birdie.

• c.  Students will pair up with a partner. Students will practice serving with a partner. Partner one will serve 5 times to a partner who will just catch the birdie and toss it back. Students will switch roles.      

** If this is too easy, have students practice from the serving line and try to get the birdie into a target (hula hoop) on the other side of the net.

 Activity 2: Badminton Golf

Badminton Golf- Students will be paired up in transition and will start at a cone (hole) on the course. Students will use an underhand serving motion to get the birdie to the hole, which is a hoola hoop in as few shots as possible. Holes will vary in length and angles to make some more challenging and others less challenging. Partner one will start with their first shot, followed by partner two. On the second shot whoever is further away from the hole will go first. The birdie must stay inside the hoop for the shot to count. Students will then record on their card how many shots they took to get the birdie into the hoop. Students will then find a hole that they have not filled out on their card yet to go to next. Students will continue moving around the course until it is time for the closure.


• Students will use their plicker to mark their progress

• Students will demonstrate some of their skills

• Students will discuss their learning

• Students will share some of the feedbacks they gave their partner.

• Teacher will ask review questions and revisit the learning target

• Why is it important that you master the skill of serving?

• What are the rules of serving

 Cornerstones of WLMS Instruction

Student discourse: Students critique each other with feedback on their form.

feedback to students: make sure this is on-going as students will need a lot of feedback on day 1. Teacher gives all students feedback on their LT/HOS papers (teacher makes notes during class about students to remember feedback as well)

student reflection: Students reflect on their LT/HOS papers at the end of class with their progress and set goals for the next class.

personalization (plan for specific students): Students will have the choice of meeting the learning target with a pickleball racket and wiffleball or a speedminton racket and birdie.
Students can practice this task with a birdie or wiffleball. If a student needs more time with cues and practicing motion they can begin there.
Challenge – Students with an advanced skill set may try to challenge themselves by directionally serving toward the wall to a particular point.

• Students can continue working at the wall to become successful with technique before moving on.

•  Students can volley back and forth under the birdie hits the ground or is out of play

Set up of “badminton golf”




Set up for serving into targets


Lesson 3/4: Speedminton/Pickleball- Game Play- rotation and rules

Lesson Component

Learning Target: I can execute the drop and smash hits during a badminton game.

ES- critiquing a partner’s form

MS- performing a drop or smash during a game

PS- need more pracitce

Standard 2- concepts and strategies

Indicator 8- shot selection

Set the Lesson

  • Drop (Front)

    • Trajectory: Low
    • Target: Front Court

    Smash (Back)

    • Trajectory: Steep
    • Target: Mid-Court Sideline


    • Use Deception
    • Move Opponent • Always Go Home • Win the Point

    Choose a racquet type that will maximize your success.

 Lesson Content

  • Doubles formation game play

    1. Doubles front-to-back formation. From a serve, players will hit the birdie back and fourth and play a game, in hopes of forming a rally.
    2. When a team hits the birdie out of bounds or the birdie drops on their court, it becomes the others team’s serve and they rotate servers.
    3. Teams can choose if they want to be in a front/back formation or a side/side formation. Players must call ‘Mine’ prior to hitting a shot. Play to 21 points. Rotate serves once a team loses the serve (aka, they don’t get a point)


    Student Practice

  • Students will use their plicker to mark their progress
  • Students will demonstrate some of their skills
  • Students will discuss their learning
  • Students will share some of the feedbacks they gave their partner.
  • Teacher will ask review questions and revisit the learning target
    • What was the result when you used a smash vs a regular backhand hit.
    • What are the pros/cons of each formation?
    • Closure
  • Which shot did you find to be most successful against each doubles formation?
  • Which doubles formation do you prefer? Why?

 Cornerstones of WLMS Instruction

  • Student discourse: Students critique each other with feedback on their form.
  • feedback to students: make sure this is on-going as students will need a lot of feedback on day 1. Teacher gives all students feedback on their LT/HOS papers (teacher makes notes during class about students to remember feedback as well)
  • student reflection: Students reflect on their LT/HOS papers at the end of class with their progress and set goals for the next class.
  • personalization (plan for specific students): Students will have the choice of meeting the learning target with a pickleball racket and wiffleball or a speedminton racket and birdie.

    Students can practice this task with a birdie or wiffleball. 

