Friday, April 24, 2009

We Got A Brand New Dance, It's Called the Baby Shuffle!!

On Thursday April 23, 2009, after weeks of preparation and practicing, it was time for our motor development class to perform our infant skits in front of our classmates, faculty members, and the camera!!

Our group, 'Jumping Jack and the Thriving Five,' performed a skit based on chapter 8 of our textbook which deals with rudimentary skills of a developing infant including crawling, creeping, and walking. After meeting many times outside of class for long periods of time, we had gotten our performance down pat. We would be performing the new hot hit single, "The Baby Shuffle." While we were pretty nervous going into it, we felt we did a great job and I am proud of all the hard work we put into it and how we came together as a group. Below is the offical music video of "The Baby Shuffle" courtesy of DJ Yang:

Our class had a great time doing these performances. Each group had a great skit prepared to perform and you could see all the hard work put into it by everyone. I throughly enjoyed everyone's skits. Most of the time, I was laughing because they were so funny and presented the material in an effective way. Everyone did an excellent job and had a lot of fun doing it!! Please take the time to visit Dr. Yang's blog, Learning to Teach PE Like a Rockstar and view each group's skit. While you're there, take a look around at the other features and functions on Dr. Yang's blog. There's plenty to read and I'm sure you'll find something interesting! You will see how we can take information in Physical Education and make it so much fun!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

APEM Teen Night at the YMCA Cortland!!

On Friday April 17, 2009, the Alliance of Physical Education Majors (APEM) ran the final 'Teen Night' at the YMCA on Tomkins Street in Cortland. The objective of this program was to give students and children in the Cortland area an evening of fun and games in a safe and fun environment. With this being the first time I helped participate in the running of an event, I wasn't quite sure what to expect...

Throughout the semester, APEM ran a number of teen nights at the YMCA for the children of the Cortland area. Being the final one of the year, everyone was eager to put together a great evening of fun and excitement for everyone involved. However, there turned out to be a problem; Cortland area schools were closed for spring recess giving the club no direct way of promotion to students. With this task in front of us, members of the group advertised throughout town in an attempt to spread the word.

When the day of the event came, we hoped for the best. That evening at the YMCA, there was a rather underwhelming turnout of about 15 children to the 25 APEM members volunteering their time. However, we didn't let this bother us. There was plenty prepared for everyone to have fun. In the gym, basketball, free throw contests, and rock climbing were a huge hit for everyone throughout the night. In the lobby and classroom, a Nintendo Wii was set up for enjoyment and a Dance Dance Revolution station gave the children a chance to participate in some ExerGames. And the pool was open for anyone who wanted to swim. Perhaps the biggest success of the night was the game 'Newfie Football' which followed the basic rules of ultimate frisbee but with a rubber chicken used as the ball! The kids loved this game as it was played for nearly one hour. Needless to say, everyone involved got a great workout. When all was said and done, we wrapped it all up and closed down the place after producing a successful teen night.

As I continue my journey to becoming a Physical Education teacher, I felt it would be in my best interest to join the APEM club. It's a good way to keep in touch with fellow Physical Education majors and gain experience through the events that are put on. This was the first organized event I volunteered for with APEM and I had a great time. I learned a great deal about the club and the members in it. I hope to one day be able to move up the ranks in the club to higher end positions and organize more events like these for everyone to enjoy!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Master Hidy Ochiai

EKP Certification with Hidy Ochiai

On Thursday April 16, 2009, myself and thirty five other SUNY Cortland Self Defense and Martial Arts Physical Education Students participated in the Educational Karate Program (EKP) Certification Workshop. Each student was going for certification in EKP so that one day we could teach the progam to students in the public schools system. The workshop was run by the EKP Institute with Master Hidy Ochiai instructing it himself. Although a little nervous, I was very excited to begin...

As we entered the front dance/self-defense studio in Park Center, everyone was standing around waiting for the workshop to begin at 6pm. As start time approached, we were briefed on the history and philosophy of the EKP Institute and what to expect in the workshop and beyond that. Master Ochiai then took center stage and spoke very briefly before jumping right into the workshop.

