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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