Wednesday, February 25, 2009

St. Mary's School Lab 2

During today's lab, there were many observations, which I saw during the activities that were being performed. I found that for each of the students, running was the easiest skill for them to perform. Many of the kids had proper mechanics for the most part and were able to run properly. Later on in the lab when I was working with the Pre-K students I found that some of them were not able to do this as well. They were a little more awkward. Some of the were scuffing along, while others were running with straighter legs and not bending their knees as much as they should. Also, some of them were not using their arms to help propel them selves forward. I found this especially in Theresa. At two years old, I though she did really well trying to keep up with some of the other students that were a little bit older than her. The next skill where I saw a few variations was the gallop. I found that the older kids seemed to do this pretty well. The younger 1st and 2nd graders had a more difficult time with it. I found some of them switching feet and many of them were not getting their feet off the ground. They were scuffing along. I also found that some of the kids, who did know how to properly gallop, were only using one foot in front. It seemed to be the foot that they were more comfortable with that foot in front. If they switched their feet I am not sure if they were able to do it or not. The last skill that I observed was the hop. This was interesting. There were some kids who did this very well and some kids who could barely perform it. The one thing I did observe is that I did not see any kids who really tried to use their arms to propel them selves forward. They were all relying on their legs to do the work. Because they were relying on their legs many of them did not get very far off the ground and many of them also did not get a lot of distance. With the younger kids, I also observed that it was very difficult for them to balance on one foot and hop. Some of them stopped frequently and switched to the other foot, while others would take off on one foot and land on two feet. Throughout the lab, I saw a wide variety of the skills. I saw some of the skills performed really well and some of them were not performed as well as others and need some work. 

It was very difficult to get the kids attention today. It was the Monday back from vacation and they all seemed to have a lot of energy built up in them and they were ready to let it all loose. Our group led the Zany Zoo game. We decided to place a person at each of the cones and with each of the groups in order to help the kids out. Then we had one speaker in the middle to give directions to the game. First we randomly split the entire group into the four separate groups and then sent them to their corner with their group leader. I found this extremely effective because while I was giving directions, the kids were divided up, not necessarily with their friends and they were with a group leader, so it was much easier to keep them all quiet. We also had the group leaders holding the cards and reading to the kids what skill and animal they needed to act our. This was great because the leaders were able to keep all their kids under control and also, the cards were not being passed around and distracting the kids. I think that this had a very positive effect on the kids because they were able to stay focused in order to have fun and they could get to know their group leader. It made for a very positive environment because we were not just sending the kids off on their own to play the game, we were all involved, having fun with the kids and making sure that everything was running smoothly at the same time.

In the Barnyard Chase game, I felt that the group had a very difficult time getting the kids under control. Before they even described the game they let the kids sit around the parachute. All the kids wanted to do was touch the parachute and shake it. This made it very difficult to gain control and gain the attention of the students. I think they would have been more successful if they had explained the game first, then told the students that the parachute was a sizzling hot pancake on the stove and to stay five steps back and not to touch the pancake until it cools down (when the instructor says).

I think that it is more effective if you can divide your students and explain the game before you give them any types of props and equipment to touch. As soon as they see and object, all they want to do with play with it at that age. Once they have the object in hand and start playing, it is very difficult to get their attention back and get them focused again. 

overall, the lab went really well and was a lot of fun. Our group had the opportunity to work with the Pre-K students. It was a lot of fun and much different than working the some of the older kids. The Pre-K students need things to be a little more simplified for them. We put together an obstacle course for them to go through and they really seemed to like that. Then we proceeded to play a game of Fish and Frog Tag and lastly played a game of Follow the Leader. Follow the Leader seemed to be a great game. The all wanted to participate and it was a way for us to incorporate in the skills of the day that we were assessing. Overall, the lab went really well and I learned a lot on where different students are with their skill and age level.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

