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. 

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