Monday, April 20, 2009

Hippity-Hoppity Easters On It's Way!

-Today was the final lab for PED201, and the theme was Easter! All of the Cortland students had to choose a game or activity with an Easter theme; props were greatly suggested and made the last lab a fun lab! My group, the Spectacular 6, chose to play a game similar to Capture the Flag; the kids had a great time running back and fourth collecting eggs and trying to capture the prized Easter bunny! The whole lab session can be summed up in one word: fun - isn't that what PE is about???
-I have learned a great deal from participating in the 6 labs; I have worked with kids before, but more so in a one-on-one environment or in a coaching environment - not so much an environment where I am teaching a large group of kids. I have learned how to control a large group of kids at varying age levels and abilities, meanwhile collaborating with a group in order to get the job done.
-I have also learned some of the generalizations among the elementary level, such as the attitudes or the abilities that, for example, a PRE K student would have versus a 6th grader. I have observed that the younger students, in some cases, are better listeners than the older more stubborn age levels.
-I have learned much about identifying and analyzing both fine motor skills and locomotor skills of the varying age levels. Learning how to identify a students movement progress aids me in learning how to teach the different locomotor skills crucial to movement development. It also helps me in the games and/or activities that I need to choose for my future class in order to help my students progress.
-Throughout participation in the PED201 labs, I have just started to reflect on everything that I have learned and use it to help form my future style of teaching. Generally, I have learned how to handle kids in large groups and techniques on how to get their attention. Techniques such as being really enthusiastic when introducing a game or saying things like: "clap your hands if you hear me, clap your hands twice if you hear me, etc." or "criss cross apple sauce, put your hands in the pot". There is much much much more to learn when if comes to dealing with and teaching kids of all age levels, but I have found that the most important element is always to have fun no matter what you do!

Dribble With Your Hands & Kick With Your Feet - Lab #5!

-The locomotor skills of the day were dribbling (stationary bounce with one hand - as in basketball) and kicking. My group, the Spectacular 6, picked a relay type activity that incorporated both of these skills to create a fun and active game for the group. Today, though, we only observed one students ability to perform the dribble and kick: Shamus. He really struggled when it came to the dribble with one hand, but his kicking was better - although a little in consistent.
-This being the 5th of 6 labs, there is a lot to reflect on and there has been much learned. Reflecting on all of the activities that have been executed throughout the 5 labs have all been successful; they each kept the kids moving and had them performing a number of locomotor skills. Some were less effective in that the instructions or tasks involved were too complicated to the age group that they were presented to, but the Cortland students always seemed to make the necessary modifications to get the job done.
-Although every lab game/activity had a successful outcome, there was always a little bit of a process when choosing one that we deemed appropriate. There are many limitations because games/activities are to be chosen based on them needing to execute a particular locomotor skill, as well as being appropriate for the age level involved. These limitations made the process of choosing a game or activity more difficult because of the specific guidelines. Though limitations present, the games ultimately chosen turned out rather successful!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Throw It Up High, Then Catch Lab #4!

-In this 4th lab at St. Mary's Elementary School, I feel that I have learned a great deal about teaching kids. Being my first experience working with a large group of kids, I have learned crucial skills such as getting and maintaining the attention of your students so that you can teach them. Being thrown into such a chaotic environment with many kids of different ages and varying abilities, it was hard to first identify what works and what doesn't with the different age groups.
-The locomotor skills being observed today were the catch and the throw, both are very common locomotor skills for they are involved in many games, sports, and activities. The St. Mary's students being observed today were Sophia and Shamus, both 6 years old. Their abilities with these locomotor skills were rather similar: they both struggled in proper overhand throw techniques, but could catch rather well. Shamus struggled in the preparation aspect of the catch where Sophia struggled when it came to actually catching the object. The game being played required students to throw varying object of varying size and shapes for a rather far distance. It was fun for them but it made it apparent that proper throwing was a general weakness throughout the age group.
-A constant struggle for myself, and other Cortland students [I'm assuming], is getting the attention of the St. Mary's students and keeping them motivated to play the "college student's games". The environment is such a highly chaotic and, at times, unorganized; the disorganization is due to the large number of kids of varying age levels with Cortland students of which many haven't have much teaching experience or experience with kids at all. At this point in the semester there has definitely been a noticeable improvement in the ability to calm down the kids and get them excited for the "college kid's games".