St. Mary's School Lab 1

During lab at St. Mary’s School in Cortland, I had the opportunity to work with the third and fourth graders. I found that they were very enthusiastic and outspoken about their thoughts and ideas. To begin with, I had the fortune to work with and observe them in the cafeteria while they ate their snack and played games. I found that this was a nice way to meet and learn about each of their different personalities. During their snack, many of them were very outspoken about their state of mind about school and physical education. I found that in the cafeteria that they were all fairly calm, much more apt to listen to you and to each other rather than when they were in they gym. Once we entered the gym, it seemed as though all of their energy was being released. It took a loud voice and much effort to round them all up in order to begin an activity or game. I had a game of Blob Tag in mind for all of them. Everyone knew how to play and it seemed as though almost all of them wanted to play. After that game, there was not much more planned. We decided to ask the kids what they would like to play. From this we got a variety of answers. I found that the boys wanted to play more sport related games such as soccer and basketball, whereas the girls wanted to play games like “What Time is it Mr. Fox?” and “Red Rover”. From this, we decided to divide the group into two different games in order to make the most amount of kids happy as possible. I thought this was a good idea because it gave the kids a choice, it motivated them to play and you were not forcing anyone to play a game they really did not want to. Although the kids had a short attention span and got bored of a game quick, I found this was a good way to keep their attention by playing something they liked. After about ten minutes these games fell apart and our group definitely found out that we needed to come to class prepared with a number of games in order to keep the kids interested and occupied for any length of time. I found that at this age group, most of the kids had similar motor behavior and skills as the others in their own age group. Socially, they seemed a little shy at first when I was talking to them, but they soon warmed up and instead of me asking all of the questions, they began to interact with me and ask me some questions. Among each other, for the most part, I found that they boys were more social with each other and the girls were more social with each other. They preferred to play and interact with their own gender. I also found that the students had their own friends and they seemed to stay and play with those same friends throughout the entire time. They did not mix up and play with all different kids.  

While watching the students at St. Mary’s, I found that many of them had much better skills than I thought they would. At one point we decided to divide our group into two different activities. At this time, one of the groups went and played “Knock Out” with the basketballs. During this, I though that the kids would have to move up in order to throw the ball. I did not think they would have the strength to get the ball to the basket from the free throw line. To my surprise, every single one of them was able to. They either hit the rim of the basket or the backboard. On the other hand, I found that during this activity, many of them were not throwing the ball properly and had to use all of their might to just get the ball there. When they moved closer though, after they missed their shot, every kid was able to make a basket at some point. I was very impressed with their skill during this. During another activity, the girls had a stick out with a string and a ball attached to it. They would spin it around and you had to jump over it. I was impressed with this as well. They were all able to jump over the moving rope. Some of the kids were spinning the rope faster than others, but no matter how fast it was going, they all were able to jump over it at least once. Within the third and fourth grade group, I found that the fine motor activities and abilities between the students were very similar and they were all around the same skill level. I did notice a huge difference once the Pre-K kids entered the gym. I was watching some of them play catch, and there was a big difference there, some of them were able to throw and catch the ball, while others were barely able to even catch the ball. Once they came in I saw a big difference in the levels. Other than that, I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed working with the students. I am looking forward to working with the different age levels and seeing how their development differs from each age. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Should Dodgeball Be Allowed in Physical Education Classes?

Many people argue that dodgeball should not be a part or even associated with physical education classes. Some believe that it is too rough and that the kids should not be used as targets. I disagree with this. I believe that there are other ways which can make dodgeball beneficial and fun for every student involved. Before you begin with the game of dodgeball, it is important that, as a teacher, you show and teach in progressions, the proper techniques of throwing. When these techniques are taught and the students know how to properly throw, then a game of dodgeball can be added to help enforce the proper technique to the students. This game can help them with hand eye coordination by trying to catch the ball in order to get the player on the opposite team out. It also works on hitting a moving target. The players on the opposite team are not always standing still, so throwing at a target could be a challenge for some students. 
Although dodgeball is a fun game, it can be very unsafe for students to play unless certain rules and precautions are implemented before the students are able to play. After all, it is your job as a physical eduction teacher to make sure that every single student is not only having fun, but is in a safe environment as well. There are many ways in which you as a teacher can make the game of dodgeball both fun and safe for your students. The first way is by using a ball that is soft and that cannot hurt anyone. These balls usually consist of soft foam and are a little smaller than a soccer ball. Another safety precaution that can be made is that the students may not hit anyone above the chest line. Everything must below the chest. A third way to both work on skill and to even out the playing field among the students, is to make every student throw with their non-dominant hand. Lastly, you can draw a line on each side of the as a safety zone, if the student is in that zone, they are not allowed to pick up and throw the ball at anyone and if they are hit in that zone, they are not out. A time limit should be set on how long students are allowed to stay in that zone, or you will get students who will just stand in there the whole game. 
Dodgeball is a fun classic game that dates back 1832 where it was played in Africa. It is a game that we can continue to play and teach children as long as it is in a controlled manner. It is a way to get everyone in the class to participate and get their heart rates up. Although many people do not agree with letting students play in physical education classes, I believe that as long as you, as a teacher, do your job and make it safe and fun for every student than it is a great way to get your students moving and active.