  • If a student feels more comfortable practicing skills, they may do so and join a match when ready. 


Lesson 4/4: Speedminton/Pickleball- Game Play- shot selection

Lesson Components

Learning Target: I can select a shot that puts my opponent at a disadvantage.

ES- Continuously winning games

MS- Earning points by placing the birdie/ball in a good position.

PS- struggling with shot selection

Character goal- I can provide 5 feedbacks during the class.

Standard 2- Strategies and concepts

Indicator 8- Shot Selection

 Set the Lesson

  • Discuss how this was achieved during volleyball and compare/contrast the two (selecting a shot to put the opponent at a disadvantage)
  • Why is shot selection so important?
  • What can you do as a defensive player to prevent being at a disadvantage?

 Lesson Content

  • Offensive players select shots that will put their defensive players at a disadvantage
  • Defensive players will react in a way that prevents the offense from receiving a point
  • Discuss strategies with the kids

 Student Practice

  • 2 players are on each side of the court and work together as a team. 

    The object is to score a point by returning the ball/shuttle in a way and to a spot that disadvantages their opponent.

    Once a player receives and returns the birdie (or ball), the front player moves to the back and becomes the new server, and the back player rotates to the front (only when they other team loses their serve)

    Personalization: speedminton or pickball

     Teach the following concepts:

    Student recognizes where the opponent is and recognizes their options of where to return the ball/shuttle.

    The student responds by moving to a position that puts them in the best possible spot to receive the ball/shuttle.

    The student reacts when the return shot is made by moving and intercepting the ball/shuttle and returning it in a way that disadvantages the opponent.


  • a) Explain the ready position. How does this allow you to execute effective returns to your partner?b) What factors determined where you placed the shot?

    c) Apply the 4 R’s (Read, React, Respond, Recover) to one of the games played today.

 Cornerstones of WLMS Instruction

  • -Feedback is ongoing during class by both the students (with each other) and the teacher. The students reflect and set a goal on their HOS/LT trackers at the end of class and the teacher also writes feedback on these papers.
  • Personalization for this lesson is allowing the choice of badminton or pickleball for the students to meet the learning target.

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Posted in assessment, education, kids, lesson plans, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

Personalization in PE

Personalization is a big component of mastery-based learning. In order for students to move at their own pace and be successful at mastering each concept, personalization needs to occur. When a student doesn’t understand a concept, it doesn’t make sense to move them on and when a student masters a skill, it is important to move them on to the next level. Below you will learn a little bit about personalization and then I will break it down to show how it works in physical education. 

Personalized learning will:

  • Create conditions to make teachers more efficient and effective.
  • Use technology to enhance instruction and support student learning.
  • Provide students with the support when they need it.

Why personalized learning?


• Adjusted pacing means all learners have the appropriate time they need

• Learning is driven by student interest, which means more engagement and achievement

• Learners are given more choice, which means more student ownership of learning

• Relevant content and skills means engaged learners

• Access to current technology means tailored instruction and learning supports

Addresses: Needs, skills and interest

  1. varied activities- multiple activities for the same concept allow students to master a standard in a way that makes sense to them.
  2. choice and voice- when students can choose their activity, they are more engaged.
  3. choice for demonstrating learning- students choose to show their evidence of learning in a way that makes sense to them. 
  4. flexible pacing- students move at their own pace, which allows for mastery when they are ready
  5. direct instruction option- when students need one-one-one instruction, the teacher or technology can provide that


When my coworker and I taught a volleyball unit together, we were able to give the students many choices in terms of how they wanted to perform the skills. We always gave them a choice first. Sometimes we would encourage them to join the beginner skill activities or encourage them to move up to the advanced skill activities, but for the most part, they chose their comfort level. We wanted the students to demonstrate serving, setting and bumping. For the unit, the exceeding standard would be if they can perform the skills during game play. If they were able to simply demonstrate the skills, it would be meeting the standards. My co-worker and I shared the duties, but one of us taught the advanced skill group, the other taught the beginning skill group and the students in the middle would work together (with teacher assistance as needed). By the end of the unit, there would be students playing a real game, students playing a modified game and then some students working on developing skills. This allows them to be comfortable with where they place themselves and allows for student success, by allowing a pacing schedule that fits their needs.