Leap High, Jump Far, and Slide Low... Here Comes Lab #3!

-Today being our 3rd lab, the Cortland students seemed to have a better grasp on organizing the chaos of the after school program; we were able to get the attention of the St. Mary's students easier.
-The specific locomotor skills being observed today were the leap, horizontal jump, and the slide. The particular students that we were observing perform these locomotor skills were 6 year old Anthony(M) and 6 year old Rowan (F). Both St. Mary's students were similar in their abilities in performing the specific skills; both Anthony and Rowan struggled in particular aspects of the leap and horizontal jump, the the biggest difference in the students was their ability to perform the slide. Anthony was able to keep his body turned sideways and in the desired direction as well as having a short period of time where both feet off the ground - these are aspects of the slide that Rowan could not do. While Rowan could not do these things, she could step sideways followed by a slide of the trailing foot to a point next to the lead foot when Anthony could not.
-Today was the first time that my group and I got the opportunity to work with the older St. Mary's students. I prefer working with the older group because they understand directions more and can participate in more complex games or activities. Although it is easier to explain the task to the older group, it sometimes becomes more stressful because there is always a handful of students who object the game or activity that we are trying to introduce; it takes more energy and effort to motivate them to want to try our games. Today, though, we played a game of kickball; we split the group into two teams and the Cortland students participated too. Since it was an activity that many of the St. Mary's students are aware of and are fans of, the explanation of the game, as well as game play, went smoothly.

-Throughout the lab I learned more and more about getting the attention and keeping the students motivated. Staying positive and saying encouraging statements help to keep the students involved and having fun, especially the older ones!

***Check out this YouTube! Great for motivating jumping with the younger age levels:

Gallop, Skip, and Hop into Lab #2!

-The second lab at St. Mary's started off rather similar to lab 1: chaotic! After a few minutes, though, the Cortland students successfully split up the age groups and got everything organized. The St. Mary's students still made it difficult to grab their attention and explain the game or activity. At first my group and I (the Spectacular 6) were upstairs in the gm observing the St. Mary's students playing while other Cortland groups taught the game or activity.
-Today we observed two student's gallop, skips, and hop, the two students being 6 year old Shamus and 5 year old Casey. Throughout the observation, I could conclude that both students were able to perform the specific locomotor skills. Though all three chosen locotmotor skills could be performed by both St. Mary's students, the proficiency of each skill varied between Shamus and Casey; Shamus was able to perform the gallop, skip, and slide much more efficiently that Casey. For example, in the gallop: Shamus was able to perform every aspect of the gallop where Casey couldn't lead with both the left and right legs.
-After quite some time observing in the gym, the Spectacular 6 and myself moved downstairs to teach out game called Stinky Letter Stew. Although it wasn't the best game for observing particular locomotor skills, it kept the kids moving and thinking and, above all, having fun! Though not effective for observing the specific locomotor skills, it did involve many while working on literary skills by working with letters.
-The day ended, as always, with some open gym time where the St. Mary's students could let loose and play! Although a somewhat rough start, the say was successful in that all learned something new, reinforced a skills, and/or had fun!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Just Getting Started!

-The first lab was on February 9th, 2009. It took place at St. Mary's Elementary School here in Cortland, NY. The lab was an after school program going from 3-5 every Monday.
-Being the first lab of PED201, everything was a little unorganized and chaotic - the lab being an after school program and there being a large group of St. Marys students of all ages. Once the lab got going, though, the different age groups were split up into different groups to work with (i.e. PRE K, 1st & 2nd graders, and 3rd-6th). It was then that the lab became organized and it became evident that grade level and ability are correlated; PRE K students cannot preform the same activities or play the same games as the 3rd-6th graders.
-We played games such as: Temple Tag, Blog Tag, and Rock, Paper, Scissors with the younger age groups. Although Temple Tag was easier for the kids to grasp because they have already played the game in their scheduled PE class, Blog Tag was a harder concept to grasp. Today being a day where we only worked with the younger age levels, Rock, Paper, Scissors was a huge hit; this version of it required using the body to form the shape that represents a rock, paper, of scissors. Splitting the group into two teams with Cortland students both helping out and participating helped the game to flow better, as well as keeping the St. Mary's students interested for a long time.
-After quite some time in the gym, the group (including Cortland students) moved downstairs into the cafeteria for snacks and games - all which require fine motor skills, unlike the locomotor skills demonstrated when playing games in the gym. After a snack the students moved to the other tables where coloring, card games, and many other little games were going on. This was a great opportunity to observe the fine motor skills of this younger age group.

