Once Upon a PE Lesson

Worries about Story Telling

I found myself in this position – my first time teaching PE in the Early Years PE and I was concerned. How could I provide the best learning experiences? How could I ensure my teaching was effective? I asked my colleagues and the wonderful world of Twitter for advice.

The main piece of advice I was given was to tell a story during my lessons. Tell a story? What story? How?

You may have found yourself in a similar situation.

After thinking about my situation and talking to others I listed  5 areas of concern and sought further advice (which worked for me) on how to overcome these problems.

  1. I don’t have any good stories.

You’re teaching early years so any story that has some sort of challenge, a bad character and a way to earn treasure is a winner! If you’re still struggling talk to the classroom teachers and use the stories that thay are using in class and simply tell it through physical movements.

Visit www.onceuponapelesson.com for more stories and teaching ideas. I have three FREE games which you could implement IMMEDIATELY, plus many more!

  • I’m going to forget the story.

Linking the stories you tell with the stories that students are learning in class will help you remember the story.

If the classroom teacher, or a teaching assistant helps you in your lesson, be sure to share the story and game with them so they can help you keep on track.

Don’t be afraid to repeat stories across classes or recap across lessons.

To be honest, students will probably remember the story better than you. Ask students to help you tell the story. They will probably be more imaginative than you so be ready to learn from the little ones, there is no shame in this!

  • I don’t have the ability to tell  good stories

YET… You don’t have the ability to tell good stories yet.

Ask to observe an Early Years classroom teacher. Although not PE, you will learn loads. These amazing teachers are the masters of teaching through stories and songs. Truth is, they don’t look silly, they look like heroes.

When telling a story, I do find it helps to REALLY ‘get into it’, whatever it is.

Get into costume, wear a hat, have little costumes for the student.

Here are some ways I have got my head ‘in the zone’ before; when the class had a superhero day, I dressed up as Batwoman and had the class complete superhero challenges. Over the Christmas period, I wanted the students to be reindeer, so I bought antler headbands for them to wear in class. During Halloween, I wanted the student to collect as many pumpkins as possible so I borrowed a pumpkin hat from the drama department. All of this can be done really cheap if you talk to other PE teachers and the Drama department. I bet they have a lot of what you want already.

  • Children might not concentrate.

They will.

Trust me.

Student will listen to, and love your stories!

Full stop.

  • Lack of structure.

To this I ask, “So?”

I agree structure is needed when teaching any age group. With my early years classes I ensure that from the beginning they know how to enter the learning environment, where to put their water bottles, which line to stand on etc. But don’t overkill with structure. If you have a good story, students will be engaged and eager to get on with the activity, so don’t worry to much about having the student under complete control.

Have a key Start, Freeze and Stop words. Have a main area for students to regroup and make it known that you will not continue until they listen. For most lessons, I believe this is the level of structure you need. Everything else will fall into place due to engagement.

I really hope that if you are worried about storytelling, you can raffle to these points. More importantly, I hope that my comments on these points have calmed your nerves and given you some ideas on how to master storytelling during PE. The most important point is the more you do it, the better you will get, the more confident you will feel. For ideas on the stories and games you can use in your PE lessons please visit onceuponapelesson.com and give to our lesson a happy ever after.

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