Yard Games/Floor Hockey

Another type of personalization would be student choice of activity. My co-worker and I often times offer two activities to meet the same target. For example, students were giving a choice of yard games or floor hockey. The goal was to “apply skills to execute hitting a target”. This can be done many ways. One side of the gym was demonstrating this indicator through floor hockey, while the other side of the gym was demonstrating the same indicator through yard games.

The yard games unit was tailored even further to allow for personalization. All students had to meet the learning target of “applying skills to execute hitting a target”, but there were numerous ways to accomplish this. Students were taught how to play horseshoes and bocce. Within these guidelines, students had varied equipment (hula hoops, bowling pins, cones, solo cups) and different types of throwing objects (bean bags, bean bag animals, tennis ball, foam ball, random types of balls). This allowed the students to choose the way that made them feel the most comfortable to meet the target. It also allowed them to experiment with different pieces of equipment to set up their own bocce or horseshoes game. Students could also choose to work in pairs, groups or solo.


How do you personalize learning in the gymnasium?



Posted in assessment, education, kids, lesson plans, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

Standard-Based Assessment

How do you hold your students accountable to self-assessment and tracking of their progress? Do your students know what standards they have met and where their current progress is-daily? monthly? yearly?

My colleague and I have been trying many different forms to help simplify the standard tracking sheet, and to date, this seems to be the easiest way. These are the indicators that we will be able to meet this year and we have taped this sheet to the inside of their PE folders. When there is a new indicator on the board, they write the word “soccer” (or whatever the activity may be) on their folders, so they know the skill we are working on and then at the end of the unit, they rate themselves. As you can see, we focused on 4 indicators during soccer (S1.M5, S1.M8, S2.M3, S2.M5) and this was over 8 classes.

This student has “met standard” in some of the indicators and that is great (and I also agree). She has to show “MS” three times in that area for it to be considered a complete “MS” by 8th grade. The area where she got a “PS”, which is progressing toward the standard, is “defense”, she will have plenty more opportunities to attempt to meet the standard in this area. She is a 6th grader, so that can be a tough concept to master in the beginning. The great thing about standard-based assessment, is it is on-going. Students can always work on meeting the standard. There is never a final grade and they are done with that activity and move on. We may be done with soccer, but this student still has plenty of opportunities to master “defense”. She may not have the skills to master defense in soccer, but will have the skills to master defense in other activities.


These are a few examples of the sheets they fill out when we work on these indicators. They know what they need to do to meet ES (exceed the standard/indicator), MS (meet), PS (progress). They are engaged in discourse with their peers in the very beginning to discuss what it may look like before we discuss it as a class, so they get to use hypothesizing skills. The most important part is they set a learning goal to help them push themselves during the unit. These papers are a stapled packet and stored in their PE folders, so they are always a resource for them to look back to in the beginning of class and remind themselves of their goals as we engage in conversation and to look at my feedback.

The “Habits of Scholarship” piece at the bottom is a school wide rubric and a report they get every 5 weeks. This is a self-reflection for them to complete and it helps them to stay on track with their HOS.




Posted in education, kids, making a difference, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

“Making a Difference”


As the school year rush begins and we are all busy creating the first unit plans, making our sub folder, learning our student names, writing our welcome letters to the parents, having our first meetings, etc.,- take a breath and pause for a moment. Reflect on why you became a teacher, reflect on your goals, hopes and dreams for this school year. Think about “how YOU can make a difference!”.

I was working on a curriculum map the week before school started, when a welcome letter came from my Superintendent. In it, was our new district motto, “Making A Difference.” Immediately, I stopped what I was doing and gave thought to that statement. It led me to ask some people how their teachers made a difference in their lives and this is what I heard:

“Taught me how to be the best version of myself.”

“My coach pushed me on the court and allowed me to grow as a person, leader and student.”

“Taught me to be patient with myself and there was always more than one way to solve a problem.”

“He really listened to me, asked me questions, paid attention and reassured me that I belonged here.”

“He showed me sympathy while my mom was battling cancer, while still helping me learn.”

“She spent hours with me, giving me extra help. She did it with humor and patience and because of her, I became a teacher.”

“She inspired me to see that it was possible to come from an uneducated, low-income family and do amazing things!”

