Tuesday, April 21, 2009

LAB 6- 4/12/2009

LAB 6 ON 4/12/2009
While working with the Saint Mary’s students I realized the importance of appealing to children’s imagination when trying to run a successful activity. Also, I have learned that it is equally as important to provide the children with an activity which is developmentally appropriate. When I first started working with the children at Saint Mary’s I put a lot of emphasis on games I thought would be fun. Many of these games however, were far too complex and had too many rules. This led to loss of focus from the children and therefore a very disorganized game. When I switched my emphasis to games that were simpler, I was able to make small variations during the game to keep it interesting without losing control of the group.

Lab 5- 4/4/2009

LAB 5 ON 4/4/2009
The first game I used at Saint Mary’s was not appropriate. This game was “Barnyard Chase”. The game was too complex for the children involved. However, since that day, the games I have utilized were much more appropriate for the children. I have incorporated much more simple games for the children and incorporated the day’s skills into them. Prior to these games I was thinking of the skills I wanted to observe and thinking of ways to make a game around them. This made the games relatively unorganized and therefore confusing for the children involved. In lab 5 my group played the game guard that castle and originally made the game too complex. Upon realizing this, I stopped the game and gave the students a new goal which did not involve tagging other players. Instead students only had one goal; to knock the other team’s pins down. This game ended up working great students were excited to play multiple rounds.

LAB 4- 3/29/2009

LAB 4- 3/29/2009
While at Saint Mary’s I have faced a number of challenges. One of my main challenges has been implementing activities for the children. The reason for this is that I often feel uncomfortable asking a large group of the kids to come play a game when it is their free time because many other students from my class are trying to do the same thing. I feel as though I would function much better with the children when they are in a class of my own that I am in charge of. I have noticed that I tend to work much better with the children and take more of a leadership role when there are fewer of my classmates present. One thing I have enjoyed putting to use is my ability to work with children that are upset. I feel as though this is a challenge that many of my classmates have not encountered as much as I have so I have been doing my best to take advantage of a bad situation and take a leadership role when helping an upset students get back into program.

Lab 3- 3/12/2009

Lab 3 ON 3/12/2009
Today I utilized many different strategies to connect with the children. One of the simpler strategies I implemented was physically lowering myself down to their level. When I was eye level with the students I noticed that they were more apt to be interested in what I was saying. Also, I found that the more enthusiastic I was about the activity the more excited the students were to participate. I realized today that the most important thing I can do to connect with the children is to “put on my teacher mask” and come out of my comfort zone and be silly with the kids. When the kids see an adult that is not afraid to act silly they are more apt to want to participate, and therefore will pay closer attention when it is time to listen for directions. I used many of these strategies when someone suggested a game for the pre-k students. The students were asked to roll a plastic egg across the floor with their nose and into a circle. Many of the students were hesitant, however, after seeing me do it and act like I loved it everybody tried it.

LAB 2- 3/1/2009

LAB 2 ON 3/1/2009
During my dad at Saint Mary’s I observed many different teaching strategies. Some were very affective, while others failed miserably. While instructing the students in “Barn Yard Chase” I attempted to use a command style approach. I used this approach because in my past experiences with large groups of kids this was the best way to gain everybody’s attention and maintain organization. I failed to take into account the age level and attention span of the Saint Mary’s children. While I was loud enough, I neglected to do something to hold their attention. What I should have done is captured their attention by identifying with them in some way. I could have come up with a better story line, or simply acted more excited to take part in the activity. Following the activity I had the opportunity to work with kids on far less complex skills. This led me the freedom to focus more on having fun and being creative. In turn, this led to the children being more attentive

LAB 1- 2/16/2009

LAB 1 ON 2/16/2009
During my first visit to Saint Mary’s I was fortunate enough to work with the pre-k group. I was very happy to work with them as this is the group I have the least amount of experience with. While working with the kids I noticed many differences between them and the elementary school children. These differences were both social and psychomotor. As expected, the pre-k kids had far less developed gross motor skills than the older children. I was surprised however at the specific tasks the kids found difficult. For example, I noticed one boy would often trip over himself while running. Also, while playing catch another child I noticed how difficult it was for him to simply catch a soccer ball. Both of these relatively simple activities were used by the elementary students in conjunction with one another with ease. I was also very surprised with the differences between the males and females. I cannot speak for the elementary age children; however, at the pre-k level there was very little difference between the genders. I have concluded from my short time with these children that only a couple of years can make a huge difference in motor behavior and at a young age gender has a minimal effect on motor behavior.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Down with DODGEBALL?!?

"America has gone softer than butter". This quote was in a recent sports illustrated issue in regards to the recent controversy regarding dodgeball in PE programs. In the recent years dodgeball has somehow become one of the most controversal games in PE programs across the country. There are multiple reason behind this debate; some with quite a bit of substance to them. However, after reading the arguments put forth by Neil Williams the chairman of the Health and Physical Education Department, I could not disagree more! While I may possess a certain biased toward dodge ball being that I see it played regularly, with almost no behavioral or emotional issues. I am going to do my best to rebute Williams arguments from a professional stand point.
For the past eight months I have worked at the William George Agency for Children Services as the recreation coordinator. Since this time, I have seen dodgeball played regularly at least twice a week. During our dodgeball programs, we encounter far less fights or bad sportsmanship than we do during our many other programs. What's more, is that Williams argues that dodgeball excludes many kids either because they are intimidated by that game or because once they are out all they can do is sit and watch. These problems can be easily remedied by simply playing a variation of the traditional game. For example, by playing a game in which each catch results in your entire team coming back in the game cut down on the time students are on the side line drastically. Also, to increase the use of teamwork in the game a version called "medic" can be played in which one person is nominated by each team to be "medic" and this person can tag people to get them back in. In this version, I have noticed that teammates are likely to work together to protect their medic and keep their identity a secret.