Thursday, April 26, 2012

Goodbye For Now

Teaching at St. Mary's for the last day of the semester came faster than I ever imagined.  Working with the children in the after school program was one of the best teaching experiences I have had here at SUNY Cortland and cannot wait until I enter the professional field of physical education.  Working with children and having the satisfaction of being able to teach them new things that will hopefully stick with them for a lifetime, is the best sensation an educator can get.
Being that it was our last time at the after school program, we all started off with an enormous parachute that took up half the gym.  We got students of all grades and abilities to partake and have a truely fun time.  This was a great and different way to engage them, having everyone work together to get balls out of the parachute and other various tasks.  Once the parachute games came to an end, I was off to go work with the 5th and 6th grade students.  I feel that when any type of program such as this comes to an end, it is important to let the students to play a game that they have been wanting to play throughout our visits.  In this case, it was a simple basketball game where each team needed a certain amount of passes before they were allowed to shoot.  As simple as this was, every lab session we had at St. Mary's, the older students just wanted to play a full court game, but they never wanted to play with any variations.   So today was their day for fun; a day to do the only thing they've wanted to do since day one.  I'm glad I got to leave for the semester on such a great note and hope I can experience more programs like this in my near future.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hard Works Many Rewards

This week at St. Mary's was the first week we had been back since before Easter and the elementary schools Spring break.  The children seemed as excited as ever to see us again and I would say almost all of them wanted to play and get involved right away.  Even though two weeks had past since our last visit, they still could not wait for what new games we had in store for them this time.
One of the highlights of the games we taught today was the game we called, "Basket-Ball".  Our theme of the week was Easter, and because of the holiday just before, the children were all hyped and ready to go.  Sarah, my partner, and myself worked for two hours the night before taking cardboard boxes and turning them into festive Easter baskets.  We had paper to cover the boxes as well as flowers, paper cut outs, cotton tails, and Easter grass which, when put all together, really simulates what the students received from the Easter bunny.  The goal of the game was to kick the balls, which were the Easter eggs into the basket in order to help the Easter bunny collect all his missing eggs.  We had them kicking with both their feet, using the inside of their foot, the laces of their shoes and even the outside of their foot.  The look of excitement on each child's face estatic every time they got a ball into the box.  They all walked away happy with a feeling of accomplishment.
This day of teaching however, felt like it was different for me.  I worked more one on one with  a few of the kids and got to know some of them much better.  I helped a little kindergarten boy with his dribbling skills and was able to boost his confidence shooting when he said he couldn't reach the net.  I kept telling him that he'd be able to get it if he really focuses and practices, and sure enough, after fifteen or so shots, he sank a shot and jumped with joy; then another, and another.  He got three in a row and wanted to keep going. As my visits to St. Mary's are coming to an end with one more visit, I hope that I can have more children feel that sense of satisfaction as well as for myself.  Working with children anywhere, and having any child feel better about him or her self is on of the ultimate goals of a physical educator, and I want to continue doing that no matter where I end up. No matter where I am, I will put in the same hard work and enthusiasm to achieve that goal.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gym Class Heroes!

Being a physical educator is more than just teaching students how to throw a ball, or shoot a basket.  It is about tapping into their mind and letting their creativity flow.  Being put in a position where you have a large amount of time to create our own rendition of a song using our motor development book really allowed for us to, one, step outside our comfort zone, and two, let us contribute our own creative thoughts into the choreography and lyrics.  While creating our video, I really learned a lot about infant reflexes and am much more knowledgeable as to how an infant matures.  By   giving us the task of making a music video, it made us think in ways we don't usually think and I feel as though it was much easier to retain the information in the chapter.  When you have to think about how to squeeze the information from the chapter into the song smoothly, you really spend a large amount of time re-reading so you can make it all flow; by doing so, how can you not pick up the information in the chapter and retain it?  This was definitely a new experience for me and really allowed me to learn quickly.

