Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"We Are the World"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Flip Me the Ball!!

On Friday October 23, 2009, after two weeks of planning and numerous meetings with Dr. Columna, it was time to teach a pre-assessment in PED 434: Statisitics and Assessment in Physical Education. For this lab we were to develop a pre-assessment for a softball unit being taught to eigth graders. Not having done something like this before, I wasn't sure what to expect...

In order to have a successful pre-assessment, one needs a proper assessment for which to follow and assess the students. For lab, we needed to focus on the cognitive and psychomotor domains of an assessment. Therefore, we had to develop a lesson plan, a checklist/rubric, a cognitive assessment, as well as a teacher's assessment. Myself and Jennifer 'The Doc' Thorpe brought our initial drafts to Dr. Columna for our first meeting for which he provided suggestions and alterations for feedback. As we kept making more meetings and adjusting what we had, we saw the quality of our work go up and thus had a better assessment. On that Friday, with our equipment and visual aides in hand, we were ready to see if this assessment would work.

We began the class with a simple tag game that mixed the pop fly and ground ball into it. If someone were tagged, the only way to be untagged would be to get a grounder or a pop up tossed to you. This proved successful and we moved to our next portion of the lesson. In order to quickly divide the class, we had 20 hats; 10 red and 10 white each with one of five different teams on the brim. For one part of the activity, we could split them in half easily and for the next make an easy transition into groups. This was great for transition and everyone got a nice hat to keep! For the groundball assessment, we had the students follow a zig zag pattern and a similar pattern was used for the fly ball assessment. This was the portion where were would do the teacher assessment using a spreadsheet. Following this activity, we had them in groups of three-four doing a peer assessment using a rubric we developed. Two would perform the skills while the other would assess one of both of them. We then moved to the cognitive assessment; a quiz based on what we had learned today. We then closed the activity and debriefed with Dr. Columna, the lab assistants, and our classmates.

This pre-assessment was difficult! It was nothing like we had expected. Our teacher assessment was very difficult because it was hard to not only provide feedback to the students but also assess all the components we were looking for. The activity we used was a fast moving one and that made it hard to assess. Our rubric for the peer assessment was a little difficult for everyone to understand and the peer assessment was a disaster in itself with everyone not knowing who was supposed to do what. Other than the assessments, I myself had some problems to work on. At times I spoke too fast which could have made the directions unclear. And also I didn't look as if I was enjoying myself nor was I enthusiastic about the lesson. On the brightside, my hook was a hit and the hats were a great idea for transitions and made the class fun!

Being that this was the first time I used an assessment, there were naturally going to be problems. But it could have been a lot worse. Many of the problems are small fixable ones. In the future, the whole lesson can be fixed by wearing a smile!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Inspiring the Imagination!

A brief journey through my physical education career from the very beginning to right now!

Working with Underprivileged Children: A Unique Experience

On Saturday October 17, 2009, I participated in a workshop for migrant and underprivileged children in the Van Hoesen building on the SUNY Cortland campus. Not fully sure of what this workshop entailed, I decided to participate in it in order to gain an understanding of the different types of children I will encounter when I become a teacher. With all the possibilities of what it would be like flowing through my head, Saturday morning arrived and I was ready to go...

Early last week, Dr. Luis Columna mentioned that if anyone were staying in Cortland over the upcoming 'October Break' weekend, there was a workshop Saturday morning that they could participate in if they chose to. Thinking I was going to go home that weekend, I brushed it off. At the end of the week, the person I was going to go home with decided to leave early. I couldn't go any earlier than we had stated so I was stuck in Cortland that weekend. I approached Dr. Columna and offered my help for the workshop. He explained what it was all about and I agreed and would meet him bright and early Saturday morning.

When Saturday morning arrived, I walked down to Park Center ready to start the day. I met Dr. Columna and the two others who were helping out. It was nice to see that Dr. Stephen Yang was also running the program as well. Here I found out that we were using 'exergames' in the workshop. Once we loaded up Columna's Jeep with dance dance revolution pads and other equipment, we were ready to head up to Van Hoesen.