I know for me, there were many teachers that showed they cared for me throughout the years. Though I don’t remember all of the lessons taught everyday, I do remember the love my teachers showed me. I remember a high school science teacher who made me stay after to help me improve my grade and despite my not caring to get better, she still put in the effort and to this day, she is my mentor as I continue my teaching career. I also remember my high school PE teacher who would play 1 v 1 basketball with me and it was her that inspired me to go into Physical Education. I had a great basketball coach who was passionate about coaching and even more caring about us as kids and making sure each one of us was successful off of the court. The thing that sticks out the most are the teachers that would give up their own time and come to my sporting events. That was the best feeling—seeing my teachers in the crowd cheering me on!

Teachers make a difference every day in the lives of the children they teach, most of the time, just naturally. Imagine the difference we could make, if we actually thought about making a difference and applied this thought at least once a day into our teaching. With all of the hatred going on in the world, especially in our own country in Charlottesville and the devastation of a natural weather disaster in Houston, there are so many ways that we can help. We can teach our children how to make a difference by spreading the message of love, kindness and generosity.

In your own community, look at each and every one of your students. How can you make a difference with all of them? How can you connect with the student who is constantly disrupting your class? Maybe you are that teacher that will establish a relationship with that child and help him/her to success. How can you make a difference in the life of a child who appears to have everything going for them? How can you make a difference with the average student, the one that often blends in with the rest? What are YOU going to do this year to make a difference in the lives of each of your students?

I challenge each and every one of you to end each of your classes challenging your students to make a difference in their school/community/family/self/country/world/etc and I challenge YOU to make a difference in the lives of each and every one of the students you teach!

Together, WE can make a difference in the lives of our students and together, our STUDENTS can make a difference in the world they live in!

How will YOU be that teacher that makes a difference and leaves an impact on a child forever?


Posted in education, lesson plans, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

What do your lesson plans look like? (template included)

Do you write daily lesson plans or do you just have an idea in mind and “wing it” for the day? My principal provided us with a lesson plan template that aligns with our teacher evaluation rubric and has the components of a mastery-based teaching environment. I simplified his template to paraphrase what I need under each category.

Lesson Plan Template

Lesson Components

What are the components of your lesson? How do you know that your students understand the learning target? Do they know what “mastery” looks like? What about “exceeding”? The teacher knows what we want our students to perform, but does the student know what they need to perform to reach the target? It is vital to “unpack” the learning target with your students, so that the students know the expectations and modeling/demonstrations can be done of each level.

Setting the Lesson

Have you thought about how you would set the lesson? Yes, we all know in our head the set up of the gym in terms of equipment layout, but have you taken the time to think about how this lesson is connected to prior learning, upcoming learning and how it will activate their prior knowledge? Have you thought about the real-world connection of the lesson? Physical Education is all about real-world connections, life skills, character education and lifelong activity– are you making these connections within your lessons on a daily basis?

Lesson Content

Now comes the lesson content…. What are the specific teaching points of your lesson? What questions are you going to use to convey those points (to challenge them to think instead of giving them the answers)? How will you model the learning expectations?

Most of us only have a short time with our students, so how will you do all of the “setup” in a short introduction period? There has to be an introduction to the lesson because that is when the activation of student learning begins–just make sure the introduction doesn’t take away from the active learning part (time management!!!).

Student Practice 

Finally!!! You can think about the students moving around and practice the learning target! You haven’t forgotten about the learning target, right? It should be addressed a minimum of three times with your students during a lesson to make sure they remember the focus of the day as well. After all, your feedback, questioning, assessment and student reflection are all linked to the learning target, so it really needs to be reinforced multiple times throughout the lesson. How are you going to group your students? Will you give them a couple of options to meet the same target (always a good idea as students learn differently)? What activities do you have planned around the learning target? How will you differentiate activities for the different learning levels? What assessment do you have planned? How do you plan on providing feedback to all of the students (Daily Student Tracking Sheet)?


By now, you are thinking I must teach a 2 hour PE class, but no, my 35 minutes is up and I am ready to bring my kids in for a closing. I will make sure to address the learning target (yes, again!!!) and have the students share their experiences around the learning target and do a quick group assessment (thumbs up/thumbs down) to get a rough idea of where the class thinks their progress is. The students then fill out their end of the class reflections Daily Student Tracking Sheet and off they go to change!