After the creation of our video, we were then told that we would be performing live at Poolside in Park Center.  This put us in another uncomfortable circumstance where we had to step outside our comfort zone.  By doing so, I feel as though you really grow as a person and feel like you can handle or adapt to anything; In this field of education, that is key.  Anyway, with the knowledge I now have about teaching, there is not a doubt in my mind that I may want to look into an assignment like this for my future students.  In the educational world, you want everyone to have great and worthwhile experiences, and it is up to us to pass on those great experiences.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Video games or Fitness?

Would you rather spend a large chunk of your day playing X-Box or PS2, or would you rather go hop on a bike or step-up machine?  My answer, why not do both?  Today, after experiencing what SUNY Cortland's Exergame lab has to offer, I can say without a second thought, that playing video games, and getting a good amount of cardio at the same time is indeed possible.  In lab, I was able to use technology that many people are not aware of.  I played a racing game for the PlayStation 2 and had to fuel my car by riding a bike.  If i were to ever stop riding, or slow down, so would the car regardless of what buttons I push.
While doing this, it is set up like a normal bike in the gym; you can set your workout to make it easier or harder depending on what you want to do.  If this kind of technology is introduced to children at a young age when they are highly impressionable, it will grow and become more popular than ever.  This would aid in lowering the childhood obesity rate we have in the United States and potentially worldwide.  We just need to make this technology known and get more people involved so we can launch phys-ed programs that are both highly effective as well as interactive to attract the maximum amount of people.

In addition to the technology I was introduced to, I was also shown toys geared for Pre-K children that can also be highly interactive and allow a change in the typical Phys-ed setting.  One game piece that stood out to me in particular was the Hyper Dash Game  This device allows for an almost endless amount of game variations.  A game that could be utilized for younger children would involve the handheld device, multiple color bowls with varying numbers, and cones.  You would scatter some of the bowls around the gym (relatively far apart) and then cover them with cones.  when the Hyper Dash device tells them which ones they need to find and "scan", they will have to run and flip over the cones quickly get to best time.  If you let them go multiple times, it will help with their memory while they try to remember which colors are under which cones.  If you constantly change the place of the colors in one session, they will not develop that memory and lose part of what is gained from the game.  Ultimately, we need to engage younger children more and broaden the games we play with them so that they can not only grow physically, but mentally as well; even if they are unaware of what we are doing at the time.  Our goal as an educator, is to educate our students in all ways we can.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


As a Physical educator, you need to be prepared for the worst and think on your toes.  Today at St. Mary's, my group and I were put into a situation where we had absolutely nothing to go off of or work with.  We had planned to work with the older group of children the week prior and based all our activities around that.  But, when we arrived at the school we soon learned that we really had the Pre-K students which completely through us off.  Now, given this situation, we had about 20 or so minutes to brainstorm games to play while we were at the playground mingling with them. When inside, we decided to create variations of freeze tag.  As simple of a game this is, they were all hyper and only wanted to run.  We switched up the rules and modified it a few times up until we were all hopping like a frog playing freeze tag.  We were able to hit a lot of the fundamental motor movements and they all really enjoyed how we incorporated the movements in a fun way that allowed them to use up all their energy.  I felt like I finally experienced what it is like in a real teaching environment.  You always need to have a back up plan, or a very quick acting mind.  It is definitely a job with endless surprises and great rewards.

Evaluations of Overhand Throw and Catch

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Ha`awina of the Day

Today was in all areas, a success.  This week we had a Hawaiian theme to work with for the students and not only was it fun for us, the teachers, but for the students as well.  Ha`awina, means lesson, and a big part of today I feel was realizing how much changing themes week by week really grab the interest of the children.  I worked with the Pre-K children today, and I found that using this theme really got some of the children talkative interested.  I read them a book that I actually picked up while in Hawaii that used the Hawaii state fish, Humuhumunukunukuapuaa', or Humu, to tell a adventurous tale about a fish that wished away his colors.  The bright pictures of the sea life really caught their eyes and got them interested which really helped when we got to our game in the gym.  Although there were only three students from the Pre-K that were at the gym portion, they were very engaged and loved how we incorporated our obstacle course into an adventure to save the exotic animals.  I believe if there were more students we would of had a much better and clear result, but from what I have experienced today, it is very important to vary your theme and keep children interested and active in each of the different topics you choose.  Keep them guessing and always surprise them with new ideas and games!
Assessments and Responses

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Should PE be Taught?

