top of page

Making ATL's Visible in PYP PE


The approaches to learning are vital skills that focus on what students need to learn and also provide students with the opportunity to explore how to learn. I wanted to share how I am making the ATL’s implicit in the curriculum and explicit in my teaching environment. These practices came about from attending IB workshops, reading other blogs, and in-school discussions with admin and other teachers. Going into each unit I wanted students to understand what the ATL’s being explored were, be able to build mastery, and reflect on their experiences, all while staying active and immersed in our PYP physical education and health curriculum outcomes. 

Update: I originally wrote this post in early 2020. Please see the bottom Teacher Reflection section to see how my thinking on ATL skills has evolved in 2023.


Long Term Planning


  • Printed out ATL display in the office to make it easy to reference the skills and create activities where they can be utilized.

  • Are mapped out at the beginning of the year with general ideas on how they will be implemented in mind, but can be edited as more detailed daily lesson planning is started.

  • My PE partner and I aimed to use one ATL from each skill category.

Interactive Displays

  • At the beginning of the unit, I have the 5 ATLs printed colorfully on a poster created with Canva. Easy to introduce and refer to throughout the lesson. 

  • A few times in the unit, students post-it note how they used a specific skill in a lesson, with a main guiding question to help them understand the ATL skill in our PSPE context.

  • By the end of the unit, students will have answered the guiding ATL questions that have students reflecting on experiences in our PE lessons. 

  • I like to keep 2 units worth of ATL activities on the wall throughout the year for student-led conferences, teacher-parent conferences or should there be future connections in other units going forward.

ATL Self-Reflection Questions

  • A final reflection at the end of the unit. Students can choose to answer one question (G3/4) or two questions (G5/6) to demonstrate their understanding of how they applied these ATL skills.

  • It gives me an idea of what skills students are more confident talking about and which skills students may still be unsure of.

  • Mentioned in the previous section, students will have already explicitly reflected on these 5 ATL skills at an earlier point in the unit.

ATL's and the Summative

  • While I do not directly assess the ATL skills, they will help students thrive on the summative assessment, with the ATL’s helping guide the rubric creation process.

  • Students who have built mastery of the unit’s ATL skills will have the opportunity to demonstrate this throughout the summative assessment.

Teacher Reflection (June 2023)


  • This post was originally written when I was teaching PYP for 2x50 minute lessons each week. Since that time I have changed schools and am teaching 1x50 minutes each week. (The other PE lesson is swimming)

  • I still believe mapping out what ATL skills in the POI I want to focus on is important and ensures all 5 are a priority throughout the year. However I do not always focus on 5, with less time I found to explicitly teach and discuss these ATL skills, 2 is usually how many I plan into each unit.

  • Exit ticket questions either on post-its or on the whiteboard are still effective at getting students engaged for a short period of time and demonstrating their understanding.

  • Linking the 2 ATL skills into my rubric continues to ensure they are a priority for both myself in the planning stage, and students understand they will lead to greater success in our lessons.

  • While the way I present the ATL skills physically may have changed like my environment, I still find the strategies listed in this post effective for making the ATL skills explicit in my teaching.

How do you make sure ATL’s are visible and embedded in your lessons? Let me know any questions, concerns or feedback on twitter @tannernickel

bottom of page