Friday, December 9, 2011

Santa Visits St. Mary's!

        With the conclusion at St. Mary's, I would like to thank all of the staff and children providing me with the opportunity to observe in the school. It has been a great six labs with several learning experiences I can reflect upon to further benefit my education career.Having the ability to observe the children assisted me in understanding the development of early childhood movement. There is a large difference in the growth of motor development between elementary grades. The knowledge I was able to obtain from observations will prove to be essential as I progress forward to becoming a physical educator
        For the final day, my group (Athletic Alliance) decided to remain in the Special Projects Group and work on the "thank you" collages created by each Cortland student. On the entrance doors to the gymnasium we were asked to organize the collages neatly, so the staff and children have something to remember our experiences. The group decided to continue the Christmas theme by using red and green construction paper. One door consisted of a background in red and the other in green. Behind each collage was either red or green depending on the main color of the background. The project finished nicely and the group was able to join the activities occurring in the gymnasium being led by our fellow peers. As the closing activities arrived the Special Projects Group was placed into the spotlight. I was in charge to lead the closing game as the other group members organized the ending dance.

        Reflecting back on the time spent at St. Mary's I can certainly say I had a positive experience with the children. From lab to lab, I have developed into a better physical educator by learning from any mistakes I committed along the way. Another way I was able to learn was from watching my peers lead games because occasionally the game/s presented was even new to me. St. Mary's has broadened my knowledge and gave me a new perspective on the different approaches to teach activities/games.Once again, I would like to thank the staff and children at St. Mary's for providing me with lifelong memories.

***Click here to view my Lab 6 assessment sheet!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gobble for St. Mary's!

        This week at St. Mary's for the Thanksgiving theme my group was assigned to the Special Projects Group. Once we arrived at St. Mary's the Cortland students did the usual of observing two students on a specific motor skill. This week's skills that needed to be assessed were kicking and dribbling. After the opening games were complete it was on to see what Special Projects had in store for the Athletic Alliance. I was very unsure of what to expect for the lab means our group was new to Special Projects, but it ended up being a lot of fun. The group was asked to go around and ask the Cortland students how he/she was enjoying his/her experience at St. Mary's so far. When the group members were able to get many responses we reported back to our group "typist" who typed the responses into a Word document to begin. After, we had to create a newsletter from the responses we were given, but only a few were used.   

        The Special Projects Group also gets to experience the games other groups are playing with the St. Mary's students. All of the games I was able to participate in were extremely fun and different. It was good to see the games also were tied in with the Thanksgiving theme as well. The time spent in the gym was a good opportunity to observe how the St. Mary's students reacted to games presented by the Cortland students. All of the students responded well to the games presented by the Cortland students as they showed excitement in the activities. The games developed a competitive atmosphere for the oldest group of St. Mary's students, which was great to witness. I am getting a great sense of what age to expect competition to develop. To conclude the day our group did a game, a song, and a chant. I was in charge of the chant where we all started whispering "gobble" and worked our way up to a very loud chant. With only one more lab at St. Mary's left the road is quickly coming to an end.

***Click here to view my Lab 5 assessment sheet!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stepping into Lab D!

        In Lab D, the students were required to teach a 15 minute lesson based on a topic given to him/her by the teacher assistants. In my case, I was given a topic I am not very familiar with and have had absolutely no prior experience on. The lesson I had to teach for Lab D was step aerobics and when I first heard what I was teaching I was very nervous. As Lab D was approaching and I began to do research on step aerobics I began to think it would not be hard at all. I started to gain confidence with the ideas I was developing for my lesson. My thoughts were to go over 5 relatively basic steps in the lesson incorporating all of the necessary content needed for Lab D. The day of Lab D, I had confidence in what I was going to teach and how it was going to be taught.

        Throughout Lab D, I believe I did many things well, while there were still parts I had trouble with. I was able to really project my voice well, as before I had trouble and was always told it was a facet of my teaching that needs work. With music playing I knew I had to use my voice properly to express my thoughts and ideas for the students to understand what is expected. In Lab D, I was able to cut down my introduction time and get the students moving a lot sooner, which is key in physical education. Before, I spent too much time in my introduction, so I was happy to see I improved. Another strength was my visual aids because all of the examples were clear and neat with important words needed to get across to the students. I did well providing the students different angles with demonstrations for each exercise we performed. During the lesson focus, I was able to use intra-task variation and use students as examples and demonstrations. It is important to change the difficulty of an activity if the student is not being challenged by it or to lower the difficulty for those who may struggle. I used the style of teaching I had to incorporate (guided discovery) at the beginning of the activity allowing the students to practice what they knew about step aerobics. Finally, I incorporated my topic of the nutrition label well with step aerobics. I separated the benches into five different sections to represent the amount of food groups.

         One of my fall backs in Lab D was moving around and providing more specific congruent feedback to the students. It was hard for me to locate things wrong during the basic step movements the students were performing. I did say "Good job" a lot, but I should have concentrated on more specific feedback to individual students. Another drawback to my lesson was circling around the students during the activity. After I demonstrated the next step movement I generally remained in the front of the class, instead of moving around and in between the students. Doing this limited me of my angles of what was happening in my class and my opportunity to possibly provide more individual feedback. Even though I am happy how Lab D went I still had trouble forming statements that flowed properly. Some of my statements were choppy and did not make sense. I have been working on it, but I still need to show more energy and enthusiasm in my lessons because it rubs off on the students.