Once up the hill, we unloaded all the equipment and set up in two classrooms. It was here I found out that many of these children did not speak English and only Spanish. This would be interesting as I can only speak English and nothing else! Then 10am rolled around and the children arrived. The first to come were very small; about ages 2 to 5. I began with a game that uses an electronic giraffe to help find other animals 'lost' around the hallway. When I began to explain the directions and activity, I had to have Dr. Columna there to translate so the children would understand what was going on. It was a relatively simple game so not much language was needed. The giraffe made other animal sounds and said the animal names and most children understood this rather easy. But they sure did love it! We played this game for almost half an hour moving the anmals around and having them 'run' from being captured. It was quite an experience!

Next, some older children came in a were semi-reluctant to participate. But once we demonstrated how fun it all was, they were quick to join! DDR was very popular as well as the Jackie Chan running game. But nothing was more popular than the 'eyetoy' for Playstation 2. In this interactive game, the kids could see themselves on tv and moving around interacting with the digital environment. Once these kids left, the workshop was completed and ready to be broken down.

This was quite a unique learning experience for me. Not having ever worked with children who do not speak English or who are underprivileged, I did not know what to expect. But these kids are just like any other kids out there. They love to play and get involved in activities assuming you are there to help them and make sure they have a good time. The language barrier never really seemed to be an issue. There are many universal words and body language that are readable in any language making this just a little bit less difficult. I learned that all the kids you encounter in schools will not be the same. It's not like you're going to get the great kids at St. Mary's all the time. There are children whose families are poor and struggling to get new clothes and keep food on the table all the while making sure their children get a quality education. But underneathe this surface, they're just like any other child. It takes a dedicated teacher and a patient individual to work with them and ensure they receive attention equal to all the other children out there. "Give them the skills, and they will be active."

As a professional, I anticipate the challenges I will meet in the classroom. I do not truly know what to expect but can gather a general idea. Workshops like these are crucial to the development of an individual as a teacher. You cannot learn this through courses taught at the college. It has to be experienced for one to truly learn. I thank Dr. Columna and Dr. Yang for allowing me to help and hope to participate in another workshop soon!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The HIV Epidemic

On Thursday October 8, 2009, in my class HLH 163: The HIV Epidemic, we had a guest speaker. This was a unique visit as our guest was HIV positive. Having never met anyone with HIV or heard of anyone other than celebrities, this sounded like it would be an interesting learning experience. When time came for class, the door opened and our speaker entered...

As class began, our speaker stood patiently waiting to speak to us. Once our professor was finished with introductions, he took centerstage and began to speak. I won't say his name as it would be morally insensitive to do so. He started out by saying he has been HIV positive for 22 years. He then proceeded to tell us the troubles with his family he had as a child causing him to run away and engage in high risk behavior. This in turn led him to be infected with the virus at age 15. The worst part about it was that the person he was with knew they had HIV and did not disclose it. Following this, he had problems in school and was even kicked out due to his infection and sued to get back in. This became high profile at the time and he gained national exposure meeting people like President Bill Clinton, Ryan White, and even Michael Jackson. He eventually forgave the person who infected him while they were on their deathbed and told us never to hold grudges no matter how angry you get. He also emphasized that he does not let the disease take over him. He lives his life just like anyone else and blames no one but himself for what he has. Through this, he tries to make the world a better place for him to live in and for others by educating them on the subject.

This lecture was an eye opening experience. Never before had I met someone who was HIV positive. Hearing him speak made me think about all the things in my life and my future both personally and professionally. Personally, I have to make sure that I keep myself safe from unsafe environments and negative people. It is the best way to maintain my own safety. Professionally, it is my responsibility to inform my students of all the dangers in the world and help them find ways to avoid them. This goes beyond the normal scope of being a teacher and connects to the community on a personal level. The only way to prevent bad things from happening is through proper education.