The “cornerstones” section… What opportunities will you provide for student discourse? What will that look like and how will you model it? How will you make sure each child gets feedback? How will students reflect on their progress towards the learning target and set goals for further learning? What plans do you have for your students for the next level? How can you make the education process personalized for each student? How will you make sure each child is engaged?

Windsor Locks Middle School lesson plan template guide (simplified) 


Badminton, Grade 7


Posted in education, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

Standards-Based Grading Student Portfolio Checklist

Before you read this blog, re-read (or read for the first time!) the blog about learning targets to understand why the ShapeAmerica standards are rewritten into “I can” statements.

This portfolio has been revised a few times over the past 3 years (with the same outcome) after student feedback on the process. It is going to be simplified again this summer (after that is finished, I will post it); however, this packet will still be in their folders.

You will notice that the indicators are not completely written out or aligned exactly as written in the national standards; instead we labeled the packet 1-20. My coworker and I went through the SHAPEAmerica indicators and picked the top 20 that applied to our students and that we could get through in 3 years. In our first packet, we labeled the indicator as “S1.M19”, however, the students told us that was confusing when we told them to find that, so instead, saying “Find indicator 19”, was a lot easier for a 10 year old to understand.

We converted the indicators into “I can” statements because that is what we use as learning targets and now the indicators are converted into verbs that the students will perform with different depth of knowledge levels.

The goal is to complete all of the grade 8 indicators by grade 8. They see all of the indicators starting in grade 6 because some of the students will master the indicators earlier (and then they are presented with more challenging targets). They also are aware of the high school graduation standards, so that they know the expectations of physical education to graduate high school.

This may sound confusing to someone who is not familiar to the process, but again, once explained to a 6th grader and keeping the routine the same for all 3 years, it just becomes second nature to the students.

** We used SHAPEAmerica frameworks and Connecticut Healthy and Balanced Living Curriculum Frameworks to create some components of this document.**











Posted in education, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

Daily Student Tracking Sheet

I want my students to demonstrate that they can own the day’s learning target. They need to be able to put into their own words the task for the day and the expectations in order to succeed. They need to be able to have discourse around the learning target in order to articulate the goal. If they don’t understand what my learning target means, then they can’t possibly understand the goal of the day. The sheet that my colleague and I created is a sheet that allows our students to demonstrate ownership of the learning targets and write it down in their own words (even if they are writing it as we discuss it).

This is the daily sheet that my students fill out before class and after class. As you can see from prior posts, the information is on the board already. I don’t want my students to just copy the board, I want them to discuss with their peers and put my words into their own words the goal of the day. I want them to know what each level looks like in their own words, so everyone knows the day’s expectations. This is also a great way to start class while students are changing and everyone is coming in at different times. My students all know to come in to the gym, get their folder and start filling out the top half. We then discuss the learning target and the expectations for an ES/MS/PS. This takes about 5 minutes, which also includes the demonstration for the activity as well, so it is your typical time allotment for an introduction to a class.

At the end of the class, the students take these papers and fill out their current progress (WITH EVIDENCE!!!) and set a goal. They then fill out their habits of scholarship report for the day (again, WITH EVIDENCE!!). Evidence is a big thing to teach the students- they need to justify their answers- this is a school-wide expectation and the gymnasium is no different. The end takes approximately 3-4 minutes, which is tied in with our closing.

Before they go to change, they show me that their paper is completed and it allows me a quick 10 second feedback session with the child. After class, I go through their folders and add comments, so they have more feedback for the next class when they open their folders.

It is hard to always provide verbal feedback to each student during class, but this paper allows me to communicate with each student and as we know, feedback is so vital to a student’s progress!

As you can see, I am separating the PE skills and the student behaviors. Both are very important and need to be measured, but they are measured separately, so that the student can see how they are doing on mastering the standard and then on their behaviors.



This is an example of something on the board that they would use as they filled out their sheets. IMG_7312


Posted in education, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

“Habits of Scholarship” Rubric: Assessing Physical Education Behaviors

By now, you may be saying to yourself, “but I want my kids to try hard, change, practice good sportsmanship and do PE homework!”… My district most certainly believes that behaviors are just as important as measuring student progress towards mastering the standards. We have a school wide “Habits of Scholarship” (HOS) rubric that assesses work completion, class participation, class conduct and maximizing time on task. The students have the same rubric in every grade and in every class, so they know exactly what to expect in every learning setting. My co-worker and I took the rubric and transformed it into PE words, still using the original document to keep it aligned with the same document. This just allows it to apply to the gymnasium a little easier (as we all know, the gym can be a little different than a classroom setting).