        Now, with my teaching labs complete, I have seen vast improvement in my ability to teach as each lab progressed to the next. I am now more confident in my work and I understand the amount of effort that needs to go into a great lesson. To come into a lesson prepared with research on the topic being taught is key for explaining content to the students. In order to be prepared, it is important to take the time out and practice because practicing can only make the lesson stronger. There is no perfect lesson, but it does not hurt to try and be your best to provide an awesome learning experience for the students in your class. It is vital for me to continue practicing on my weaknesses, so I can become the physical educator I want to be. I have learned greatly from EDU 255 and the information I have been able to absorb will prove essential for my future teaching experiences.


Click below to view the following forms:
Lab D Lesson Packet
Lesson Plan
Task Activity Progression
Time Coding Form
Feedback Form
Content Development
Verbal Transcript

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trick or Treat St. Mary's!

      This week at St. Mary's proved to be very different from the other days spent at the school. The Monday at St. Mary's was Halloween and it created a huge buzz inside all of the students. It was great to see many of the Cortland students dress up because it produced a reaction from the St. Mary's students that can not be described. Halloween allowed for a very fun and positive environment due to the excitement all of the children had for the holiday. I could tell the children wanted the day to speed up to the point he/she was home getting dressed up in his/her costume. It is a great feeling to still have the ability to   bring smiles on the children's faces on such an exciting holiday to elementary students.
       My group was in charge of the pre-k students at St. Mary's and it was certainly something I am not very accustomed too. I have little to no experience with a very young age group, like pre-k children. When I first walked into the classroom many of the students were involved with crafts or playing with educational toys. I sat down at a table and began talking to the pre-k children discussing his/her excitement for what the Halloween night would bring. For our group, I had to come up with a game which could be played in the classroom. I thought about it and decided to create matching cards with a Halloween twist. The children had to match pumpkins, ghosts, haunted houses, Frankenstein, black cats, witches, bats, and skeletons. I was really surprised with how well the students were able to catch on and match the pairs easily. Each child who was involved with the activity had no problem with identifying the picture on the card. It was a very smart group with a lot of potential. I attempted to read a book to some of the children, but only got two pages in before the class moved to the gymnasium. When I was beginning the book many of the students ended up leaving no space between myself and them. I had to move them back because it made seeing difficult for the children sitting in the back. In the gymnasium, we played games/activities involving the overhand throw and it was a good experience teaching the children how to properly throw an object overhand. Overall, the visits at St. Mary's are becoming more valuable with each lab and I am looking forward to next time.

***Click here to view my lab 4 assessment sheet.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Give a Fist Pump for Lab C!

      For Lab C, the topic was international games and the students had to choose a game from outside of the United States. When deciding on a topic the students had to share the game with another classmate because one student was in charge of teaching middle school, while the other taught high school. Each student had 10 minutes to teach the class the important aspects of his/her international game. I had the middle school level and had to relate my teaching material around that age group. During my lesson, I wanted to teach the Fistball serve and set, but I ran out of time to teach the class setting. Lab C was a great experience because I was able to learn many new international games to later incorporate in my classroom.

       In Lab C, I think I did many things well and was definitely proud of the improvement I have made over the course of the semester. The first thing done well was bringing everyone in facing the wall, so the students were away from any possible distractions. I remembered to say my signal for attention to the class, which in Lab B I completely forgot. It is important to establish a signal for attention because the students will then be aware when to stop and listen to further instructions. Another aspect to my lesson I remembered to say in Lab C was my safety statement. These are vital to every lesson as it provides the potential hazards a student may face during the activity. My hook was pretty good because I got a positive reaction from my students. When I asked the class if they had siblings most raised his/her hand. Then, when I asked if they ever got in an argument with their sibling and wanted to take out their anger, many of them chuckled and replied "oh yeah". During the use of my PowerPoint, I was really able to cover the historical facts of Fistball and provided solid information. In my demonstration, I was able to express the Fistball serve by displaying the skill in slow motion, with and without the equipment, and different angles. When the activities began I did well getting around to the students to provide feedback. The feedback consisted of using names, specific to the cues, and I was able to give feedback to over 50% of the students. In the closure, I had the students say the cues to a Fistball serve and had a student to come in front of the class to properly demonstrate the serve.
       Within a lesson there will always be strengths a teacher displays, but he/she may stumble upon a few weaknesses. In Lab C, I learned a huge lesson because when I wanted to show the class a YouTube video on Fistball the video would not cooperate. The entire video was already uploaded, but when I jumped a minute into the video it started uploading all over. The video would keep pausing to load and this really frustrated me, but I continued with my lesson. I learned to download the video to my computer beforehand, so this will never happen to me again. Another aspect of my teaching I need to work on is the projection of my voice. Based off feedback given to me, my voice was not projected enough to be clearly heard. It is a part of my teaching I will certainly try to improve upon to better myself. One idea I had going into the lesson was incorporating intra-task  variation within an activity, but it completely slipped my mind. Intra-task variation provides the students with a new challenge as the teacher can adjust the activity to make it easier or harder for a student/students.

      In conclusion, Lab C was a great learning experience that will prove to be beneficial as I progress towards our final lab in EDU 255. I believe the information I provided to my students was the best yet and I will keep improving with practice. With Lab D quickly approaching, I am looking forward to teaching the class step aerobics.

