Grade 8 Chalk Talks about Volleyball

G8 Chalk Talk

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano @langwitches

“I used to think volleyball was just a sport I really connected with, and I didn’t think of the skills in depth. However, I look at volleyball with a totally different perspective…” 

Grade 8 student, Tatiana, continues to describe her growth as a PE learner through her experiences in our volleyball unit. She goes on to say, “With the Chalk Talk that we did in class, and often the information Ms. Arcenas said, was a great impact to my change of mind.

In order for this shift in thinking to take place, what actions could have shaped the culture of thinking in the PE setting?

Learners constructing meaning

With the help of Silvia Tolisano, our MS Technology Coordinator at Graded School, I was able to record the thinking routine, Chalk Talk, in action. Have a look at Silvia’s post to see what she saw take place during this lesson.

Introducing our volleyball unit using Chalk Talk enabled students to reflect, generate ideas and ask questions through silent discussion. In this video, you will see me explain the overview of our volleyball unit on my classroom blog post, Setting Goals for Player’s Success, as well as students’ thinking at the beginning and end of our unit.

I wonder, what do you see, think or wonder about the actions taking place?

Coming full circle

At the end of our unit, students were asked to revisit the classroom blog post, Setting Goals for Player’s Success, and describe any shift in their thinking. Students drew upon their experiences in PE, our enduring understanding and essential questions for volleyball, in addition to their initial and final Chalk Talks in order to complete the following thinking routine: I used think volleyball was …, but now I think volleyball is … .

Below are examples of students’ new thinking about volleyball…

“I used to think volleyball was just a sport I really connected with, and didn’t really think of the skills in depth. However, I look at volleyball at a totally different perspective. With the Chalk Talk that we did in class, and often the information Ms. Arcenas said was a great impact to my change of mind. First of all, I never stopped to realize the skills necessary to play volleyball, such as communication, control, concentration, technique; I started playing the sport when I was really little, so I didn’t have the mindset to look at it in this way. Due to this, the years passed and the skills became silent, since it was something I already did but never stopped to realize it. After this unit it volleyball, I really opened my eyes to see what volleyball really is about. Volleyball is a sport that can only be played as a team; a sport that requires a lot of control; a sport that requires organization in order to be the best; a sport that communication is critical; a sport that concentration is everything; a sport that trying your best is necessary. All in all, this month deepened my thoughts towards volleyball completely. Now, I do not look at volleyball as a sport I truly love and play a lot and yes as a quite complicated yet simple sport that can be look at from a scientific perspective.”

“Although I already have mentioned it on my previous comment, I really did not have much interest in the sport volleyball in general. I didn’t know exactly how the games were ruined through, what was counted as a foul, and how the positions of the players were assigned. I used to think that volleyball might even be boring! With this in mind, when we had our first chalk talks, I had a chance to catch a glimpse of the basic ideas of volleyball. I saw what my peers had in thought of what volleyball was and all the skills required in order to have a successful game. With this in mind, when we actually started playing volleyball during PE class, I have to say I was very “out of place”. Whenever someone had passed the ball to me, I had troubles passing it back directly to my partner. Not only that, but I had so much troubles serving the ball to the other side. However, throughout the unit, I knew that my skills were improving. I was able to control the ball much more safely and also, after we were taught how to attack, block, and pass the ball, I had much more knowledge on how it should be played. That being said, now I have a totally different mind set towards volleyball. I enjoy playing it so, SO much that I might try out playing for the team next year! All in all, I am so glad that I was able to play volleyball this unit and to find a new sport that I certainly am loving! One last thing I wanted to point out is one of the links that Ms. Arcenas had posted. It was about a World Organization Volleyball for Disabled, which I found so interesting! I knew that there were sport programs for other sports, like basketball, but I had never heard of one for volleyball! So interesting!”

“Before I started playing volleyball I used to think it was a women’s game (not being sexist) and that even if men tried they would be much worse at it. I also thought that it was a very easy game and that it doesn’t take much skill. As the class progressed I clearly saw that I was wrong. Now I think that volleyball is a very hard game that requires years of practice and concentration. Volleyball is probably the game that uses the most skill because the angle your arms are in and the power that you push out of your legs with can change the direction of the ball in a split second. Now I see that this is a two gender game because when watching the video the accuracy and the skill that those men possessed was absolutely incredible.”

“I used to think that volleyball was a sport that was simple; you cannot let the ball touch the ground. Before this unit I also thought that it was not complex to hit the ball from one side to another. I didn’t think it required much skill since it didn’t involve the same skills as other sports such as running. I wasn’t really interested in the game before. After doing this unit I now understand how complex this sport is. You need to have certain skills in order to achieve this game. These skills are difficult ones that require a lot of time and effort put into them. For example, volleyball requires skills such as organization, teamwork, responsibility, and much more. This isn’t just a physical sport, but you need to be in a certain mental state in order to play it. It requires techniques and precision that takes your whole life to master. Volleyball is a sport that requires immense effort, and I didn’t realize that before. Throughout this unit, I have realized that I actually enjoy playing volleyball and I would love to play it in the future.”
G8 Chalk Talk

Photo taken courtesy of Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano @langwitches

In what ways could you modify this lesson to help shape the culture of thinking in your classroom?


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