Middleton Elementary School is located in the rural town of Middleton in the Western part of Quebec. Sharing a border with the province of Ontario, the population of this town is about 50% Anglophone and 50% francophone. Most of the town’s inhabitants are well-off and fall into the upper-middle class on the socio-economic spectrum. There isn’t much racial diversity in Middleton, so many of the students are not aware of issues surrounding multiculturalism and ethnic diversity.
As the physical and health education teacher at this elementary school, I’ve created a unit on soccer for the grade 6 class of 24 students. The unit will cover 10 lessons, or about 3 weeks of material. At this school, physical and health education is highly valued. Therefore, the students have 3 hours per week in this subject: two 1-hour periods of physical activity class, and one 1-hour period of “Health and Issues in Sport” in a classroom setting. For this unit, I decided to combine the teaching of soccer skills with lessons in the classroom covering some of the social issues surrounding this sport. The physical activity lesson plans are based on the Coerver Coaching pyramid of player development. These lessons cover the following topics: dribbling, passing and receiving, 1 v 1 attack and defense, and finishing. The “Health and Issues in Sport” classes will focus on issues such as gender in sport, multiculturalism, social equity in soccer and other related concepts.
The facilities at the school are well-suited to the physical education program. There are 3 full-sized soccer fields outside of the school, and a large gymnasium. The physical activity lessons are meant to be conducted outdoors, but in case of bad weather can be modified for the gymnasium. There is a locker room facility which includes a projector and a lap top, a screen, a white board and benches for the students. This room will be used in some of the physical activity lessons, to show short video clips and to have brief discussions before heading out to the field. The “Health and Issues in Sport” lessons will be held partly in a regular classroom, partly in a computer lab. The lab has 30 computers, so each student will be able to work individually. There is also a projector and lap top in both the classroom and the lab for showing movies or demonstrating how to use certain programs such as Microsoft Word or Powerpoint.
I chose to do my unit plan on the sport of soccer for several reasons. Firstly, it is a sport that is played all over the world in many different ways, shapes and forms. This is an ideal opening for discussion regarding other cultures and countries. This sport is widely played across the globe, and provides a connection with places and people that might otherwise seem very foreign to the students of Middleton Elementary. Also, with the 2010 World Cup coming up shortly, this unit is one that many of the students will be excited about.
As a teacher I have extensive knowledge and experience with this sport. I’ve coached for many years, and I’m very comfortable with the concepts and the progressions involved in developing skills. Therefore, in terms of the physical activity classes, I feel comfortable enough to make an attempt at trying something new and integrating media into the unit. In terms of the classroom component, I’ve had the unique experience of being the only girl on a boy’s soccer team, and therefore have some insights to contribute to the “Gender in the sport of soccer” lesson that I prepared. I believe it’s important to start talking about these issues at an early age because they are very real in elementary school classrooms and are not often addressed by educators. I also chose to address, in lesson #9, the issue of money as a determinant of who gets to play sports. With soccer, almost no equipment is necessary and is therefore a sport which is accessible to almost everyone in the world. I thought it might be an eye-opening experience for the students to compare soccer to other sports such as hockey where the costs associated are much higher. Also in lesson #9, we touch on the subject of professional athletes and whether or not their salaries are reasonable.
Basically, I chose soccer as my unit plan topic because I feel as though it’s easy to relate to many social issues that are very important to address in the classroom. As a physical education teacher it’s more difficult to bring up these topics in my lessons, but I feel as though having classroom sessions to complement the physical activity classes is very beneficial in this regard. It really allows the educator to teach the “whole person”, rather than just physical activity skills.
The materials needed for the physical activity classes are as follows:
- soccer field (with lines and goals)
- gymnasium (in case of rain)
- 50 cones
- 25 pinnies
- 25 soccer balls
- locker room facility with projector and lap top
- internet access
The materials need for the classroom sessions are:
- 30 computers (in lab)
- projector with lap top
- internet access
- 25 desks