Striking and Fielding
Capable team members are reflective and self-aware
Reflect on shared and collaborative performance
Reflect on inner thoughts and self-talk
Identify how their attitudes, opinions and beliefs affect the way they act and how those of others also impact on their actions
Lesson 1: Pre-Assessment
I started this unit with a simple activity called Strike and Run. It’s a very simple version of cricket essentially. In keeping with my love for small-sided games (see blog for more information) I broke the class up into 4 teams and divided the field into 4 playing areas.
Strike and Run:
Playing area 1 has a tee, a ball and a bat (we use the Gopher Phenom Big Bats for accessibility)
Playing area 2 has a tennis racket and a dodge ball
Playing area 3 has a flat bat (Gopher Phenom Flat Bat) and a ball on top of a cone
Playing area 4 has a baseball/softball (this has no striking, rather the ‘striker’ throws the ball.
Each team goes to their designated areas
These teams are not against other teams but rather against each other
One person is the striker the rest are fielders
Once the ball is struck, the striker runs to a base that is about 20 meters away
If they touch the base that is one point
If they manage to make it back, that is two points, etc.
The fielders need to get the ball back to the starting position to stop the striker from running and scoring points
Once the ball is back, rotate strikers so everybody has a go at striking and fielding.
After 3-4 minutes, or when the kids in the largest group has had a turn at striking, rotate stations.
I explained the rules but I deliberately did not talk strategies, positions, technique, etc. But I did emphasize safety. Before striking, the striker holds the bat in front of them and slowly spins around to ensure their striking zone is clear.
After 2 rotations, I gathered the students around and opened with a broad question, “how’s it going?” This enables me to see if the kids actually know what is going on. Usually kids say, “bad, good, okay,” and blame someone for not being proficient in their team or not doing their job, etc. If you feel the discussion is going towards blame, stop them and find solutions. Open the discussion to the floor, “how can we improve?” Here is when you can start finding strategies.
I sent the kids back with some new strategies – one of them being positions. Fielders, catchers, etc.
Once we did all 4 rotations, I got the kids to fill out the reflection below. This enables me to find out how they went and also gives them a chance to think back on the day’s activities and figured out where they need to improve.
I got the kids to do one rotation of Strike and Run again as their warm-up. After about 5 minutes or so I gathered the kids and introduced them to the Central Idea. We broke down what it meant to be capable and how we can become capable. We connected the two terms reflective and capable. A person who is good at something needs to start somewhere – they reflect on previous experiences in order to improve. I pulled out one of the student’s reflections from the previous class and discussed with them how that reflection could be used to improve their skills. That reflection was their starting point – let’s try and get better.
I handed out their reflections again so the kids could find out areas they needed to work on. Was it fielding, or striking or all of the above?
The kids went out for 2 rotations and I continually reinforced them to focus on what they needed to work on. I also encouraged them to give each other feedback to improve. At this point, I still did not give any explicit pointers, this was still all ‘tuning in.’
After the 2 rotations, the students gathered around and again I asked, “how’s it going?” I then asked a few students specifically what they were focusing on and whether there has been any improvement. I then opened up the floor to a specific skill – fielding, how could we improve. The kids threw out a few words, “catching, throwing, positions, etc.” I then broke down catching, what did we need to do to catch effectively. I wrote down on the board some pointers the kids wrote down and also a few of my own. With all of this in mind, I sent the kids out for a further 2 rotations but with a new rule: There is no running with the ball. I left it at that for them to determine how to get the ball to the starting point without running with the ball.
The new rule tested their fielding skills but I encouraged feedback and enthusiasm. I also reminded them of the steps we discussed about catching.
This was a great lesson, the kids reflected on their own skills and made strides to improve. Reviewing the reflections is absolutely essential as it demonstrates to the kids that they are doing it for a purpose – it is not just another worksheet, it is a benchmark for improvement.
I started the lesson with a team run and gathered the kids with a review of the lesson completed so far. This time we broke down what it means to be self-aware. Referring to the Core Planning Document, I wanted to look at the outcome of “reflect on inner thoughts and self-talk.” We broke down what it means and then explored ways it could relate to our unit. There was a bit of silence with this one since it is quite deep for grade 3 students, but not impossible to reach. We went outside to put it into context.