 Click here to view the following forms : Lesson Plan, Activity Progression, Time Coding, Content Development, Feedback Form, and Verbal Transcript.


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

St. Mary's: Sports Theme

      Last Monday, the Cortland students of PED 201 made their return to St. Mary's for another action packed day with the children. The shared theme for this week's session was Sports and the Cortland students represented the theme extremely well. Just about everyone from Cortland walked into St. Mary's with a jersey on his/her back. It demonstrates the amount of character the Cortland students have, as we all share one thing in common when observing at St. Mary's and that is to make the children smile. With many Cortland students wearing sports jerseys it had an immediate impact on the time spent at St. Mary's. The children reacted very well to us and everyone was excited for the activities to begin.

      The group I am with (Athletic Alliance) was in charge of leading the opening activities for the kindergartners and 1st graders. During the games, the Cortland students not a part of the Athletic Alliance observe from the side checking off movements associated with locomotor skills. The locomotor skills we were asked to incorporate into our games this week was the leap, horizontal jump, and slide. I was the first one to demonstrate my game and I believe it went pretty well. When I was describing the game (Hungry Frogs) to the students I did a lot of checking for understanding to ensure the children understood what he/she was suppose to do. During my game, I was able to incorporate the horizontal jump and slide for the Cortland students to begin completing the performance criteria related to the locomotor skills. I think I could of observed the students from more angles and provided more feedback, but overall it was a great experience. After, the group went down to the cafeteria for snack time where we got the opportunity to talk with the St. Mary's students. When snack time was finished we played tag games outside and finished up with the entire class dance at the end to conclude the day. I am gaining so much insight about the development of children as it will prove to be beneficial towards my path of becoming a physical educator.

***Click here to view my lab 3 assessment sheet!

Athletic Alliance Performs "Bye, Bye, Bye"

Photo from Google Images
     During prep lab for PED 201, the groups were asked to create a one minute dance to any song we chose. The purpose of the activity was to choreograph our own dance moves and be able to lip sync the words. Within my group (Athletic Alliance) we decided to go with a common song everyone knows the words to. The song "Bye, Bye, Bye" by the boy band N'Sync was what the group agreed upon because the words are simple and the beat would be easy to choreograph dance moves. Within an hour span, the group was able to throw together dance moves and we were ready to perform for the video camera. Overall, I am not a very fluent dancer, but the experience was fun as I was able to bond closer with the individuals in my group. Check out the video!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Cortland Mini Conference!

Photo from Google Images
        Last Friday, October 7th, Cortland displayed their Mini Conference for Health and Physical Education. The morning started off with a bang, as the Cortland PE students choreographed a dance to the song "Party Rock Anthem", by LMFAO. It was a nice introduction for the crowd to the mini conference and provides the attending teachers insight of what exactly the Cortland PE program represents. The keynote speaker, Dr. Sarah Armstrong of Virginia, discussed how brain activity from exercise can improve teaching. Throughout the presentation, Dr. Armstrong explained how the chemicals in the brain (neurons) from exercising can increase attention span, motivation, and reduce stress. Dr. Armstrong mentioned a staggering statistic including the low percentage of individuals who do not remain physically active after high school. As a future physical educator I want to make a difference in the lives of my students helping them realize the importance of exercise beyond high school.
        When the keynote presentation concluded, I decided to attend the "K-4 Active Health" session led by Dr. Helena Baert of SUNY Cortland. In the session, individuals who attended were able to participate in games demonstrated by Dr. Baert. These games highlighted activities for teachers to engage health and fitness into a lesson for students in grades kindergarten to fourth grade. The workshop provided teachers with fresh ideas, while incorporating important life aspects like safety and personal hygiene. For example, the Fire Safety Relay had students in groups starting behind a cone. On the cone was a bean bag representing a fire alarm which the student had to push to begin. Next, he/she ran to a lacrosse stick, put it up to his/her ear, and pretended to tell 911 there is a fire. Finally, the individual dove under a hockey stick held up by tall pointed cones and quickly stop, dropped, and rolled on a mat. There was a tag game where the taggers represented plaque and when a person was tagged he/she could not move until two individuals acting as a "toothbrush" and "toothpaste"came over and brushed him/her. The student then had to count to 100 by 5's while being brushed before he/she could resume playing the game.
Photo from Google Images
        The next session I attended was an exergaming lab presented by Dr. Yang of SUNY Cortland. This was certainly the most interesting workshop I visited because it showed how exercise can be implemented into video games. To perform any of these games exercising is the only way to be involved and successful. Exergaming promotes a very active and healthy lifestyle leading to higher fitness in children and adults who take part in these video games. Research has proven exergaming has a positive impact on health, academics, and social behavior. One of the stations included the "Cars" racing game from the Disney movie and the gamer had to peddle a bike for the car to move. The faster he/she peddled the faster the car went, so one can tell the physical endurance the game consumes on the human body. Exergaming seems to be the future of video games and the physical activity involved will hopefully cut down obesity rates within the American society.
        In the last session I attended, "International Activity: Games from Australia", two SUNY Cortland graduates presented the material. Dustin Verga and Jill Walsh did their student teaching in the country of Australia and provided the individuals in the session information on the sport of rugby. We learned the history of the sport and the correct technique to hold the ball when getting ready to punt. After a few activities of tossing the ball properly and punting, we broke into groups incorporating subjects into the sport. My group had science and we discussed how physics plays a role in rugby. For example, players must understand the correct trajectory and angles to release the ball to another teammate successfully.
        Overall, the mini conference was a very exciting and fun atmosphere. I am really looking forward to next year's presentation as I am sure there will be more great information provided to assist current and future educators. At the beginning, I was unsure of how the mini conference would be, but it proved to be a great time providing me with a lot of information I can later utilize as a physical educator.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reflection on Lab B

      In Lab B, the students had to teach the class a jump rope skill he/she was assigned by the professor. The difficulty of the jump rope lab varies and progresses as each student gets his/her opportunity to teach the class. The unit began with individual skill/s and will conclude with partner jump roping skill/s.

