Wednesday, April 29, 2009

St. Mary's Lab 6

I’ve learned that all younger children are different. Whether they’re at a different level of a motor skill, social aspect, or growth point they all have their own personal level in which they are at. Each child is and individual and should be treated as an individual. There were many activities that were appropriate for the children. One of these activities was four goal soccer. Four goal soccer got everyone in the class involved and all of the children were playing. The directions to the game were given very clearly and thoroughly in which none of the children had any problems or had any questions. The children knew who was on whose team and which goals to shoot at. Another activity that was appropriate was capture the flag. In capture the flag, we had the children capture the Easter baskets, that had eggs in them, and bring them back to their home base. The game went very well and the students really enjoyed it. A game that was inappropriate was food freeze tag, in which the students had to say their favorite food before getting the ball thrown to them to get unfrozen. The game didn’t go very well because the students weren’t using the right throwing motion by throwing overhand. The students also didn’t get the concept that they needed to be tagged first in order to get the ball. I feel that we really didn’t have the students’ full attention when we were explaining the rules and giving an adequate demonstration of the game.

I was only able to experience the Pre-K at St. Mary’s for one lab. When I first walked into the room one of the boys in the class immediately greeted me, taking my hand and bringing me over to where he was playing. I ended up helping him build towers with the blocks that he was playing with. I then played with a group of other children who were having a tea party in the playhouse and also were playing with the toy cash register. The children were very talkative and energetic. My group had a game for the Pre-K children when we took them into the gym, which had them performing various motor skills such as leaping, hopping, sliding, and jumping. The game was also associated with spiderman, in which the children threw balls at the villain Dr. Octopus. Working with the Pre-K children was different from working with the older children because the Pre-K students weren’t as developed with their motor skills and their social skills as the older children. I did really enjoy working with the Pre-K children because they were very playful and talkative and were very excited to play any game we had for them.

While I was at St. Mary’s I was in the cafeteria a few times and I noticed the fine motor activities that the children were playing. Some of these fine motor activities were drawing, doing puzzles, and building with small legos. I feel that if you can find a way to incorporate the fine motor activities into the activities that you have in your curriculum, you should definitely execute it because it is another way to build the children’s character.

I have learned a lot of valuable lessons and tricks that can help me with my teaching style while spending my time at St. Mary’s. I have learned to really project my voice loud enough in which everyone in the room would be able to hear it. I have also learned to always give an adequate demonstration of the activity, game, or skill that I am teaching so the students know what I am expecting from them. I have also learned to name all of the objectives to the game/activity while I am introducing the instruction and rules to the game/activity. With all of the labs, I have learned to always have alternate variations to games/activities, in which I can continue the interest of the children and look at different aspects such as different motor skills. I feel like my teaching style has not yet fully emerged, but was really developed during my experience with St. Mary’s labs. I feel that I will be learning many more new aspects to teaching with the rest of my experiences that I have ahead of me within the classes I have yet to take. I will constantly be learning as I go through my teaching experience, constantly fine adjusting my teaching style.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

St. Mary's Lab 5

Almost all of the games that my group has utilized with the St. Mary students have been appropriate. Most of the games have had the right range of activities and motor skills for the age group of students to accomplish. The students have shown their progressions and where they stood in the area of the certain motor skill that we were accessing. During week four, the game that we had our students play was food freeze tag, in which the students had to say their favorite food before getting the ball thrown to them to get unfrozen. The game didn’t go very well because the students weren’t using the right throwing motion by throwing overhand. The students also didn’t get the concept that they needed to be tagged first in order to get the ball. I feel that we really didn’t have the students’ full attention when we were explaining the rules and giving an adequate demonstration of the game.

There are some limitations that you can run into during the process of accessing motor skills. There will be students that aren’t able to perform the certain task that you need them to perform in order to access them in a specific motor skill. Every student is different and many of them develop at different times throughout their childhood. Another limitation that could be possible during a game could be a lack of resources. You can end up not having the right materials that you need or not enough material to perform a game or activity that you want to play.

St. Mary's Lab 4

Since I have been at St. Mary’s there have been difficulties and challenges that I have faced during the labs. One of the difficulties was projecting my voice. Another difficulty was to keep the students on track during the activity that my group was running. One other difficulty/challenge that I have faced is to get the students that were sitting out of the activities to participate in the activity.