The material covered during the workshop was much of what we had learned in our self-defense classes. Master Ochiai covered all of the situational sef-defense techniques as well as katas including sho-dan, sho-dan hidari, and ni-dan. For all of the technique review and assessment, we were divided into three groups and paired with a partner. Each group had two EKP Instructors working with them to ensure all concepts were understood and mastery was apparent. In the groups, we covered all techniques as well as kicks and blocks with the use of focus pads to simulate an attack. For each kata, all participants went at the same time facing the front of the room. Katas were repeated numerous times being led by Master Ochiai and each of the EKP Instructors. Between each session with our groups, Master Ochiai would call us all together and give a brief description on what we were going to do and any modifications that could be added to it to make the technique simpler for little children. These brief lectures were also very informative as he gave short stories and tips on how to improve. Following the conclusion of the workshop, we all received our interm certification as EKP Instructors from Master Ochiai. After a quick debrief and picture with Master Ochiai, we completed the workshop.

When I first began PED 284: Self-Defense this semester, I didn't really understand or appriciate the material that much. My instructor, Colleen Buchanan, emphasized the importance of the program and displayed a passion for the material and its concepts. It wasn't until I attended this workshop that I realized everything she had been telling us was true. It's not until you actually meet Master Ochiai in person do you realize the power and importance of EKP. I took in everything that he said during the workshop and learned so many new things I had never known. He is truly an amazing man. For example, there was a part of the workshop when he was speaking of the character education. He would take the confidence steps and shout what the children should think; I am Important. Strong. Gentle. NonViolent. Good. This was a powerful moment to me. It was this demonstration where I realized the importance of EKP and my desire to teach it to young children in the school as well as my mother and sister. Master Ochiai is truly passionate about his beliefs and ideas and I truly have never met a person who had a faster impact on me before him.

I am very happy that I attended this workshop and learned so much from it. Master Ochiai is a truly amazing man and I recommend EKP Certification to everyone who can take it at SUNY Cortland. I cannot wait to attend the refresher course next spring!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reflection on Experience at St. Mary's School

My experience at St. Mary's School Cortland was the beginning stop on the road to becoming a Physical Education Teacher. There are a lot of things that I learned from the labs at the school. These ranged from how to run a class and work with children and how to work with others to successfully teach a lesson. But more importantly, my teaching style has begun to emerge...

Through PED 201, I gained a greater knowledge of an age group that I previously had very little experience with. With this being the first step on the path to my teaching career, I learned a great deal about teaching methods and how to deal with children of this age group. We immediately learned that young children had plenty of energy and excitement for whatever activity there were going to participate in. They all want to play and are quite eager to learn new things. However, at this age they are still developing quite a bit and learning how to listen, share, and work/play with their classmates. Anything told to them will immediately engage their interest as they try to understand it and try to adapt it the way they want to. We also learned that the key to keeping their attention was activities that had them constantly moving the whole time and engage all the kids in physical activity at the same time. Endless Bucket was a great game because it had all the kids involved and had them doing different tasks after they completed one rather than performing the same thing over and over again. The key to the success of any activity was in the task explanation. Clear directions and guidance were needed to ensure the kids stay on task and do what was expected of them because with little direction, the activity could turn into a disaster.

My experience at St. Mary’s School Cortland is just the beginning of my path to becoming a Physical Education teacher. However, I have already learned a great deal about myself and the profession as a whole. I have learned that excitement and energy in the material you are presenting is crucial to the success of your lesson. If you as a teacher aren’t passionate about what you are presenting, then the students will lose interest. Also, I have learned that a loud “gym voice” is necessary in order to maintain structure in the classroom and keep the students on task and the activity flowing smoothly. I feel that even after this short time at St. Mary’s, my teaching style is beginning to emerge. I am starting to see myself as becoming very involved in the activity where I will be very enthusiastic presenting is and dressing the part if necessary. Plus, I will engage the kids’ interest by continually adjusting focus and task where necessary. I feel that I can be confident in front of a class by myself but can also team teach with one or more teachers.

I am very proud of all that I have achieved and learned during this experience. Our group, 'Jumping Jack and the Thriving Five' worked extremely well together professionally and became close friends personally. I thank Jenn, Brenda, Chris, Pam, and Ashley for an excellent time and memorable experience. I am very grateful and thankful to all the students and teachers at St. Mary's for all of their help. Also, to our lab assistants and Dr. Yang as well. They helped guide us through this part of the journey and helped us develop as teachers.

With this experience behind me, I look forward to continuing the journey and am excited for all the new challenges and knowledge yet to gain next year in 255/256 and beyond!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hippity Hoppity Easter's On It's Way!!

On Monday April 6, 2009, we had our sixth and final motor development lab at St. Mary's School Cortland. The theme of this week was the Easter holiday. Since this was the final lab, we weren't looking to observe any specific motor skills. Instead, each group was prepared with an activity and props that related to Easter. As soon as we walked into the gymnasium and the kids saw the Easter eggs and bunny ears, they got excited for what was going to be a fun afternoon!