      Throughout the lesson, there were positive points I performed in the lab and there was also many negative aspects of my lesson. I was able to put together an effective introduction informing the students who I was and what the day's lesson contained. Next, I said my hook to the class and hopefully it got the students more engaged in the task they were about to perform. To me, my hook felt weak because it was difficult for me to think of something related to the task I was asked to demonstrate to the class. Another positive aspect of my lab was I mentioned a safety statement before the students were situated to begin the lesson. I should have said the safety statement while the entire class was still standing directly in front of me because the statement was less effective and unclear if everyone heard it. During the task, I provided cues for the students to follow, so performing the task would be easier. The cues of my task was right, left, right, left. Lastly, I incorporated teaching by invitation as I demonstrated a basic task of my lesson and a more advanced skill. The students had the choice of picking which task he/she felt comfortable practicing.
      First, I believe I could have developed a better hook for my students to incorporate the task. My safety statement should have been mentioned in the beginning before the students dispersed to his/her spot in the gym. I said the statement as the class was moving and it is unclear if everyone heard my instructions. The class did freeze when I asked them to spot and look up, but I never discussed with the students my voice would be the signal of attention. In my demonstrations, I should have provided the students with more angles of how the jump roping skill is performed and some common faults individuals may make. Before coming into the lesson, I thought I was well prepared and ready to teach, but I could of been much more effective. There were times I was caught up in my instructions not providing the class with clear thoughts. Once I know I have made a mistake I realize what happened affecting my lesson and my confidence. When the students were involved with the activity I did walk around, but I should have circled around the students to obtain a better view. Teaching a jump rope unit made me uncomfortable because it was a new task I have never taught before and do not contain much experience. I need to come into each lesson with more confidence about the skill/skills I am teaching to the students.

***Click here to view my verbal transcript and time coding form.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

St. Mary's Lab 2

Photo from Google Images
        The second lab at St. Mary's was a blast and it provided me the opportunity to gain insight on how younger children perform locomotor skills. Cortland students were asked to observe two specific children and see how well both could run, gallop, and hop. Observing these three locomotor skills gave me a better understanding if there are differences between age and gender. Many of the St. Mary's students did really well with completing the criteria on the rubric for the run, gallop, and hop. The Cortland students who taught the opening activities did extremely well in presenting the material and checking for understanding. It is essential to check for understanding with the younger students because sometimes the students can become confused or find the directions unclear. The young children really reacted well when asked specific questions on playing the game. From my perspective it seemed the students were very quick to respond and got the questions correct. At a young age the students will want to play any game as long as the teacher makes the game sound fun and interesting.
Photo from Google Images
        Within my group, while outside on the playground, the children really separated based on gender. The girls would gravitate toward the female assistants and the boys wanted to play tag with the male assistants. When our group went into the gymnasium we performed our games with the children. For the most part, the games went well, but there were a few games some children showed little interest and did not want to participate. One child was uninterested in any of the games we played.  He only wanted to play football, but always decided to join in from the beginning. At the end of the lab, we were  asked for our reaction to the day by video camera, which was a huge surprise. Overall, the day went great and I am really looking forward to coming back to St. Mary's for the next lab.

**Click here to view my Lab 2 assessment sheet.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lab A2

        In Lab A2 the students were given the opportunity to re-teach his/her lesson from Lab A1. For not having any of the supplies to assist with the demonstrations or activities the class did well making the best of what he/she had. I think everyone did a great job and has already made progress in becoming an effective teacher. 

        My reaction on my performance in Lab A2 is definitely more positive than A1. I felt a lot more confident going into the lab and I believe it showed in my teaching. There were many things I improved upon from the first lab and hopefully I continue to make progress throughout the semester. I was able to come into Lab A2 more prepared than the first lab because I had the chance to plan out the lesson. Having the ability to plan it out helped me in all of the areas related to teaching as I knew what was expected of us. My energy was much higher and I seemed to be more enthusiastic in the material I was teaching to my "students". Energy and enthusiasm are important because it certainly helps me project my voice and the tones I used in my voice varied during the lab. Remaining relaxed helped me express clear thoughts to my "students" because they all seemed very understanding of how to engage in the task. Another way being calm helped was it reduced the amount of times I said words like "uh" and "um". The last part I believe I did well on was my hook because I thought it was creative and different for the younger students to remain interested on the class lesson.