Behaviors should not be a part of a child’s grade. Behaviors do not measure a student’s knowledge of contents and skills as related to the standards. Behaviors are what drive a student to success, which is why it should be a separate report. Standards-Based grading  solely reports a student’s progress towards content knowledge (mastery towards the standards) and the HOS report solely reports out the student’s behaviors that are occurring in the academic setting.

Every 5 weeks, our students receive their school-wide HOS report to let them know how they are doing, however each teacher has a way of giving daily/weekly feedback as well. Goal setting and teacher mentorships are formed with students who are struggling with the behaviors because there is a correlation between good HOS scores and good progress towards mastery. When students can demonstrate good work habits, then tend to do better with their academic habits as well.

In the gym, we use this rubric after each class. The students give themselves a quick rating on each category with evidence as to why. It is very easy for my co-worker and I to check their work as they leave class to go change and it becomes instant feedback for each student on their HOS. You may be thinking that we can’t possibly have time for the students to do this work and give feedback, but it all stems back to classroom management and implementing routines. We take the time in the beginning of the year (in 6th grade) to make sure they can implement our system, since it is different than elementary school. It soon becomes part of the PE routine and the whole process of the end of the class reflection on their learning target and HOS with teacher feedback takes 5 minutes.

This rubric is also a great piece of student evidence for the child to talk about during their student-led conference with their parents/guardians. It allows them to easily explain their HOS behaviors that are occurring in the gym (and the rest of their classes as well).

This rubric is stapled to the inside of their folders, posted on our walls and emailed home to the parents. We want to make sure everyone is onboard and everyone knows the expectations of the gymnasium. Please comment with your email address if you would like an emailed copy.

Google Document Copy:


Posted in education, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

The difference between a traditional curriculum and a standards-based grading curriculum.

If you are new to this concept, there are a lot of questions going through your mind right now. It may take some time, but I will break it down for (in hopefully a simple format to understand). My goal is to keep the posts focused on one or two ideas only, so if there is something that you really want to know and I haven’t gotten to it yet, please contact me!

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The first question to ask yourself is, “Does your curriculum have a clear purpose?” and the second important question to ask yourself is, “Do your students have significant evidence to prove that they have met the purpose of your curriculum?”, and lastly, the third question to ask yourself is, “Do your parents and students know the exact learning expectations for your curriculum?”

These three questions are the biggest difference between a traditional classroom and a mastery-based learning classroom.

What is Standard-Based Grading?

Standard-based grading is grading to a specific standard that both the teacher, the student and the parent know and understand- using benchmarks as indicators (SHAPEAmerica National Standards). Refer to the post about “learning targets” to see a visual.

  • The letter and number grades are removed. Instead of scoring for points correct (100%), teachers look for students demonstration of skills/concepts (ES- exceeds standards, MS- meets standards, PS- progressing towards standards, LP- limited progress), that are clearly aligned with a learning target derived from a PE standard (again, refer to the post about “learning targets” to see a visual of this).
  • There is no failing! Students can keep trying until they master a skill. First Attempt In Learning”. 
  • Students are also provided with different opportunities to demonstration mastery, as teaching should not be a “one size fits all” approach. I will discuss the choice program that my co-worker and I use in a later post (i.e. personalization).
  • SBG allows students to track their growth and then describe their strengths/weaknesses using evidence in their portfolios. Evidence is the main component of SBG. Can your students justify their learning with evidence? Portfolios and trackers will be discussed in a later post.

What is the difference between a traditional curriculum and a standards-based grading curriculum?

** The biggest difference is that the learning is personalized and the students own their learning providing evidence of mastering the standards!**

Traditional Educational System:

  • The grade is cumulative and typically a 60% is all that is needed to pass and move on. Behaviors such as homework, changing for PE, effort (subjective measurement) are measured into the grade. These are behaviors and do not measure the child’s progress towards the Physical Education standards.
  • Traditional PE Curriculum:–  The teacher chooses a variety of activities to teach and then links a standard to the activity. Activities are chosen based on seasons, teacher’s favorite sports or activities they are competent in, gender specific activities, and often times, not all approaches to wellness are included and not all of the benchmarks.