Coming into the great debate, there was no doubt that that my group was going to make a strong impression on the board of educators.  The great debate was based on three different types of focuses in the classroom.  These focuses were teaching, lifelong sports, skill fundamentals, and stick sports.  After hearing all the great arguments and points each group presented, it was clear in my mind, how physical education should be taught.  I was supporting the lifelong sports group; I believe it is important to get involved with a sport or activity you can carry out through your older years, something that can help you maintain that healthy lifestyle and ultimately allow you to live longer and happier.  To get to that point however, you do need a small bit of skill fundamentals.  However, that is not and should not be the primary focus for students throughout their years in high school and then some.  Teaching the skill fundamentals can only allow a student to grow so far in the physical education world, and I feel they may get bored with repeating the same basic movements over and over.  You should start off students with these skills and teach them through elementary school and maybe into middle school.  After a certain point in their physical development, they know how to hop, skip, jump, shuffle, etc. and that no longer becomes a primary focus.  I feel at that point is when they may find an interest in a lifelong sport like skiing, running, swimming, or tennis.  Again, in all of these lifelong sports, there are fundamentals that are taught within them in order to carry out the sport.  Coordination, and basic locomotor movements are essential in performing almost any activity, it is just a matter of how to chop up when a physical educator should introduce these aspects in a school setting.  

As a future physical educator myself, I plan on using the fundamentals in the lower grades of schools and introducing how to go about these basic skill fundamentals, but I at the same time, will introduce some lifelong and team sports that incorporate these skills to reinforce the movements and muscle memory.  Once the students enter a middle school setting, I would then stop with having a primary focus on these fundamentals and really get into how to stay fit and apply those skills throughout a lifetime.  Without the use of both skill fundamentals, and lifelong sports, I feel as though you can not operate a beneficial and consistently exciting environment for your students to learn and grow, which is essential in order for them to retain what they learn.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hall Of Modification

There are so many traditional games that are seen to be on the infamous "Wall of Shame".  It is clear as to how some of those games do not teach what parents want to be seen taught in their physical education classes.  As a future physical educator I considerate it my job to take these games that most children love so much and transform them.  I feel as though you never want to strip students of the games they love in phys-ed class, but rather modify them in such a way where they still have a maximal amount of fun as well as get something a little more out of the game play.  There are so many different modifications for all these games in circulation, and can easily be found if you cannot think of a modification yourself.   The possibilities for transforming a traditional game to a new, creative, and exciting game are endless; and when I am one day controlling a physical education program, I plan on creating some unique and personalized games myself.  

Inspire Others to be Healthy!

So many people today do not have the motivation or commitment to living a healthier lifestyle.  Thanks to, hopefully more and more people get that motivation to change some bad habits and pick up new, healthier ones.  I already keep a relatively good diet with plenty of exercise and physical activity, so my goal is to improve or at the very least maintain my level of activity and performance so I can continue living the life I want. Hopefully this video, and other videos similar, will give people that extra push to get out, get active, and make a positive impact on their life.  Too few people today are out of shape, unhealthy, and have low self esteem, and my goal as a physical educator is to minimize that number of people best I can. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Does Practice Make Perfect?

Last weeks practice lab really aided in my knowledge of how to run a classroom/gymnasium.  You must be able to control all the students to give direction and make the games sound interesting and fun.  If you hold their attention, they will enjoy and comprehend the game itself, and the goals at hand.  I also found that coming up with a dance routine with music in 20 minutes is much harder than anticipated...
Through this exercise I feel as though it helped me to think on my toes with the pressure on.  When you only have  a select amount of time to figure out a game in the gym, or a lesson in the classroom, or in this case, a dance in class, it can be nerve wrecking and frustrating but you need to learn how to deal with that kind of immediate stress.  This exercise definitely allowed me to understand the importance of being ready for anything, especially in an unforeseeable classroom setting.