People tend to think they know so much on a topic that they never have experienced or have had shown to them. We take for granted many things in our lives and do not think how other's problems may be worse then our own. We must work together to ensure not only the safety and well-being of ourselves, but also those around us.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2009 SUNY Cortland Physical Education Mini-Conference!!

On Friday October 9, 2009, SUNY Cortland hosted its annual Physical Education Mini-Conference. This is a very special occassion as it similar in many aspects to the New York State APHERD Conference as well as the National AAPHERD Conference. Throughout the day, there were various presentations all centered around physical education, health, recreation, and dance. We were very honored to have Dr. Judy Rink, a Cortland alumna, come and give the keynote address to open the conference. Not only would this be a special conference for all involved, but for me it was a busy one as I presided over a couple of presentations and made a presentation of my own during a session. This looked to be an exciting day...

After weeks of preparation with the SUNY Cortland Physical Education Majors Club (APEM) and meeting on a weekly basis with Dr. Eric Malmberg, we were ready to begin the conference after setting up the previous night. Our keynote speaker, Judy Rink, addressed the full capacity crowd with her speech, 'Windows of Opportunity Don't Come Often." Being a SUNY Cortland graduate, as well as a world renowned and respected individual in the field, it was especially exciting to have her here to give a speech. She stressed the importance of what a teacher should do and the means to which acquire it for the benefit of the students. A few quotes especially stood out to me, "give them the skills, and they will be active" as well as using the line, "if you build it, they will come." These lines left me in awe as I listened to every word she had to say. Following her speech, Dr. Rink was given a hearty round of applause and warm thank you.

Now it was time for me to begin my duties for the afternoon. I was now to preside for Dr. Diane Craft in her presentation, 'Active Play! Fun Physical Activities for Young Children Pre-K & K.' This was an exceptionally good presentation as Dr. Craft detailed many different activities and games would could have younger children participate in. These games inspired me to recommend some to my motor development group for games to use at St. Mary's School Cortland. I look forward to taking her for EDU 355 in the spring! Following Dr. Craft's presentation, it was time for me to preside over the next workshop. This presentation, entitled 'Tag Games Unlimited,' was presented by Chris Wert, a Cortland graduate and current Elementary/Middle School Physical Education President of NYS APHERD. Mr. Wert was a great man to meet. His tag activities were very creative and very unique. Everyone who participated, throughly enjoyed the tag games and Chris offered the games to anyone who wanted them. This was a great session and I'm glad I was able to experience it!

As the 12:20 session came upon us, it was time for me to go and prepare to give my presentation. Started last year, "Spice Up Your Warm Ups" was created by the Cortland Majors Club APEM to provide new and creative ways to warm up your class rather than doing traditional laps. Our President, Brandon Herwick, stated a week ago that they were looking for an additional person to present a warm up at the Mini Conference. I felt that this would be an excellent experience and decided to volunteer. I decided that I wanted my warm up to include elements of dance and music in it. After PED 288: Rhythms and Dance, I learned to appreicate dance in physical education so much I became a teacher's assistant for the class and felt it would be appropriate to use dance in my warm up. The first part of my warm up include the locomotor skills of gallop, hop, jump, and run around each side of a square to the song, "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel. Following this brief introduction, I opened the signs I made to reveal different tasks such as leap frog, wheelbarrow run, piggy back run, and slidding around the square to "Celebrate" by Kool & the Gang. This was the last component of that warm up and I moved to my next one. I was a circle dance to "Shout!" by the Temptations. We would run and jump to music and strut like cool cats when appropriate! It turned out to be a huge hit and everyone had a great time! Congratulations to Brandon, Kate, James, and Dustin on great presentations as well!

The SUNY Cortland Physical Education Mini-Conference was an amazing learning experience. I had such a great time attending the various workshops and meeting new people. I had a blast making my presentation and while I may have been nervous going into it, I'm glad that I volunteered to do it. I cannot wait until next year to present once again and to attend the NYS APHERD Conference in November!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Back to St. Mary's!!