Standard-Based Grading System:

– The student use evidence to support their claims.

– The focus is on mastering skills (standards). The “grade” is reported as “ES, MS, PS, LP” and the only the Physical Education standards are reported out. The behaviors  such as changing, homework, sportsmanship, attitude, behavior, etc are just as important and greatly valued, however, they are reported out separately in what our district calls, “Habits of Scholarship”. Refer to the post “Habits of Scholarship” for details about this.

– Assessments & Feedback helps teachers/students stay focused on the goals of the class, align all parts of the curriculum to the learning target and gives specific, actionable feedback about strengths and weaknesses.

SBG PE Curriculum 

A SBG curriculum is created in reverse from a traditional curriculum. The standards and all of the indicators are the first part of the curriculum map and the activities are the last part of the curriculum map.

This is how you an SBG curriculum is created:

  • 1. Standards; skills and knowledge that students should demonstrate.
  • 2. Performance- Based Assessments/Rubrics/Evidence of Meeting Standards
  • 3. Activities/Learning Outcomes

As you can see, the activities are the last thing to add and the standards are the first thing to write down. This is the opposite of a traditional based curriculum. The most important part of the curriculum is that the standards are measured–the activities are the route to meeting them.

Later posts will show the tracking of student learning through the use of student portfolios in the gym.

Posted in education, mastery based learning, physical education, standards-based grading, teaching, Uncategorized

Three components of Mastery-Based Learning: Learning Targets

The three components of a mastery-based lesson are learning targets, assessment and feedback. In this post, we will discuss “Learning Targets”.

  • Learning targets  focus on content or skills that are derived from the benchmarks and standards that the students must learn.
  • Students must demonstrate mastery of the learning targets before moving on.
  • “I CAN” statements, using a depth of knowledge verb, followed by the indicator that is derived from the standard the lesson is focused around.
  • Students should always know the learning target for the day, as well as the different levels, so they know the next level to strive for, and also you meet the different learning abilities.
    • Again, ES (exceeding), MS (meeting), PS (progressing), LP (limited progress)

For example: The pictures using the word “execute” can be explained as follows:

Grade 7:

Standard/Indicator: Performs the following offensive skills with defensive pressure: pivot, give and go, and fakes. (S1.M7.7)

Learning Target:

MS- I can execute at least two of the following offensive tactics to create open space without the ball: pivots, use a variety of passes, and give-and-go.

ES- (when the meet goal, this is the next step): I can critique my team on our ability to maintain open space.

PS- (still working towards goal): I can create open space by staying spread on offense.


** As you can see, PS is a simple task where you are just looking for the student to stay spread on offense (this would be the beginning step to teaching them to stay away from defense in order to start making offensive moves). MS is the goal and we are looking for the students to be able to make the passes and get away from the defense. Once this is met, they move on to ES where they can now critique their teammates and draw out plays. They may record using an iPad and “coach” their team as an example of evidence. **

Always make sure to discuss the learning target in the beginning of class (have the students discuss with each other first) and then the student’s progress at the end of class. I will show our trackers in a later post.

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Things to think about when creating the lesson or learning target:

Take the standard and create your lesson around the standard. There are no more “Soccer” units- it becomes “Striking” So instead of saying “Today we are going to be playing soccer today…” You would have a student state the learning target which would say “I can demonstrate how to lead my partner with a pass.” You can still play soccer, but the focus becomes the standard or concept it works on, not the actually game.

Thoughts to ask yourself….

  • What are you going to be teaching?
  • How does it align to outcome of your curriculum?
  • What is meaningful and relevant to the lives of students?
  • What standard being measured?

Then create a learning target. Does the learning target align with the standard? Is the learning target followed by a measurable verb (with a depth of knowledge level that challenges your students?)

What will the lesson look like?

– Reinforce prior learning, but the focus is on the new learning.

How will you assess the lesson? Is your assessment aligned with your learning target?

– Take the LT and create a rubric that students can assess their progress on (remember to have the different levels of “ES/MS/PS/LP”).

ShapeAmerica National Standards in “I Can” statements

Standard 1: I can critique my motor skills..

Standard 2: I can create movement strategies.

Standard 3: I can explain how to stay fit, while exercising regularly.

Standard 4: I can demonstrate how to play fairly.

Standard 5: I can show personal value for physical activity, fitness, & health.