The Innovative Teaching Challenge

I came across this challenge by A.J. Juliani and thought I’d give it a go.  I am also currently following the #hackyrclass challenge by Claire Amos at Hobsonville Point Secondary School which I am also following closely.  Each have topics emailed to you to challenge your teaching and thinking in various ways.  The #hackyrclass first challenge is to look at the Growth Mindset idea.  So with this in mind I am trying to be more open to trying new ideas out in my lessons and trying to instill this concept in my students by getting them to try new things in our lessons.

Anyhow, my focus for this blog is the innovative teachers challenge’s first task.  Which is to look at how offering our students choices in their learning can be helpful in getting your students to be more innovative.

Choice in PE

So over the past few days I have implemented this in a couple of ways.  Firstly as a PE teacher, rather than giving a one sized fits all warm up at the beginning of my lessons, instead I offered three choices for my students.  I explained this at the beginning of two lessons with year 10 students over the past few days, and off they went.  What initially surprised me was that students chose an option which I thought they would choose the least.  The second thing I noticed was that there were a number of students participating in each of the three options.


So in the second of my two classes who I did this with today, I asked at the end what they thought about the warm up and about having choice.  They all agreed that they liked that opportunity.  They also liked that I had provided options with and without equipment.

Out of the three choices one was left open, in other words to get the students to create their own warm up.  There was one criteria that it must get their heart rate up.  Both times I have done this the students who chose this third choice showed at the very least understanding of the criteria, which obviously shows some understanding of the concepts around Heart Rate.  But more importantly I think it also shows innovation.  The two different groups of students who chose to create their own did so in very different ways.  The first went off and did something completely different to the other two choices.  The second group combined the elements from the first two choices.  I have found this really interesting.

Choice in Health

Over the past year I have been playing with PBL (Project Based Learning) and trying to implement this successfully in my classrooms.  In addition to this I have been working to increase the use of technology in my classrooms for everyday learning (not just assessments!), as my school is moving towards 1:1 devices.  I have had varying levels of success with this and am continuing to explore and develop my use of this further.

The way I have applied this idea of choice in my Year 10 Health class at present follows the PBL in many ways.  I have introduced my topic with a bit of a ‘hook’ and varying brainstorms to gauge current knowledge and now offered my students options for what they want to produce for this topic.  The mediums of presenting are their choice, however the topic I have left the topic itself fairly open for them to follow an aspect of that topic that interests them.  The options given can be seen below on our class page.  Further details on this mini unit lesson plan can be seen below.  So far I have done lesson one and it is interesting how the students have reacted so positively.  Will see how it goes!

Wellbeing Yr 10 – Self Esteem 3 lesson mini unit.

Lesson 1 – Brainstrom What is self esteem.

  • Create a table, what things affect self esteem positively/negatively.
  • Watch ad –  This is just being shown now
  • Discussion amazing for a 50 year old to look as stunning as that e.g. what photo shopping has gone on?  What messages do these adds give us as women?  Etc
  • Introduce task (not an assessment task for me but could be)  Focus is on health promotion, promoting positive self esteem in wGHS/wider community?   They get to choose from one of the tasks.  They can do as individual or pair or group but what is produced needs to be comparable to the number in the group.
  • I get them to choose which task and who they might be working with and start to plan what content they need to research/ or want to put into this product.

Lesson 2-3 – in computer lab if non byod or as per normal if byod in classroom.


Flipped Year 11 PE Unit (A.S. 1.6)

My colleague and I decided to go full on with a full flipped classroom unit.  So in the interest of share and share alike, I thought I’d share some of the resources we have created and comment on how amazingly well this has gone.

Unit: Be An Ace

Content: Strategies to Improve Performance

To introduce this new style of working, I created this short clip to clearly communicate our expectation for our students.


We created short, concise videos on most topics.  My colleague used Educreations for creating video’s, while I prefered the ipad app Explain Everything (as it uploads direct to youtube).  Students watch the video’s at home and completed a task in their lab booklet which was basically all the notes they would then need for the unit.  Here is the lab booklet that we created for the unit. (formating seems a little odd in dropbox but it can be downloaded!)  We used QR codes and shortened url’s in the booklet so that students had the information they needed at all times to access the video’s.  We also reminded students via edmodo which video they needed to watch that night/week.  If students arrived in class and had not watched the video, we had our laptops set up for them to do their work then and there.  We carried on with our practical lesson which was applying the concepts they had learnt the night before in the video’s.  So if they didn’t do the work at home, they still got the notes but missed out on some cool practical activities.

We had a set of lesson plans that helped us to structure the unit (mainly to help us fit everything in!)  A copy of these lesson plans are here.  The lessons were fairly flexible and could be moved around to suit the teacher.  Types of Practice Practical is a practical activity referred to in the lesson plans.

Feedback Video


We completed the new Achievement Standard 1.6 as the assessment for this unit for the first time this year.  I have changed it for next year to include only session plans in the assessment booklet and the reflections will be done via a google form.  I am doing this to try and reduce how much paper we are using in our department and with a feeling that they may write more thoughtfully through a technology based forum (a complete assumption at this stage!) and also to try to enable teachers to mark the reflections as we go through the unit rather than waiting till the end.  Please feel free to have a look at this google form as I would really appreciate feedback.

Reflection of Flipped Unit

This unit has been so smooth and has flowed really well, enabling us to do far more practical activities to get students applying the concepts taught.  From having just marked the assesment for this unit, I would say it was a resounding success in that almost all students understood the concepts taught really well and applied them successfully in the practical setting.  Students got into a good routine very quickly with watching the video’s and completing their lab booklets.  Overall a great result.

Please use the resources included if you find them useful and feel free to comment below.