Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Experience at St. Mary's: Labs 4,5, and 6

Lab 4 had a theme of favorite foods. I found that of all the labs we took part in, our group was least successful during this session. We were assessing throwing and catching. However, in order to properly assess the students, we would have to ensure that the activity environment created the proper challenges for the children. Our game went wrong in this regard as the game had loopholes were the students handed off the ball instead of throwing/catching. Outside of our group, we found that some children struggled with both of the skills. However, when given one simple cue, the step, we found drastic improvements in throwing quality. If their is anything I took away from this lab, it is that one verbal cue can be the difference in performance level. 
Lab 5 focused on observing the skills of hand dribbling with a basketball or similar ball, and kicking. The groups did really well interacting and each group did well to maintain the attention of the kids. The only notable mistake was when one of the groups tried to give instruction after trying to hand out the balls. As a result, the student quickly became unfocused and did not respond to instruction. As for the students themselves, we noted a very wide difference in performing levels. The boys overall outperformed the girls in the hand dribbling while both groups performed at the same level in kicking. On an individual level, we found that the if a student struggled in one area, the quality of the rest of the skill was compromised. For example, if the student had trouble dribbling and slapped the ball instead of using finger pad, they often had little control and could not dribble to one side of their body. 
Lab 6 had an Easter theme when the actual holiday just around the corner. We had a great time interacting with the kids for the final day of Lab. Our group created a capture the flag base game that used Easter baskets instead of flags. The biggest thing i took away from this Lab is learning to check for understanding. I often give instruction and don't provide the opportunity for the students to provide the answers to questions they already know. Overall, I have taken away much more knowledge about developmental motor skills then I am aware. I have come to realize that their are some parts of teaching that cannot be explained on paper or in a book. Their is the unconscious growth of knowing what to do and how to direct a group of students to a direction that leads them to success. I am glad that this was just the first step in what will be a great career. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Account of My Experience at St. Mary's Labs 1 & 2

During the six labs we went to, I had the opportunity to interact and familiarize with students from Pre-K to 5th grade. Each lab also provided the opportunity to focus on the different developmental levels of each skill we were observing that day. 
The first day of lab, we focused on our own initial interaction with the children. The class as a whole came to realize that in order to communicate effectively, you had to get down on their level and put on your "teacher mask." Once we started to effectively interact, we noticed a wide range of developmental levels, even within the same grade/age groups. We also noticed that each group had different motivation levels towards certain activities.  We focused on observing fine motor skills. We observed several differences not only in age, but in gender when it came to fine motor behavior. The first day was a great experience for all the teacher candidates. 
The second lab was more student directed and was much more organized in terms of directed activities. We used the theme of animals while trying to have the students preform galloping, running, and hopping. we focused on different parts of each skill and practiced assessment of different parts of each skill. It was interesting to see the different strategies that each of the groups used to make the students preform the correct task. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Account of My Experience at St. Mary's Labs 3

Meet Doctor Octavious, advisary of Spiderman and pre-kindergarners at St. Mary's School. Doc Oc gave the students purpose to participate in our game that our group had arranged, and the theme of spiderman was fantastic for pretending to jump, leap, and slide from our imaginary buildings. After scaling the city, each spiderkid got a chance to take out one of Doc Oc's four claws with a tennis ball (web blast). I had a great time playing with this the kids. I plan to utilize this same theme in the future; perhaps Doctor Octavious will be one of many spider targets.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dodge Ball: to play or not to play

The topic was brought up in class whether or not dodge ball should be included in PE curriculum. I would like to state my formal opinion on the matter. I do not find traditional dodge ball to be appropriate for the PE classroom. However, this is not to say that the skills used in dodge ball are not important skills to posses. With this in mind, lets view the negatives of dodge ball.

The biggest problem that exists in dodge ball is the use of human targets. The idea that by striking your opponent with the ball, regardless of how soft the actual ball is, expresses an underlying theme of harm. Selective targeting of weaker, less agile, participants is inevitable.

Another problem with dodge ball is the fact that activity is not continuous. Like most other elimination sports, dodge ball's goal is to have one player, or a few players on a team, left in the game at the end. The problem is that due to selective targeting, those who would best benefit from physical activity are left sitting out with the majority of the class.

These are perhaps the two biggest challenges that dodge ball poses in the PE environment. My suggestion to any PE teacher is to modify the game to eliminate human targets as well as make the game non-elimination based. Try to come up with variations based on these two changes that still incorporate throwing, catching, dodging, and running. Do this and kid of all ages will enjoy themselves while learning basic skills to be active the rest of their life, taking the game with them outside the classroom setting.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Welcome To My Blog: Introduction

This is my first attempt at blogging, so don't be critical....

So I'm here at SUNY Cortland receiving an education. Many including myself never thought I would get this far. I knew coming out of high school that Physical Education was the career choice that I wanted to explore. I also made the decision that SUNY Cortland was the place to be if I truly wanted to be one of the best in my field. However, life never makes things easy and my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. Knowing how much of an asset I was to my parents and overall family functuality, I decided that it was nessesary to start school locally. I applied and was accepted to Buffalo State College with the intention of transfering to SUNY Cortland in two years. I look back on my experiences at Buffalo State with high regard. While in attendance, I competed on the swim team there. I made many bonds and developed strong relationships with those associated with the program. During my studies in Buffalo, I found out that I was to become a father. I embraced the situation and became a father on January 24 2008 to Terence Eoin Harroun. Although many people believed that Cortland was now out of the picture, how can one say "no" to their career in waiting. I transfered to cortland for the fall 2008 on paper. In real life, I had to transition to independance, to a new school, to a new life. Dealing with hardly any money and little free time can make the stress compound on you. My girlfirend Amanda supports me in more ways than anyone can imagine. During my first semester, I had many ups and downs. The assurance that I recieved came when one of my professors brought in a few kids into our dance class. The looks and smiles we recieved while sharing the excitement of dance reminded me why I'm here, and what I want to be.