Sunday, May 4, 2014

Who's On First?!

Grade 7: Exploring our Enduring Understanding and Essential Questions for Softball... 

Oi Grade 7!

Take a look at the video below. How could you connect your thinking to our enduring understanding and essential questions for our unit on softball?

Japan vs USA Women's Softball
Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games Gold Medal Final

Enduring Understanding
  • Thinking critically and communicating effectively are essential to player development in the game of softball

Essential Questions
  • What is softball?
  • What movement skills and concepts are practiced in softball?
  • In what ways is critical thinking developed in softball?
  • How does effective communication contribute to player development?
  • What decisions and actions impact the success of a team?
  • In what ways does softball develop physical and health literacy?

Use the Softball Progression Rubric to help guide your development throughout this unit.

Some FACTS about Softball... (wikipedia)
  • Softball is a variant of baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field
  • It was invented in 1887 in Chicago as an indoor game
  • The first softball league outside the United States was organized in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) in 1897
  • The World Baseball Softball Confederation regulates rules of in play in more than 110 countries, including the United States and Canada
  • There are two types of softball - slow pitch and fast pitch

Take a look at the softball instructional videos below. Consider the following... How could you connect our enduring understanding and essential questions to what you see?

Softball Throw

How to Throw a Softball

Fielding Skills

The Swing

Developing a Short, Compact Swing

Pitching Tips

Finishing up our discussion on softball... What new thinking has taken place at the end of our unit?

Write in the comment section of this post at least 3 sentences connecting our enduring understanding to physical and health literacy.

Draw upon the following to help guide your thinking: 
  • Essential questions
  • Experiences in PE
  • Softball instructional videos
  • A softball-related resource (some websites are listed on our PE Blog)


  1. In gym, what we were doing was practicing the movement skills needed in softball. Everyone was running the bases. Everyone had to make sure they were touching the base with the correct foot. For example, when you are running to first base you touch the base with your right foot. Also, they were practicing being a critical thinker. That is because they have to know when to run to the next base and when to stay. They have to think about whether or not they would be out if they went or stayed. Movement skills and critical thinking is important in softball.


    1. Really good expression and comments about the other extra skills that a softball player needs! keep it up

    2. Hi Jessica, depending on the hit that was made by the batting player, how would he/she have to modify his/her first base running technique?

    3. Hi Ms. Arcenas, maybe they could watch where the ball went to figure out whether or not to turn and run to second base, or they could just touch first base and run through it.

  2. Hi Ms.Arcenas,
    After observing the class, I decided to answer this question; What movement skills and concepts are practiced in softball?

    I saw that in softball you need to run as fast as you can to the bases and as you pass only put your right foot on the edge. If you do not touch the base, then you are out if the catcher reaches the base before you. I also observed throwing and catching, which I was also a part of.Throwing is important because you should learn to throw straight, not up. If you throw straight, you will be faster, and you will get the other team out faster. Also, if you are catching the ball, you need to learn because if you catch the ball without it falling on the ground, the person is out. You want to get the person out before they make a point. Finally, the last thing that I watched, was them practicing to hit the ball. Hitting is also very important because if you hit the ball hard and far, you can run fast and maybe make a home run. But, you have to be aware not to hit it so soft and so close because it is more likely that they will catch the ball and you will be out. If you are planing on hitting it high, hit it far. If you are planing on hitting it close, hit it on the floor so that it will be harder for you to get out.
    Bethany Gardner

    1. I really liked you perspective of observing the class and the skills that a person that wants to play softball needs to have. Very good detail and observations!

    2. Great observations Bethany! Let's be sure to put this thinking into action on the field!

  3. Mainly, I believe that the best way to explain the attitude of softball is as a game that requires a lot of critical thinking. Connecting this to the essential questions and to physical and health literacy it is clear that whenever we are playing the game, we must be attentive and think about the decisions that we make during game time. This is a clear example of how we must know how to move and act confidently while on field, physical literacy. We must also know how to take care of our health in order to excel at the game. Using experiences from PE class, I realized that softball is game that requires a great deal of attentiveness. In the game, we have to be constantly paying attention to what's going on and be able to act fast. One example is how when we are kicking, we have to use critical thinking skills to figure out what would be the best place to send the ball and benefit your team.

