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.

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