-To wrap up the day, all of the Cortland students and St. Mary's students gathered in the gym upstairs for basically an open gym were they could play anything they wanted without direction. It is at this point that I started to realize that becoming a teacher will be more difficult than I expected... but I look forward to the challenge!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

As the end draws near...

As the semester draws closer to the end with only 13 days left of classes, so does PED201 and the St. Marys labs. Throughout the semester, PED201 has explored the locomotor skills of the younger age groups and the developmental process. Through the labs, Cortland students have been able to observe PRE K - 6th grade students preform certain games or activities and the locomotor skills involved in each; we have learned how to identify the different skills levels a child can have. Also through the labs, we have learned how to work in the most chaotic environment but still keep it organized and get the job done when it came down to getting the kids to participate in the game or activity and observe the different locomotor skills involved in each game or activity. For me, it has been my first experience working with children [while in the PE program] and I have already learned a great deal about their movements related to age levels and how to do your best in working with a large group of kids and calming them down so you can teach them. The lab had also encouraged me to collaborate with a group to create the most succesful and fun activity for the St. Marys kids while helping our fellow classmates observe locomotor skills involved in our activities. I have had a great experience throughout PED201 learning teaching skills that are both affective and unaffective, while further realizing that PE is the major for me!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Dodgeball Saga

-An ongoing argument in the world of Physical Education is whether or not the game of Dodgeball is a game to be playing in schools. Whether or not the game is worth playing has become quite the controversial conflict amongst school districts. Although many districts have banned the game for reasons they find negative, is the game worth keeping in the curriculum despite some negatives?
-Thing is, the game of Dodgeball had been around forever; it may have been played under differently names, but the act of throwing, dodging, aiming for a target, etc., was involved in someway. Outside of schools, there are many leagues and recreational playing of the game. It is great for hand-eye coordination, arm strength, teamwork, conditioning, agility, and accuracy. Teams need to work together and strategize, and provokes competition - getting people off their butts and wanting to play! With all of these positives, why would one not want to play this game?
Although there are many good aspects of the game, there is always both sides to the story! The other half of the Dodgeball saga says that the game turns students into human targets, provokes bulling [in some cases], eliminated students end up sitting on the sidelines for quite some time before they get back into the game, provokes injury, and can leave emotional scars.
-As a nutral member of the Dodgeball arguement, there are two fair arguements. I have alwasy been a fan of dodgeball, I have always been a start player, and I have always been an active participant. So am I pro Dodgeball in school districts? No. I think it is a great game that works on alot of skills needed in the physically active world, but they are more advanced skills that usually arent taught or learned at the elementary level. Also, there has been alot of injury cases related to Dodgeball in schools, along with emotional damage to the less active or unstable kids. At the higher education levels the kids are bigger and meaner, and although they may not always want to hur their opponent - they do.
-I am con Dodgeball in schools; there are just too many negatives for the school setting for the game to actually leave a positive impact on all - which is the goal for PE teachers. There are many variations to the game that are safe for all and keep everyone willing to play and stay involved. For example: in my school district there was the very popular Bean Bag Bowling; you split the class in half (or played with two classes) and your split the gym in half. Each half had two bowling pins at the far end, and to start students rushed from the endline to the middle to grab as many bean bags as possible to try and hit the pins or opponent. Elimnated players had to do a task before returning to the game and the small bean bags were not allowed to go off the floor.
-Although the game of Dodgeball is no longer present in the variations, these variations include the many positive aspects that the game entails as well as eliminates the negative aspects.