    1. I really liked how you focused on the mental strength and skills that a player needs to have when playing softball other than only physical strength. I liked when you talked about the awareness that the player needs to have while playing and your observations of the game as it is. Keep up the good work

    2. Hi Bianca, I love how you connected physical and health literacy to your observations of when we played kickball in class. Keep using your critical thinking skills to help guide your development within the PE setting.

  4. •What movement skills and concepts are practiced in softball?

    There are many skills practiced in softball, but swinging and running are main things. Initially, swinging is the biggest part in softball because that is your starting point to a successful softball game. You need to swing with force, but precisely because the swing can go to different directions. Moreover, running is the second most important because you make points with this skill. Obviously, to make a point you have to pass all the bases so it's crucial for one to run fast.

    1. Hi Ivanna, I agree that batting and running are important movement skills in softball. I like how you included the concepts of force and precision when hitting into your explanation. The slightest adjustment in force and angle of the swing can have a major affect on how the ball is hit.

  5. Some of the main movement skills and concepts that are practiced in softball are batting, sprinting, catching a throwing. As we are practicing now, people are in groups of 2 or 3. One person is throwing the ball underhand to the batter. They are practicing hitting it but not to hard. Next they started a real game. They were practicing batting, fielding and catching. They were also practicing different teams fielding and batting. Also running bases.

    How does effective communication contribute to player development?
    If you communicate effectively you can plan how you will get the ball around the bases to most effectively get people out. You can also better communicate to the catcher so you get 3 strikes for the other team. You also learn better team work when you are actually playing so you can get things done quickly.

    1. Great observations Kari! I hope you will be able to apply what you wrote soon in class. I wonder, considering the game situation the class was involved in, what would be some things you would do differently based on the actions you saw?

  6. •What decisions and actions impact the success of a team?

    To begin with, sometimes the decisions players take are not the best to make the game successful. For example, the decision of running not as fast can affect the amounts of points you make. If a player doesn't run fast, they won't even be able to run to first base. Secondly, some players don't hit the ball properly so the pitcher either catches it or the ball is really is to reach.

  7. What movement skills and concepts are practiced in softball?

    Some of the important skills and concepts of softball are throwing,catching,hitting,pitching,fielding. These movements are fundamental towards playing softball. What we are doing currently in class is doing base running drills, batting drills with two or three people and finally, just playing catch with a partner.

    What decisions and actions impact the success of a team?
    Some actions that can impact a team are, negative comments, negative actions,not paying attention, and lack of teamwork. All of these are again,crucial parts in contributing to the success of a team.

    1. Hi Jonathan, I wonder, what would be examples of decisions and actions that would positively affect a team? What kind of decisions and actions need to be made during a game?

  8. Before looking at this post, I thought that the only difference about baseball and softball was that the ball is bigger in softball but I didn't know that their fields were different sizes too. This observation leads me to a question, are there different rules within the two sports? I have only ever played softball once in 8th grade as a PE unit, I hadn't really heard of it much before that, even when I lived in the states, people played more baseball rather than softball. I think that this team sport is one that really needs teamwork, even more than others. I think this is true because the field is really big and you have to ount on people to get someone out or to not get the team out.

    1. Hi Sofia, have a look at some of the resources about softball provided on the this post and on the PE blog.

  9. Like Sofia previously said, I used to think that the only thing that differentiated softball and baseball was the size of the ball and the manner of the throw. After reading and learning all of this I never knew that the size of the diamond was different! I also didn't know that the distance from the pitcher's area to home plate was different. Finally, what mostly surprised me is the amount of men that played softball, rather than baseball.

  10. Since I was a softball player last year, I was able to play and look into this sport in depth. Softball isn't simply just another archetype of baseball. Of course, softball is all about tactics just like baseball. However, I think it is quite different in rules and play style. The slow phase of the game makes the players think more and be careful when they swing or make plays. Also, having 4 outfielders, it is much hard to hit to the outfields since there are greater chances of getting out. Also, having more players, team play and coordination is essential in softball.I believe softball is a sport that requires teamwork than any other sports since it has more players and it is impossible to grab a out alone. The team must coordinate and work together to defend against enemy batters. So, in general I believe softball is a must have in P.E class for students to develop critical thinking understanding the rules and work as a team by learning how to contribute to the team.

    1. I totally agree Hee Won. Softball requires a great amount of critical thinking, especially depending on the fielding position, as well as when a player is up to bat or is on base.

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    Softball Instructional Videos