Our activity was 3 shot and it is layered 3 times.
My love of small-sided games prevails and we had 2 games happening at once with 4 teams.
One team are the strikers and the other team the fielders.
There are 3 tees all lined on one side of the field.
A boundary about 5 meters from the tees is set up.
The fielders cannot cross that boundary once all the balls are struck.
Once all 3 balls are struck, the striker runs to a base (20m away) and back again as many times as possible until all the balls are returned to the tees.
A changeover occurs once all strikers have had a turn to bat.
There is no running with the ball.
For the first layer, we used Gopher Phenom Big Bats.
Once both teams had a turn to bat and field, I gathered the students around to discover how they thought inner thoughts and self-talk played a role in that activity. A couple students mentioned that they were going through steps to strike a ball, or how many points they needed to get to win. They were all viable points. I then asked them how could their thoughts affect their performance. After this discussion, I gave some pointers to the kids on batting.
We went back for the second innings but this time we used Gopher Phenom Medium Bats.
By the time both teams had a chance to bat and field we were running out of time. I gathered the students and we reviewed the day’s lesson and what the big idea was – being self-aware, inner thoughts and self-talk.
We continued from the previous lesson, touching on the same big ideas and the a few more clarifying points for striking effectively. We started with the Medium Bats and then progressed onto the normal sized bats.
A key component of striking and fielding games is learning how to run the bases. From my past experiences, the young kids especially, just run as fast as they can regardless of whether it is safe to run or not. So, to really emphasize what it means to be spatially aware, I thought combining dodge ball with base running was a great way to encourage smart base running.
Run the Bases:
This activity is best played in a gym as if it was outside, you would probably lose quite a few dodge balls.
I separated the class into 4 teams.
Lay out 4 bases about 20 meters apart to form the diamond.
Allocate one team to each of the 4 bases, that is their “home”.
Nominate one team to be the fielders, they move to the center of the diamond.
The remaining 3 teams are the base runners.
This will then be run similar to a relay.
One person from each team prepares to run.
The next person on the team cannot run until the first person tags them.
The object of the game is to try and get as many points as possible within a certain time limit, usually 3-4 minutes.
One point is scored if all 4 bases are touched without getting hit by a dodge ball.
The fielders can only get the runners out if the runners are off a base and get hit by the dodgeball.
The runner cannot get out if they are stepping on the base.
To keep things fair, I laid out a smaller diamond within the large diamond to keep the fielders in that area to avoid them crowding the bases.
The kids absolutely loved the game. I gave them 2 rounds to get acquainted with the game. I then did the usual procedure and had a discussion then asked if anybody had any strategies to share with the class. I then asked, “what do we do to run the bases safely and successfully?” One student said, “watch the ball”, another said, “watch the fielders,” and “wait for someone else to go and use them to block the ball.”
After the final round, I asked the students how this can connect with our previous discussion on inner thoughts and self-talk. They mentioned that you need to believe in yourself and had to try your best to get the points for your team. I liked that response and it is showing that the kids are starting to understand the importance of positive self-talk.
For this lesson, I modified the previous activity to include strikers. I creatively called this game: Run the Bases WITH strikers. I laid out two playing areas so two games could be played at one.
Run the Bases WITH strikers:
Lay the playing area as you did with “Run the Bases”.
Add in two tees between bases 3 and 4.
2 players from the striking/running team get ready to strike the ball.
The remaining players on the team are the runners.
The fielders position themselves around the playing area as they see fit.
Once the balls are struck the runners run the bases – but the strikers do not run. Having this rule encourages the strikers to focus on their swing.
The runners have 2-3 minutes to get around all the bases.
Same rules as “Run the Bases” from here on.
A changeover occurs once all people on the team have had a chance to bat.
We stopped about halfway through the lesson and discussed how things were going and investigated on how positive self-talk can help them in this activity. After several minutes, we went back out but got the teams to play a team they hadn’t played yet.