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.