A week after the rehearsal of games and brainstorming, our skills were put to the test in St. Mary's after school program.  This was the first lab that we had actually planned a series of games and had a good amount of structure.  As prepared as we were, and as confident as we were after practicing how we would go about explaining, demonstrating and performing our games, the group of children we had shot our ideas down.  All these 5th and 6th grade students wanted to do was play basketball.  We eventually came to a small consensus which still did not work out overly well.  We were able to get a large number of students to play the game, Great Wall, but after about five or so minutes of that, they became bored and longed for something better.  Due to the stubbornness of the students to try new games, we ended up playing basketball.  We played for a while and then slowly modified the game to make it a little different, until we were able to transition into playing team handball which was a relatively positive turnout.  Ultimately, no matter how many times you may practice what you want to do, or run through it in your head, you need to have some sort of back up plan and be able to think on your toes in order to make a program or lesson flow smoothly.  Practice helps, but experience is really what makes a lesson perfect.
Lab 2 and Assessment

Monday, January 30, 2012

Virtus and Abuse

After completing the Virtus training with Sister Harriet Hamilton, I left with more knowledge of sexual abuse than I thought possible in a school setting.  I've realized that as a teacher, and state mandated reporter, it is possible to make a difference if you suspect suspicious behavior.  By noting that maybe an adult is getting a little close or a little to friendly around a child, and reporting this activity to your superiors, you could prevent an act of sexual abuse and a save a child or children from something that will traumatize them for life.  If unsettling behavior is not reported, that potential perpetrator will remain to have access to children and have the opportunity to cause harm.  I am glad I was able to partake in this workshop and learn things that will definitely benefit my professional career and knowledge of the horrors of the real world.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lab 1 Reflection

Today, at St. Mary's, I felt everything ran much smoother and was a little bit more comfortable and relaxing.  I was shocked to find that many of the children that were there the previous week quickly recalled who i was and wanted to jump straight into playing games and having fun.  Due to the small number of children in the group I was working with, we resorted to playing a small game of soccer which really got the children moving.  I feel as though playing simple, traditional games as such, are good to bring back into play rather than some new games where the children may be confused.  I also believe that playing something most everyone was familiar with was beneficial so that next time, when more children are around, everyone can learn a new game/games at the same time together.

lab 1

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Learn through the physical"

When referring to learning through the physical, I believe that students can learn a lot.  Learning through the physical is more or less learning through play and experience.  Anyone can talk about what to do during a sports game but you can learn so much more actually exploring that sports game yourself.  Through learning through the physical, learning can occur through the three domains, psychomotor, affective, and cognitive. This can quickly be summed up into how you train your sensory coordination skills,  your social skills while interacting with others, and becoming all around more knowledgeable about the sport, topic or activity you are working on and partaking in.   Through learning through the physical, one of the most important thing someone can take from it would be from the affective domain.  By participating in physical activity and play, your behavior towards other while on the field, court, stadium, etc, will be improved as you learn how to handle situations and work together with the people around you.  Learning through the physical is one of the best ways to learn, for it expands your knowledge to the fullest extent and allows for growth in all three domains.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 1

Being unsure of what our lab experience would be like, I found my first day working with the kids and getting a feel for the environment was a success.  I got a good feeling when entering, seeing all the children running around with smiles on their face, and when i stepped into the gym i instantly felt welcomed.  The most memorable part of my day was probably in the Pre-K room where i found myself on the ground playing with trucks and animals with a child named Lucas.  While playing I was able to ask him how many animals or people he would put in the bus, allowing him to use some basic cognitive skill while having a good time.  I'm looking forward to our actual first day at the school when we meet the primary students we will be working with and getting to know.

Creating a Blog

I have never created a blog before, but am excited to actually get to reflect about my days working with the elementary school children.  It is definitely a good way to go through your time spent at St. Mary's and get to look at all the positives and even the negatives of that time.  Over break I, every Sunday, would watch Toddlers and Preschoolers for an hour and a half.  Knowing that we are going to be working with children as young as preschool, that time will without a doubt help me to work with those younger children.