BY: Reuben Bathgate
My Kindergarten students are almost at the end of their Health Related Fitness Unit for the year. This is our major ‘theory’ based unit which, in the past, has led to assessments that completely take away from what Physical Education is all about. These tests involved pencil, paper and sitting around answering questions. Let’s not forget how hard it is to make an authentic assessment for a 5 year old to explain their understanding of being healthy.
This year, thanks to a great new app that I discovered, that has all changed! Using ‘Tell About This’ I took photos of each student at the end of a class. They were very red-faced and sweaty! Then I added a prompt to each photo that asked “What might be happening inside your body and why?”.
The next time they came to class we spent the first 5-8minutes of the lesson, working on the iPads answering that question using ‘Tell About This’. They then used ‘Easy Blog Jr’ to post these explanations to their class blogs (see example) – and the best part of all this, they pretty much did it independently! For the most part, my job has been to sit back, listen and observe (and offer technical advice from time to time).
I have had enormous pleasure watching these blog posts and being amazed at just how much these 5-6 year olds have taken in and how eloquent they are in explaining their knowledge. I certainly never got this depth of understanding from a piece of paper!
Reuben Bathgate is the Kindergarten/Grade 1 Physical Education teacher at the Western Academy of Beijing, China. He is a firm believer in the power of tablet computers to enhance student learning and is constantly searching for new and exciting ways to engage his students through technology. Follow him on twitter @Geuben