Tuesday, March 31, 2009

St. Mary's School Lab 5

I have found throughout the labs, that most of the games, with modifications, have been appropriate for the students at St. Mary’s. The different things that I have found is that you need to keep as many people active as possible. When the students are not active in the game they become bored with it and start fooling around and wanting the do something different. I feel that for the most part the games have worked pretty well. If they are not working out, the groups need to be able to make modifications on the fly. They need to be able to change it up so you have a lot of kids active, interested and involved. The games need to be modified so the students are able to do the activity, but at the same time you need to make sure they are having fun and are engaged in the game as well.

When assessing different motor skills of children, you may have to set some limitations on the activities or games that you are giving them. You want to make sure that the students are trying to do the skills properly. In that case, you do not want to rush them through the activity or skill they are trying to achieve. So if you are trying to get them to dribble a basketball properly, you may limit the class to a walking pace only and no faster than that. You want to slow the activity down and make sure everyone is properly doing the skills before you speed it up. Another limitation you may set on the students is the type of ball they use for their activities. You want to make sure the balls you are using are appropriate for their size and skill level. If the kids are working on an overhand throw, you do not want to give them a kickball. You want to give them something light that is easy for them to handle. You may give them a tennis ball or a wiffle ball. You want to make sure that the equipment is appropriate and something the students are able to easily handle.

Monday, March 23, 2009

St. Mary's School Lab 4

Reflecting on my experience so far at St Mary’s, there have been some difficulties or challenges I have faced. One challenge that I faced today was trying to get the kids attention with only my voice. One of the problems is that the gym is so big and with everyone running around and yelling it is difficult to yell above everybody to get the kids attention. Another problem that I feel like I have faced is that the kids are so rowdy after school and they just want to run around and do what they want instead of playing the games you have to offer. The last difficulty that I feel that we have faced is that the kids relize that we are not actual teachers and I feel like some of the older ones know that they do not have to listen to us and do not have to do the activities that we present to them. 

There are a few ways that some of these problems could be resolved. I think one way to be able to get the kids attention is to use something loud that they can all hear to get their attention to stop their activity and listen. You could use something such as a whistle for their attention. Once you have their attention with the whistle, then you can use your voice for further instruction, but you must make sure to project your voice so every student in the room is able to hear you. Next difficulty that we face is the energy in the kids and getting them to settle down and listen. I think a good way to get their attention is to have an activity right away. Keep them sitting as little as possible and give short quick directions to get them moving and get them to release their energy. The last issue that I have faced is getting kids to do something that they don’t want to do because they feel they don’t have to. The only thing you can do is encourage them as much as possible. Really sell the activity that you are presenting and try and negotiate with them. Tell them to try one round and then if they don’t have fun they don’t have to play. But it’s your job to do whatever you can to get the kids moving and engaged in the activity that is going on. They may think that they do not want to do it, but once they start playing, they realize how much fun they are having and forget that they didn’t want to play. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

St. Mary's School Lab 3

In todays teaching lesson, we used a superhero theme. The games which we played all had to do with acting like superheros. During the lab today, I was able to carefully observe Rowan and Anthony. They are both age six and in kindergarten. I found that throughout the sills we observed today, leaping, horizontal jumping and sliding, at least one of them did not have every skill mastered. When I observed their leap, both of them had the basic concept. Rowan was able to leap properly, fully using her arms and legs and was able to take off on one foot and land on the other. When observing Anthony, he was able to complete all of the skill, except he was turning the leap into a run. His feet were only off the ground for a split second. He was not dividing a leap from a run. For the horizontal jump, Anthony had no problem doing it. He used his arms and legs, he took off and landed on both feet at the same time and he had the correct arm motion. When Rowan was working on her horizontal jump, she was able to complete the skill, but she was not using her arms to the fullest extent. She barely even moved them. She should have been extending them fully upward and reaching above her head. Lastly with the slide, they both were able to do it very well. Both Anthony and Rowan had the proper technique with their feet and they were able to slide to the left and to the right. The only thing that I found is that when Rowan was sliding, she was sideways, but also facing and looking in the direction that she was moving instead of looking straight ahead and being turned fully sideways. 

Throughout the past few weeks teaching, I have observed teaching strategies that work and do not work. One teaching strategy that I found very effective was demonstrating an activity or skill before allowing the kids to participate in them. I used this when we were playing individually with the kids. I was watching Autumn leap during an activity that we were doing and she had trouble doing it. So I went over to her and demonstrated to her how to do it and how to use her arms and legs to keep her off the ground longer because she was just running when she was doing it on her own. Once I demonstrated this to her, she was able to do it and she was actually leaping instead of just running. I also tested something else out today. When I was talking to the kids, I did not ask if they wanted to play or not. Instead I told them exactly what we were doing and tried to be as enthusiastic as I could be about game or activity. I found that a lot more kids wanted to participate in the games or activities that I was setting up. There were still a few kids that did not want to participate, but I felt like there were a lot more kids that were actually interested in the activity that I put together than when I asked who wanted to play a game or if they thought a certain game was fun.

I have also found throughout the week, ways which keep the kids attention and ways in which the kids do not pay attention and are not attentive. One thing that I have noticed is that you have to speak very loud and assertively in order to get the kids attention. Not from personal experience because I am able to project my voice pretty well, but watching others who speak a little softer, I feel like since the kids cannot hear them they are uninterested and start talking amongst each other or doing something else like rolling around on the floor. Through observing the past three classes, I have found that you need to be loud and assertive to keep the kids attention. I’ve also found that having a signal for attention really helps. I like the idea of having the kids clap if they can hear your or some way for them to do or say something in order to get their attention. I think that works really well and gets them all in a group and ready to listen to the teacher together. Lastly I have also found that the more people you have to help and keep the kids on task, the easier it is. If you are dividing the kids into groups if there is a teacher in each group it really helps to keep them focused and on task. It also helps the kids if they have questions about the activity or what they are supposed to be doing.