Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Motor Development Lab Reflection

Throughout my experiences in lab, I have definitely learned a lot about what it means to be a good physical education teacher. From the first lab to this final lab, I feel that I have already grown so much as a teacher, and this is only the first step in a long road to becoming certified. This opportunity has only enhanced my drive to become a physical education teacher and I am so excited to continue along this path. Going into the first lab I will admit, I was very nervous to speak, and put on my teacher hat, but it was a great learning experience. I realized that it is important to really speak loud and make sure that the students are paying attention, but more important than that, as a teacher, you really need to learn how to engage the students and show them that what you are going to teach them is fun and not just work. Physical education is about learning how to perform physical skills to play. Yes, Play. P.E. should not be work, and it is important as a teacher of physical education to learn that and realize that. Every activity must appeal to every student or else it will fail. As a teacher, if you allow yourself to get down on the level of the age group your teaching, and act silly they respond to you and that is best you can do. The idea of being able to shape and mold my students into physically active, and happy kids makes me so excited to be a teacher and I cannot wait for this process to continue so I can absorb as much as I can about physical education and how it is taught.

St. Mary's Labs...

Lab 5: During this lab, my group...Jumping Jack and the Thriving Five...was with the PRE K level. We started out by playing legos and helping them make different types of ships or planes with the legos. I love how this age group has such amazing imaginations. The fact that I get to go along with it makes it even better as well. After they had their snack, our group split up so half of us read story books, and the other half went into the gym to develop the game we were going to play with the kids when they came into the gym. We decided to set up stations in order to get the idea of the environment across. We had them crawl through the tunnel, jump in hoops, dribble a ball, etc. The stations allowed us to work on and observe various locomotor skills with the children instead of concentrating on just one. This activity worked out well because our group could split up between stations and work individually with the children at their station. I do find the PRE K level difficult to work with in some aspects though because it is hard to figure out how to walk the fine line between age appropriate, and too advanced for the children. I think my group did a good job finding the perfect balance and incorporating fun activities for the children to partipate in.

Lab 6: Our final Lab at St. Mary's was based on an Easter theme. My group was assigned to the cafeteria to play our activity so we decided to incorporate fine motor skills in order to give the children a break but still have fun. We did a spin off of pin the tail on the donkey and we made it into put your eggs in the basket. Each child colored their own egg, and once they were finished we but a blindfold on them and spun them around. Then we had them walk with bumpers up of course towards the poster with a big bucket on it. They then placed their egg on the bucket. This activity worked out great because the children were constantly going back for more eggs to color and then would come up and get some physical activity right after. After doing this for about a half hour we moved on to our final activity which was an egg on a spoon relay. We split up the group into 3 lines and had them walk with a plastic egg on a spoon down to a basket at the other end of the cafeteria, once they made it to the end of the cafeteria, they placed their egg in the basket and bunny hopped back to their line passing off the spoon. After they completed this section, we had they walk backwards to the basket, and then we had them hold two eggs. I think this activity was a great way to incorporate Easter into our games and also the kids really enjoyed it. Every kid gets excited about holidays, so why not try to take advantage of having the ability to use it as a theme?

St. Mary's Labs Continued

Lab #4: In lab 4, the theme was "favorite foods" and the locomotor skills that we were asked to observe, and base our games off of were overhand throwing and catching. In order to display these skills we decided to use a game called "The Healthy Eaters Police" In this game we had balls strewn about the gym and hula-hoops designated for each group of 4 or 5 children. One at a time, each child would find a ball and step on a poly-spot that had a picture of an unhealthy food. They would have to throw a ball through a hula-hoop hanging on the basketball rim, and once they successfully threw the ball through the hoop, the child could bring the unhealthy food and "arrest it" by placing it in their hula-hoop or "healthy eater police squad car." The activity definitely allowed for the skills to be observed so it worked out well. The only problem with it was that the kids were more interested in looking at the unhealthy food, and they didn't quite grasp the fact that they were "arresting" it. The game also lacked the aspect of catching, and in order to improve that, we decided to make two students go out as a team at once and one would retrieve a ball and throw it to their partner who would catch it and throw it through the hoop. It was a simple solution, and it worked well. Overall, I think lab #4 went well. We worked well as a group and had visual aids, and we had fun with the activity.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

St. Mary's Labs

So far I have been to St. Mary's three times to participate in lab. My group..."Jumping Jack and the Thriving Five" have been going through a lot of learning experiences when it comes to teaching, and especially teaching elementary level children. In the past three weeks I have learned enough about physical education to last a lifetime, and I'm so excited to be able to continue learning.

Lab #1: In Lab 1 my group was placed with the pre-k level students and we were assigned to play with them in their classrooms. There was a lot of concentration placed on developing their fine motor skills such as coloring and cutting paper. We were also asked to try to get the children to conversate with us as much as possible in order to develop their speaking skills. It was an interesting experience to just be thrown into the situation with working with the children, but I think it was a good way to learn. I quickly sat down with some children at the table and we colored pictures of dinosaurs. They all impressed me with their ability to recite colors, shapes, as well as numbers easily. After playing with the Pre-K level children, we moved into the gym and it was extremely hectic. Everyone was pretty much all over the place, and I feel that lab 1 was just trying to get us acclamated to the situations that we would be involved in throughout the semester.

