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.