        As teachers are aware no lesson will ever be perfectly instructed. While I did many positive things throughout the duration of my lesson there are still negatives, which need improvement. At the beginning of the lesson I should have rearranged the "students" so their backs were to the other class. Now, the "students" were probably less focused on what I had to say and more concentrated on what the other group was doing. Having the students face the wall is a good way to keep all eyes on the teacher. Next, I forgot to mention a safety statement which is vital because students must know to be aware of certain situations. I did remember to follow the acronym DEAD (demonstrate, explain, again demonstrate). The only thing wrong was I forgot to show the demonstration from more than one angle and for most students he/she needs multiple angles to understand correct technique. During my activity I was giving positive feedback, but I should have pinpointed one person who may of had trouble. At the end, instead of asking the whole class to answer how to properly pass a soccer ball I could have purposely asked one individual specifically to give me a cue on the skill.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chapter 4 Questions: Effective Teaching Skills

2) What are some things teachers can do to improve communication with learners in task presentation?
         There are eight different approaches a teacher can take to improve communication in task presentation. The first is setting an introduction, and a successful introduction has the ability to grab the learners attention to the criteria of the presentation. In a typical introduction the speaker wants to talk about something interesting, like a story that ties into the lesson. The teacher should cover what he/she will be doing, how it will be done, and why it is being taught over the course of the introduction. Second, the material being presented must be organized, so the teacher does not confuse any students. It is logical to go in chronological order because the material will be easier to follow and the concept makes the most sense. Presenting in chronological order has proved to be successful, so don't fix what isn't broken. Third, individuals learn well when the examples are given throughout the presentation. For some reason, people understand concepts when examples and non-examples are provided. Examples help people gain an understanding what right from wrong is. Fourth, the teacher can personalize the presentation because it gives the feeling everyone is involved. Providing the audience with personal experiences about yourself and/or between the teacher and students helps maintain interest in the material.
Photo from Google Images
        Fifth, repetition is a key facet of task presentation as it allows the learners to understand ideas which may be difficult to grasp. When the teacher wants to make a key point during the presentation it is important for him/her to repeat over and over for clarity. There is no moving forward until everyone understands the main focus of the presentation and the key ideas expressed by the speaker.  Sixth, it is important to relate the content to the personal experiences of students because it keeps the students engaged in the presentation. The teacher needs to be capable to bridge together old experiences with present experiences occurring in class. Seventh, the teacher must check for understanding because when students are asked if they know the material no one will raise his/her hand due to possible embarrassment. It is important for the teacher to gather feedback from the students because it will ensure the teacher his/her students grasp the material being presented. The teacher can either call out a specific student or create a list of questions the students must answer throughout the presentation and review the questions at the end of the presentation. Lastly, the ability to present the material in a dynamic fashion is important. Instead of speaking in a monotone voice the entire presentation it is vital to switch up the volume, pitch, and tone between teacher and students. Teachers must understand to utilize his/her voice dynamics to be effective and have a presentation the students stay attentive in.

3) What are guidelines for using demonstration effectively?
        To produce an effective demonstration the teacher must follow seven guidelines. The first guideline is double checking if the information from teacher to student is accurate. Students rely on the teacher to provide him/her with the correct technique. So, it is important for the teacher to fully demonstrate the motions more than once and from an array of angles. One child might learn better when seeing the body movements from a specific angle. Second, if a student is capable of demonstrating as well or better than the teacher have the student perform the demonstration. Now, the teacher can turn his/her focus on the students watching to stress the important aspects of the task. Third, the teacher needs to be able to demonstrate the task exactly how the students will be performing it. For example, if the class is covering volleyball and the ball has to be tossed over the net during the activity the teacher should present the task in this manner. Children need correct visual examples because it helps the students understand organizational format of the activity. Fourth, a quality demonstration has to emphasize the important information about the activity. The essential parts of a skill needs to be highlighted several times, so the students can comprehend the critical points. When a teacher highlights the vital information it is important for him/her to express it verbally and visually. To express it visually the teacher should try and freeze during the demonstration of the key points of the task.
Photo from Google Images
        Fifth, information should be provided for why the skill being performed in a certain manner. For some instances it is performed to follow the rules of the game or to properly follow the principles of movement. When demonstrating the skill it is important to perform the skill at a slow speed, so the observers can understand the motion. Sixth, teachers check for the students understanding on the newly learned skill. A teacher can ask a question immediately after the demonstration was given, but it is incorrect to let the students practice without checking for understanding. There are several ways a teacher can check for a student's understanding. Lastly, the demonstration must occur more than once for the students to properly understand. Every time the demonstration is repeated the performance should be shown at an alternate angle. It is difficult for students to grasp the motions of a skill after one demonstration.