I have learned a lot from being at St. Mary’s and teaching the students there. When I had trouble with projecting my voice, I made sure that at the following lab I was projecting it so all of the students would hear it. Also, I made my voice loud enough to grab and keep the students attention. Keeping the students on track during an activity can be very difficult considering some of them don’t want to be participating in the activity at all. In order to keep them on track I feel that the directions and rules to the game have to be given out very thoroughly before the game starts, so there is a better chance that the students are doing the allotted task. Also, I feel that the game has to have a variation so the students don’t get bored with playing the same game. There have been difficulties where I haven’t really been able to get students that were sitting out to participate in the activity. I feel that I should ask them why they’re sitting out, try to convince them to play, and then ask them what game they want to play and tell them that they’ll play it after the activity in progress.

St. Mary's Lab 3

The skills that we had the students perform included leaping, horizontal jumping, and sliding. The children that I observed perform these skills were Jim, who was male and a six year old first grader, and Jenn, who was female and a six year old first grader. The first skill that I observed was the leap. Jim performed the leap and met every criteria for it making no mistakes. Jenn was lacking one of the performance criteria for the leap, which was that she didn’t use a forward reach with arm opposite the lead foot. The next skill that I observed was the horizontal jump. Jim had some trouble with meeting the performance criteria, in which he didn’t have his arms extend forcefully forward and upward, reaching full extension above the head. He also didn’t bring his arms downward during landing. Jenn missed one of the performance criteria for the horizontal jump, which was that she didn’t have her arms extend forcefully forward and upward, reaching full extension above the head. The last skill that I observed was the slide. Jim missed two out of the four performance criteria, which included that he didn’t have his body turned sideways to desired direction of travel and he didn’t have a short period where both feet were off the floor. Jenn had just missed one of the performance criteria, which was that she didn’t have a period where both feet were off the floor. Through my observations I saw that Jim and Jenn had some little noticeable differences but were at around the same skill level of performance.

A teaching strategy that I used that helped connect towards the students was adequate demonstration. I used this strategy so the students knew exactly what skill they had to perform so they could go through the game more fluently, have a better time, and so I would be able to observe the skills more thoroughly. This strategy did work because all of the students were performing the skills that I showed them. Another strategy was that I repeating the directions to the students at each station of the game. This worked out because it kept all of the students on task during the game. One other strategy that I used was that I got involved in the game that the students were playing. I would use my arms as a barrier in which the student had to get low and slide under them.

After being at St. Mary’s for three weeks I have learned effective ways to keep the students attention and on task. One of these strategies was to really project my voice. I learned during the second week I was there that I wouldn’t get by if the students couldn’t all hear my voice. So I have learned to project my voice to grab all of the students’ attention. Another strategy that I’ve learned to use was to raise my arm in the air and either count or just have it raised when I am bring the students in for directions. One other way that I learned to keep the students on task was to always keep the game that they’re playing interesting. If I saw that the students were getting bored with the game, I would put a twist on it to keep it interesting and fun.

St. Mary's Lab 2

During this lab I observed two students, in which I was looking at their running, galloping, and hopping skills. The two students that I observed were Jane, who was six years old and female, and Dustin, who was six years old and male. Both of the students were at the same age and meant that they were in the same grade level, which was either first or second grade. The games in which I observed these two students play were zany zoo and barnyard chase. Running was the first skill that I observed and Dustin met all of the performance criteria. Jane was missing a few performance cues which included that her arms weren’t in opposition and her elbows weren’t bent. Jane was running with her arms down at her side. Also, Jane didn’t have her nonsupport leg bent around 90 degrees. Galloping was the next skill that I observed and I saw that both Jane and Dustin met all of the performance criteria for galloping. The last skill that I observed was hopping. I wasn’t able to observe Dustin hop because he didn’t get to hop during both of the games. Jane did get to hop and I observed that she met every criterion except she didn’t have her nonsupport leg swing in a pendulum fashion to produce force.