Lab #2: Prior to lab 2 we met in one of the gyms to practice the activities that we would be teaching the children in lab and everything seemed to run smoothely when we ran through it with our classmates. The theme for lab 2 was animals and our game was called barnyard craze. It involved a huge parachute along with cards with baby animals on them as well as buckets and 5 stations with the mother animals. Feeling confident going into lab, I tried to lead the children the activity. I explained that the baby animals needed to get back to their mothers before the rainstorm came to ruin the barn. The problem with running our activity came when a huge chunk of our group all attempted to add and explain different parts of the game which didn't allow for one clear leader to be shown which can tend to be confusing for children. It was also very difficult because the parachute made the kids go nuts. They were very distracted by the fact that they had the parachute to play with, and when we told them to grab onto it all hell broke loose, for lack of a better term. It took us about five minutes, but what felt like an hour to get them settled enough to begin the game. In the game there was one farmer designated to either gallop, hop, or run around the parachute and when we stopped the music, the "farmer" picked a spot and the two students on either side would go under the parachute, take a baby animal card and place it with the proper mother animal. The problem with this lab was that not all of the students were participating at once, and it caused a lot of standing around and boredom. Also children would complain that they didn't get a chance, and that they refused to participate in the next activity because they were upset that they didnt get a chance. All in all, I feel that Lab 2 was definitely a learning experience that I will never forget, and I think the mistakes we made as a group, and the ones that I made personally will help me throughout my career as a physical educator for years to come.

Lab #3: The theme for Lab 3 was "Superheros" and my group was assigned to teach the activity called "Endless Bucket". As a group we met for a long time on Sunday in order to truly be prepared for what we had to come for the next day. We thought long and hard about what tasks we wanted the kids to complete, and tried for a long time to think of tasks that pertain to superheroes. We decided that it would be a good idea for us to turn "Endless Bucket" into a Superhero Training Camp because Spiderman, Batman, and Superman were on vacation. We also spent a lot of time on creating props for the activity including: creating and laminating task cards with color construction paper, making capes for ourselves as well as wearing superman and spiderman logos on our shirts. The fact that we dressed up like superheros really allowed the children's imaginations to run wild and they truly felt that we were superheroes there to train them. All of the tasks pertained to certain activities that superheroes would do including flying like superman, crawling through the bat cave, throwing balls at common villains, sliding around the edge of a building (using mats standing up) and other activities as well. The kids responded so well to everything that we explained to them and it made the day so much fun. The feeling of being completely prepared and really having the children grasp the task and participate with all of their hearts was the most rewarding feeling in the world. My group truly came together to make everything perfect and I am so proud of all of us. At the end of the lab Ashley and I led the children in the "Cha-Cha Slide" in a huge circle and it was a lot of fun. Even the other college students got into it and it was a great ending to the day. Lab 3 really made me realize why I am a physical education major, and why I want to be a part of my students life. The responsiveness of the children was the most rewarding experience I have ever had, and I hope to continue to feel this way for my entire career.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dodgeball: PE Appropriate?

Throughout the years, dodgeball has become a staple in physical education curriculums throughout the United States. Dodgeball was never offered as a part of the curriculum in my high school, but I can honestly say that atleast ten students asked to play it everytime we switched sports. From asking around, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of students have had dodgeball offered in their physical education classes in high school. There are two clear sides to the argument. Dodgeball in? Or dodgeball out? Dodgeball is a classic game that almost everyone knows how to play atleast to some extent. The game itself has a lot of benefits in the psychomotor domain such as throwing, catching, and agility. In the affective domain it allows the students to learn team cooperation and also focuses on spatial awareness. Cognitively, dodgeball allows students to figure out strategy in order to win the game as well as learn other strategies from other students. Dodgeball is a great example of a physical activity that touches on all aspects of motor development and physical well being. But what happens to the students that aren't atleast somewhat skilled in these areas? These students don't want to participate, and if they do participate, they run the risk of being bullied on, or even receiving injuries. Once a student is struck with the ball, they are out. How does this help the students that really need the help developing their skills if they are sitting out on the sideline within the first minute of the game every time it is played? For the students that truly need the help, dodgeball is just not fun. I personally feel that dodgeball is inappropriate for physical education curriculums but I think that it is appropriate for students who want to participate in an afterschool program, or a tournament at night. The game could be turned into a fundraiser for the school and I can guaruntee that students will jump at the idea of playing dodgeball if they have never had the chance to do so in the past. Overall, I feel as if dodgeball is an entertaining game, but it is definitely inappropriate for physical education classes. If students are truly interested in partipating in dodgeball, there are plenty of leagues outside of schools, or it can be worked out to have a program that is not done within the physical education periods.

Dodgeball Out

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

PE not Gym

All through high school I was constantly told that it's not gym. It's physical education. I figured what could be a better name for my blog. As my interest in physical education got stronger and stronger, I slowly began calling "gym" class physical education. I catch myself constantly correcting people in their mistake and I explain to them quite simply "the gym is where it is taught. Not what is taught."