5) What are the characteristics of good learning cues? Design a set of learning cues you would use with young beginning learners and then for older advanced learners for a closed skill, open skill, and movement concept.
        The characteristics of good learning cues consist of accuracy, critical to the task, few in number, and must be appropriate for the age and skill. A learning cue is a phrase which communicates as much information about a specific skill efficiently. The teacher must teach accurate skills because students should not be misinformed. When a student is mislead he/she may develop bad habits that become difficult to correct. If a teacher is unsure how to properly demonstrate a cue he/she should receive the correct information from a reliable source. The teacher being capable to selecting cues has high importance as it provides the learners with good visuals on how to perform correct technique. Demonstrating cues should highlight the critical points of the skill. While providing information to students the teacher does not want to overwhelm the students with too many cues. Performing cue after cue will cause the students to forget or lose the attention of the class. A teacher should work with a few at a time until the cues are mastered. Cues should be appropriate for the age and skill level the teacher is instructing. The educator does not want to introduce a complicated cue to beginning learners because the cue is to difficult to understand or complete. It is important for the teacher to remember the age group he/she teaches and the ways he/she can modify cues for the different skill levels within the class.
Photo from Google Images
        For young beginning learners I would have them dribble a basketball stationary for a few minutes as a closed skill. I would have them concentrate on having the legs shoulder width apart, head up, and bouncing the ball off the finger tips. Next, the open skill would consist of a defender playing at 80%, so he/she is not stealing the ball away from the dribbler. The dribbler needs to become accustomed to having another player attempting to steal the ball. Keeping the head up would be greatly stressed, but the student still needs to remember the basics of dribbling a basketball. A movement concept would be incorporated by having the dribbler to try to dribble from baseline to baseline with a defender trying to steal the ball. The player has to keep the ball close to the body at all time while being guarded. For older advanced learners I would have them begin with shooting free-throws as a closed skill. The student needs to focus on feet shoulder width apart, eyes on the basket, and perfect follow through. Then, the open skill would progress to the three point line where he/she will receive passes from all around the arc with a defender running at him/her and they would be asked to shoot. I would tell the student to stay square to the basket with arms up and ready to catch. When the student catches the ball remember to follow through and pump fake if needed. The movement concept would have the student on the run around the three point area where he/she will quickly catch and shoot. The player must keep his/her head up when dribbling, ready to catch the ball, square up before shooting, and complete the shot with following through.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To Allow or Disallow Dodgeball?

        In today's society, many schools around the country are debating whether or not to ban the game of dodgeball from their curriculum. The game has become a very controversial topic within physical education classes as dodgeball has already been cut from school programs. Dodgeball is still an integral part of many physical education programs because teachers view the game as enjoyable to many. There are arguments from teachers who would like dodgeball to remain in the physical education curriculum, while many others would debate the danger the game entails.
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        Personally, I began in the middle of allowing or disallowing the game because I see both sides of the argument. Now, I am starting to lean more towards not allowing the activity in any class setting. I feel there are countless cons to the game, and only a handful of positives the game can produce for the child to benefit from. Dodgeball is considered a very aggressive game which can induce violence among the students. If dodgeball is played at an early age it can teach the student violence and aggression is alright; later becoming violent in life. The game often does not allow the less athletic students to enjoy class, which tends to be the children who need the exercise the most. These students are typically the individuals who decide not to participate and sit on the sidelines twiddling his/her thumbs. When a student feels uncomfortable or can not perform the activity as well as others it is detrimental to his/her confidence and encourages him/her to despise physical education more. It is unfair for the children who do not possess the motor skills to be effective in the game because his/her self-esteem is affected. In most cases, the more "athletic" students who possess the skills to successfully play the game frown upon a less "athletic" student being on his/her team. Negative energy is then shown and feelings become hurt and it leads to children skipping physical education often. Children want to be a part of games with other classmates, rather than having to perform a different activity because he/she is uncomfortable with dodgeball. Nobody wants the feeling of being left out of a game. There are a countless amount of other safe and inviting activities which incorporate the same motor skills as in dodgeball.
        In conclusion, one could see the problems why dodgeball has become a controversial issue in physical education classrooms. The game is a favorite among many students, but the risk to preserve dodgeball in school settings might be too high to be involved with. No matter what state an individual is from there will always be people who are for and against dodgeball. It is an on-going debate, which may never be put to rest.

***Update (9/22/11) Based on a 2006 position statement by NASPE, dodgeball has no place to be played in any physical education class. The statement explains why dodgeball is inappropriate for physical education programs and should be excluded from all schools. Follow the link below and scroll down to "Position on Dodgeball in Physical Education" to view the stance NASPE takes on the game of dodgeball.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chapter 2 Questions: Understanding the Teaching-Learning Process

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3)        There are five different requirements for an individual to learn a motor skill which include prerequisites, a clear idea of the task, the implication of the teacher, motivational/attentional disposition to the skill, practice, and feedback. The prerequisite stage requires the learner to possess previous related skills to assist in the understanding of the motor skill. In most cases, the individual must master similar abilities related to the motor skill/s being learned. Physical ability also has an effect in an individuals development in learning a motor skill. For younger children, physical abilities come from the process of maturity and may prove to be more difficult to learn a motor skill. A clear idea of the task comes from a great instructor who facilitates a plan to accomplish the task. The instructor must be able to provide good demonstrations for the learner to completely understand the correct body motions. Many individuals do not have a clear idea of a task because of previous false information, so he/she is performing the skill incorrect. Sometimes the body can do the skill right, but the mind second guesses the movement of the body and the end result is wrong. Motivation/attentional disposition to the skill relates to how motivated the leaner is and how willing he/she is to listening to his/her instructor. For a person to learn the individual must be motivated to take part in task. The more motivated an individual is he/she will be pay more attention to detail, and later become more effective in the task. In order to stay motivated he/she must have a good instructor who alters activities constantly, so the learner does not lose interest in the task. Practice is an important factor to learning a motor skill because it helps the consistency of an individual's performance. The more practice one does the more he/she will understand the basic body motions involved in the task. Everyone benefits from practice because it positively refines skills related to the task. Nothing is more true than the saying "practice makes perfect"! Feedback is extremely important to develop a motor skill because it allows the individual or others to critique a performance. Providing feedback to someone is crucial and beginning with something positive is crucial as well. The feedback from others and yourself can be beneficial because the learner can improve upon the skills connected with the activity. Some people do not like feedback, but it is a stepping stone to become better. Others respect feedback and use it for motivation to work harder.

