I decided this year to look at how SOLO could be used in my practical lessons to see if it could be as effective as in my theory lessons. I chose a Y7 PE group as they had no preconceived ideas and had a really keen attitude towards learning.
The challenge was to ensure that the use of SOLO actually helped students learn and that I was not just putting in a pedagogy for the sake of it.
I am now 3 weeks into the trial and there have been some great successes but also some epic fails.
The first success was in a gymnastics lesson where the students simply highlighted on the boards= where they were at different stages of the lesson. As we looked at new skills and they worked in groups to share ideas they moved from uni structural to multi structural. When given the challenge of creating sequences they were at the relational level and were all making excellent progress. The key thing here was that students were self assessing the whole time and through discussions they were developing their own understanding with limited input from myself.
The biggest failure came today when I tried to break down a single skill in basketball and apply SOLO to how it developed. The problem was that students did not make the links through any shared knowledge as to many it seemed to remain as single skill elements. The use of fingers or bending knees did not link up as a way of passing the ball. This could have been through my poor explanation but it seemed to be a fault of me trying to make SOLO work where there was no place for it.
On reflection I thought about other ways that it would support learning and progress and these will be trialled over the coming weeks.
Secondly, I will look at creating a progress wall for students where they simply indicate through using the SOLO symbols where they are in the lesson. For this all I need is a list of students names and they can draw the symbol next to their name at stages of the lesson to highlight where they are. Both methods should help students but I need it to be simple and developmental.
Within lessons the idea is to highlight to the students the individual elements needed to do a skill properly and have students tick off when they notice others doing them. they will then look for the relational stage in how they use the info to perform skills well. Finally the extended abstract will be shown when they can use the skill in a game and adapt it to meet the opponents they face.
Highlight all of the elements needed to be able to shoot a basket. This could be a shared activity at the start of the lesson. Create a grid of all the single elements. (Use BEEF) Include all the other things needed. (Bent knees, Extend knees, Extend arm) Students then practice this in groups, self checking and peer assessing if they are doing all the skills. Students then test themselves to see if they are linking all of the elements and therefore impacting on consistency. (use of numeracy fits in nicely here, students can work out their scoring percentage and see how it improves) Finally the students that are being challenged the most can become coaches and support those that are finding it difficult. In doing this they are evaluating others performance and hitting the Extended Abstract level.
I am hoping that this will impact on students self analysis and will get students to see the relationship between the isolated skills that we do and how they apply in a game situation.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this as I want to really develop my practice around this.