I observed different teaching strategies within the two games that I observed which were zany zoo and barnyard chase. During the beginning of the zany zoo game, one of the Cortland students gave the children the directions to the game. I felt that he went over the direction well and he didn’t make them too complicated. He didn’t give too many directions for the game at once which also helped the kids get to understand the game rules. The thing that I thought that he did the best was that he was really projecting his voice very well and had the attention of all of the kids. During the beginning of the barnyard chase game I felt that the two people giving directions to the game presented them well. They didn’t make the directions too complicated throughout the game and the kids seemed to understand it pretty well. The only thing that could have been better was that the Cortland students should have projected their voice better to keep the kids attention throughout the game. There was also one more game that we played at the end of the lab which was chuck the chicken. I felt that the TA that gave the instructions to the game did it perfectly. He was projecting his voice very well and had all of the kids’ attention. He also demonstrated what needed to be done in the game and used a few Cortland students to help him show the kids how the game was performed. I feel that in order to be effective in teaching you need to be able to project your voice, give an adequate demonstration, and also have the children’s attention constantly on you.

St. Mary's Lab 1

During my first lab at St. Mary’s my group and I were assigned to the group of children in the cafeteria. I sat down next to two children that were playing a game that I had never seen before. The children were Jill and Bob and they explained to me that the game they were playing was called mancala. Their social skills were well adapted and I was able to see that they were in either fourth or fifth grade. They both explained the rules to the game to me and were very excited to show me how to play. After playing mancala, we eventually migrated up into the upstairs gym. I then observed both Jill and Bob as they were playing through the games that we assigned for them. Their motor skills seemed to be very much a like one another’s and I noticed that their gender difference had no effect in their motor skills. When I was having a catch with one of the children in the fourth grade, Steve, I noticed that his ability was at a high range and he had the full throwing motion of stepping, releasing, and following through. Bob also had a catch with me and Steve and I realized that Bob’s initial step was inconsistent along with his follow through (completing the rainbow), which showed that Bob was at a higher level of ability. I believe that the grade level and ability have an influence on motor behavior within this age group but not gender. I believe that gender doesn’t really play a role because the children haven’t reached puberty yet and there isn’t a distinct advantage of one gender over the other in motor behavior, such as when the boys reach puberty and obtain more strength do to testosterone. I think that grade level has a influence on motor behavior because the higher level grade children are physically and mentally more developed than the younger kids. Ability is a key factor in motor behavior because the children are all at different ability levels due to the fact that every child is different, in which they develop differently or if they have the advantage of participating in activities that the others aren’t.

During my observation I observed the fine motor activities of throwing a ball, shooting a basketball, and running. As I described before, Bob was at a high level of ability in throwing a ball and Steve was at a lower level of ability. These two children were the same grade level but as I observed one had a higher level of ability than the other did. When I was playing horse in basketball with Bob I realized that his shooting ability was lower than of other students there. As Bob shot the basketball he used both hands to push off the ball causing an erratic spin on the ball. Bob also didn’t have any follow through in his shooting action. As I was playing with Bob I noticed one of the girl students that was also shooting the basketball. She seemed to be at a higher level of ability because she had a good motion of shooting the ball and following through with the shot. I don’t believe gender differences had anything to do with the difference in these two students but I do believe that the girl was older than Bob in which she was more developed (taller) and also the girl had a high level of ability for that motor skill. When the students were playing tag games I noticed that the older kids were more agile and had more fluent motion in their running patterns. There was no noticeable difference for the gender aspect of the students running abilities.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dodgeball or No Dodgeball?

I believe that dodgeball shouldn't be allowed in the public school system unless it is a modified version. The original game of dodgeball shouldn't be allowed do to the possible injuries from the ball and also because it gives bullies a chance to pick on other children. Throughout elementary and middle school I played a modified version of dodgeball called South of the Boarder. In this modified game there are two opposing sides and balls in the middle to start off as in dodgeball. The balls are all foam and squishy balls. There are two opposing jails in which is an area "behind enemy lines" where the players that are hit go to. Once a player is in the jail one of their teammates that is still in can throw them a ball and if the person in jail catches it they are freed. If one of the teammates threw a ball through the opposing side's basketball hoop, everyone that was in jail would then be freed. This game helps children with their social skills which I experienced by talking to other kids that I never talked to before on my team. It also helps with cognitive skills, in which you need to work out strategies with your other teammates to coordinate plans and moves.