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4)        Closed, open, discrete, and serial skills should be taught in different manners. A closed skill involves the conditions in the environment to remain consistent. An example of a closed skill would consist of a tennis player serving the ball to the opposition. Open skills refer to those variables which are not consistent with the environment and are expected to change. Passing a football in game-like situations represent an open skill because the angle from the quarterback to the receiver is constantly changing. Discrete skills are those skills making up the majority of the sport such as hitting and throwing. Serial skills are a series of motions put together to complete the purpose of the activity, like the triple jump in track. These skills must be taught to students differently because some skills are self-paced, while other skills are externally-paced. Self-paced skills need the conditions to be consistent throughout the lesson and externally-paced skills must be taught in environments with the likeliness of change. There is no reason for a teacher to teach a closed skill in an environment producing constant change, and instructing an open skill in a stable environment. All of the skills are best comprehended when the instructor uses various advancement within the task. The teacher must gradually advance the practices into game-like situations, so the students know what can be expected. With discrete skills the teacher needs to focus on bodily functions from the beginning to the end. A teacher has to break down the movements step-by-step for the students to understand and perform correctly. In serial skills the teacher focuses on how well a student transitions from one skill to the next. The teacher must prepare the students for the next skill by combining these skills in a teaching exercise. In conclusion, the skill being taught to the students must resemble similar conditions the students would face in a game.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Importance of Fundamental Skill Development and Assessment

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        There are many reasons why fundamental skill development has a high importance to physical education. Within every lesson plan a physical educator creates, he/she should emphasize on the students to acquire a new knowledge of skills related to the current topic. Fundamental skill development is most essential at the elementary setting because the teacher instructs the students on basic body movements. Also, learning basic movements at a young age helps the student because these skills will feel more natural as the student grows older.

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        Having the ability to develop the fundamental skills will benefit the child later in life as he/she can be competent in sports and physical activity. A child who grasps the idea on throwing a baseball properly will more likely succeed at baseball and any sport involving throwing movements. Children who are incapable of successfully performing such body functions will become easily frustrated. As a physical educator we need to possess the ability to clearly instruct our knowledge, so the students become competent in the three categories of fundamental skill development; stability, locomotor, and manipulative. If the student is not taught proper body movements it will be harder for him/her to break bad habits later in life when a coach or physical educator attempts to correct his/her technique. Three organizations who promote fundamental skill development are the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), and the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). All of these organizations devote time towards the physical activity of young children.   
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        Assessment is important as well because it allows the educator to see where the students stand with the correct knowledge and body functions on a topic. A teacher should assess his/her students three different times throughout the course of a lesson. First, pre-assessment is used to see where students are before the unit begins. Second, is the formative assessment which provides feedback during and throughout the unit. Third, post-assessment is given after the unit is completed to see what the students have learned from the unit. The assessment of a physical educator tracks the progress of a student from beginning to end. By assessing a class the educator is able to identify the students with good form, and in return be able to devote more time to the individuals encountering difficulty with the skill. Assessment of all the students provides the teacher to determine the effectiveness of previous programs and where to begin a unit.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

St. Mary's Lab 1

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        My first lab at St. Mary's was one filled with many observations on the development of elementary students. The observations gave me a good idea on how each student in my group behaves and reacts to his/her surrounding environment. At St. Mary's my time proved to be very beneficial because it provided me with the opportunity to observe what to expect in upcoming visits. I really enjoyed myself playing in the different games and activities with the children, as it gave me the chance to know the age group I was assigned to. These young children look up to the Cortland students as role models and older siblings to play with. So, it is the job of the Cortland students to provide a fun and safe atmosphere, while maintaining the level of professionalism needed at an elementary setting. All of the children at St. Mary's are great students who possess strong characteristics, which will help him/her develop skill sets throughout his/her lifetime. Everyone at St. Mary's representing SUNY Cortland did an excellent job in a professional manner and I am looking forward to working with my fellow peers and the St. Mary's students. Let this semester be a great time for the children to enjoy our presence as all of us try to obtain more knowledge on child development!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Checking Your Understanding: Chapter 1 Questions

1) What is meant by the idea that teaching is a goal-oriented activity?
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        Teaching is a goal-oriented activity because as a physical educator the teacher must set course goals for the class or individual to achieve. Either way, having the class realize there are goals to achieve motivates the students to attend class and accomplish these goals appointed by the educator. When a physical educator creates goals for the classroom he/she should be concerned with three domains; psychomotor, affective, and cognitive. Teaching being goal-oriented, allows the teacher to assess the students to see where a student is at with a specific skill. All dedicated teachers want students to improve over the duration of his/her class and with proper instruction improvement should be seen in physical education. An example of an individual goal for a student would be running a mile ten seconds faster in the span of a month. For a physical educator it is important for him/her to make goals possible to reach, so the students do not become discouraged and unmotivated.