After the first group in the gymnasium set up and began their presentation, we were sent down to the cafeteria to interact with the kids and prepare our activity. With no motor skills being observed this week, we were free to design an activity any way we wanted to. On Sunday, our group Jumpin' Jack and the Thriving Five met together to plan out our activity and figure out what we needed. After a quick trip to the store, we had all of our things and were ready to go! In the cafeteria, rather than having the kids play Legos and checkers like they always do, we had them participate in two Easter related activities. For the first activity, "Put Your Egg on the Basket", we adapted pin the tail on the donkey into an Easter theme. We had the kids color paper cutouts of eggs then come over to the wall where a big picture of a basket hung. We would blindfold them nd have them tape it onto the basket the best they could. We were always there to make sure they didn't run into the wall or eachother so safety was covered. After this, we began a new activity called "Egg Relay". For this, we divided the kids into three groups. Each child was given a plastic egg and a spoon and the objective to get your team to get everyone's egg in the basket before the other teams did. One person from each group would be going at one time, carrying the egg on the spoon down to the basket They would walk with the egg then bunny hop back. If it dropped, they would start up from where they were. Eventually we added the modifications of carrying two eggs and walking backwards. When we completed the activity, each student got to keep an egg for a job well done!

After this, we went up into the gym for some open play time. There were many activites going on ranging from jump rope to football and the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves. Liam approached me and asked if we could play basketball again because he had enjoyed it so much the prior week. I was glad to play with him knowing that I made in impression on him the prior week. We had a free throw contest and threw the ball around. The kids then participated in a 'battleship' game where they were in four teams and attempted to knock the other team's pins over using dodgeballs. Everyone then came together and participated in the hokey pokey and a group picture ending yet another excellent afternoon.

After this experience, I realized how much I enjoy working in a school environment. There is plenty of excitement and always plenty of things going on. The kids genuinely listen to you and get something out of what you are teaching them. It is a very rewarding experience. I'm going to miss going to lab every week but I look forward to the future of my path toward teaching Physical Education!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Environmental Excitement!!

On Monday March 30, 2009, we had our fifth motor development lab at St. Mary's School Cortland. This week, we were assessing the student's motor skills of kicking a ball and dribbling a ball which were incorporated into the activities demonstrated today. This week's theme was the environment. Our group did not give a presentation in the gymnasium today for we were with the pre-kindergarten students. However, were we still excited to see how our classmates performed when they taught!

In the gym, the first group give their presentation. Their activity was called 'zig-zag zoccer'. Using the whole gym, they broke the kids up into six groups. Three groups stood on either side of the room in a line directly across from another group on the other side of the gym. Their first objective was to kick the soccer ball down the gym. They would dribble it around the cones and obsticles laid down and once they got to the middle, the children would kick it as hard and far as they were able to. This activity would continue for a few more rounds until each child had gone about twice. After this, the game was then altered switching out the soccer ball for a basket ball. The students would now dribble the basketball down the court halfway and back around the obsticles that laid before them. After this, the activity was over. The children then played another activity that implemented these same motor skills. While evaluating, I noticed that more students were at the inital stage rather than the elementary stage. Some had a handful of components that they fulfilled for each skill but otherwise, there wasn't much there.

Following the activities in the gym, our group, Jumpin' Jack and the Thrive Five, went into the pre-kindergarten classrooms. Here, we played games with them and activites they wanted to. I was playing Legos with the boys one minute and playing with dolls with the girls another! After they had their snack, we read them books that they chose from the bookshelf. As soon as I would get done with one book, another would be waiting. There was a stack of books sitting next to me ready to get read!

After this, we went into the gym again and it was crazy! With a long day of being kooked up in the classroom behind them, the pre-kindergarteners were ready to play. We set up different stations in the area we had available that involved in some way or another, the environment. There was a cave crawl (through the tunnel tube), hopping on top of mountains (in a circle of hula hoops), meteor shower (bouncing basketballs), an island leap (from poly-spot to poly-spot), and trash pickup recycling (putting beanbags in a bucket). This activity proved to be a hit and the kids throughly enjoyed it. Following cleanup, we all participating in the YMCA and had a great time doing it to end the day.

After this experience, I realized how much I enjoy being up in front of the kids teaching. Since we had the pre-kindergarten today, we did not teach a lesson at the beginning in the gym. This whole time I was restless and wanted bored because I wanted to be up there teaching again. While we did get an opportunity in the end to engage the kids in physcal activity, I would love to teach more often. I cannot wait until our last lab next week so that I can end our lab experience on a great note!