5) Why is the movement task-student response unit of analysis so important in physical education?
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        Movement task-student response unit of analysis is important in physical education because it allows the accomplishment of objectives through the progression of experience. When the students are engaged in the activity the task of the educator is to observe his/her students for body language and problems with proper technique. After the physical educator has observed his/her class he/she can now provide positive advice for the students to improve upon. As a teacher the movement task-student response can grant time for assessment. If the students are grasping the task and performing well the teacher can then advance to a more complex level of the task. For example, if students are successfully making 3 lay-ups consecutively the educator can then ask the class to attempt the lay-up with his/her less dominate hand. Another action the teacher can decide to do is switching the task and introducing an entirely new task for the students to perform.

7) What is the relationship between teaching functions and teaching skills? List two teaching functions teachers must perform, and describe two alternative behaviors teachers can choose to perform these functions.
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         A well-established teacher uses daily functions and skills without even thinking of it because over time the actions become natural. Teaching functions and skills work together providing teachers with valuable feedback on individual students. The more understanding a teacher has for the students he/she can become a more effective educator because the teacher can work with individual needs. A curriculum can be altered once the teacher understands the class better, as the previous curriculum may not of been the best route for success. Two teaching functions teachers must perform are the presentation of tasks and developing content. Content behavior and management behavior are two alternative behaviors a teacher can choose to perform a function. Content behavior can be used in a presentation because the educator will tell the class the type of presentation. Then, the students will engage in the presentation, like watching a video. Next, the teacher helps students answer questions pertaining to the video and later the teacher can modify any concerns. Management behavior can be used when developing content by allowing the students to get involved. The teacher may organize the class in groups and then the groups can give ideas to the educator on information the class would like to learn. Both content and management behavior can be used presentations and developing class content.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Verbal Transcript of Lab A1

        Here is my verbal transcript of Lab A1 for EDU 255. It was the job of each student to watch his/her video and type down every word he/she said to the class or individual. With Lab A1 being the first chance for me to teach the class I would certainly like to improve upon my ability to be an effective teacher. Click on Lab A1 in the first sentence to view the document.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Huge Surprise in EDU 255

      On the first day of the semester the class was asked to individually teach the class for 4 minutes on a basic skill.  Everyone had the decision to choose from volleyballs, basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, or hula hoops.  When my turn arrived I decided to teach the class on how to properly pass a soccer ball.  I figured it would be the easiest for me to explain as I played college soccer at Cazenovia College.  Here is my first attempt in EDU 255 to demonstrate my teaching ability. I am sure there will be many more to come!

        Over the course of the four minutes I thought I did a few things well, while other components will need improvement in the next teaching session. I believe doing a demonstration of proper technique gave the group an understanding of how to make the right pass to his/her partner. During the time the group was static I was looking around to see if any individuals were passing with poor technique. I also think having the group move by passing and moving with a partner was good because I did not want the group to remain static for the whole four minutes. Lastly, at the end the group was asked to huddle and tell me if he/she had any questions for me to answer.
        A section needing improvement is my ability to communicate with my group. I need to project my voice better and express my information in a clearer manner. Also, I would like to work on fitting all my information in at the beginning instead of forgetting pointers at the beginning of the demonstration. For example, I forgot to mention when passing a soccer ball the shoulders should be square with the ball and the upper body should be over the ball to keep the ball from leaving the ground. I need to talk more during the exercise and assist an individual who may be having trouble grasping the idea. At the end I need to ask what my group has learned, like the different techniques needed to make a correct pass.
        Observations by a teacher can only be beneficial to the educator because it allows him/her to assess the students and the itinerary of course material.  The observation of students improves student learning as the teacher gains the ability to obtain consistent feedback. By obtaining feedback, the educator can then evaluate specific classroom approaches through the response and body language of students.  An educator's observance of the classroom can assist in the revealing of the effectiveness of teacher performance and the progression of students within the classroom.

Summer Learning and the First Day of Classes!

        My initial reaction to creating the blog is it will be a beneficial tool not only now, but for years to come as I progress to a Physical Education teacher. Creating the blog was relatively easy and the hardest part was thinking of a creative; yet professional Gmail address. I look forward to referring back to the blog during the semester to further enhance the content.
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         Over the summer I worked at a soccer camp where I was in charge of instructing 4-6 year old children with my assistant. Coaching at the camp has given me the opportunity to reveal a few of my weaknesses, so I can make the corrections to become a stronger instructor. The camp was very essential as I was able to evaluate my overall performance throughout the duration of the camp.  I was also able to witness what instructions and programs were effective with the age group I was in charge of.  My campers were able to learn more effectively because I would perform a demonstration before the beginning of each drill/game. The drills/games are designed for the age group, so it specifically lays down the foundation for the game of soccer.  To help the 4-6 age group positive feedback was always applied as having the right attitude helps motivate the campers. Once the drill/game began it allowed me the time to evaluate every player in my group. The evaluation of each player gave me the ability to view which campers may need more attention due to his/her soccer potential.
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        In my first class with Professor Yang (PED 201) the basics of the class was covered. During class, the syllabus was discussed and Professor Yang's blog was viewed. Professor Yang then brought the class on a tour of Park Center to give the new students an opportunity to see where classes are located. Later, lab for PED 201 was held at Saint Mary's Elementary School where the students had the ability to see the building where we all would be helping. During our time at the school we were able to cover different things to expect and prepare for throughout our stay at Saint Mary's. My second class (EDU 255) with Professor Yang we spent the time in a gymnasium where the class was split into two groups. Each member in the group had to create an activity for the other members to perform for four minutes. The objects the students got to choose from were volleyballs, basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, and hula hoops. Sounds like the start of a great semester!