On Wednesday October 7, 2009, I was back at St. Mary's School Cortland for PED 201: Motor Development! However, this time it would not be as student but rather as a lab assistant. It's a different experience being on the otherside of things. As a lab assistant, you're helping the students in PED 201 work with the children at St. Mary's and provide feedback and advice to them. However, to the children who go to school there, I would receive the same warm welcome...

Upon entering the building, the great memories from last semester came back into focus. I remember the super hero day as well as the Easter day. I was especially happy to see the picture of our old group, 'Jumping Jack and the Thriving Five' on the wall! But even with all the old memories, I was ready to make new ones to go on top of those. My group, Lauren, Chelsea, Phil, and Mallory were going to be with the Pre-K today. We had been to St. Mary's before with this group so they kind of knew what to expect but you can never anticipate what the Pre-K will be like.

As we entered the classrooms, I was overjoyed with how many of the children remembered me from last semester and immediately came over to say hello. It was great to see them again and even after a few months, how much they have already grown! We had plenty of fun in there playing with Legos and cars as well as drawing and reading stories. Before we went into the classrooms, I didn't tell my group what to expect. I wanted them to experience it all at once without preconditions like we did last semester, I felt it was the best learning experience. When the time came to switch between classrooms, I took this opportunity to talk to them about it and asked how they were handling it offering my feedback as well as advice on what to do and what not to do. From there, we went back in and played once again!

Following the time in the classroom, the Pre-K were now allowed to go and play in the gymnasium. And as always, it's like opening the floodgates. The kids love running around in the gym. Lauren and Chelsea set up an activity for the children to play and they loved it. After asking about hula hoops, I suggested the 'spaceship race' from last semester so the hula hoops were spaceships and the kids raced the others across the gym. And just as I expected, it was a success.

As we were ready to wrap up, Professor Yang asked me to do the closing activity. We agreed on a circle dance to "Shake My Sillies Out" by the Wiggles. When we had everyone in the circle, the dance started and everyone was really into it! The students, lab assistants, and children were really enjoying it and having a great time. We then all came together and called it a day. This was once again another great experience at St. Mary's. I can't wait to go back again and help where I can!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ultimate Frisbee Banana Toss!!

On Friday October 2, 2009, we had our second day of peer teaching continuing our Ultimate Frisbee unit in EDU 255 class! For the last few class sessions, we were introduced to the various skills, plays, formations, and techniques involved in Ultimate Frisbee. And after all that, it was time for us to get in front of the class and teach a certain skill or play. After a few presentations by my classmates, it was my turn to teach...

Would you like to hear my lesson? Then have a listen right here!

After practicing the skill and rehearsing what I wanted to say and touch upon, I was ready to teach my lesson. This was a simple monkey in the middle-like activity. Two players were on offense with one other player on defense. When the Frisbee was passed, the thrower followed it and became the new defender while the former defender moved to offense and the other offensive player not had the Frisbee. I started the lesson with a hook that caught the attention of my classmates and got them interested in what I was going to teach. I proceeded to introduce the skill and provide cues and a simple demonstration. The students then broke into groups of three and began executing the task. As they worked, I walked arounf to the various groups and provided feedback to as many students as I could. When I saw that each student was proficent at the task and were performing it with ease, I altered the task as to challenge the students. Afterward, I brought them in and reviewed the cues and objectives of the lesson and provided a closure to get them excited about next class.

Upon listening to the audio from my lesson and the feedback provided from my lab assistants, I noticed several things that went well as well as several things that need to be worked on. One of the most positive parts of my lesson were my attitude, excitement, and enthusiasm. I displayed a positive environment which showed the students I was happy to be there and excited about the lesson which brought them in as well. My voice was loud and clear and all words audible for my transcription. I caught their attention with my hook which is personally my favorite part of the whole lesson plan. By relating the task to monkeys playing keep away with a banana, it gave them a vivid picture for their imaginations to refer. By providing a short and simple demonstration, I made the task look simple and easy for anyone to do. When the class broke into groups and began the activity, I walked around providing feedback to students to reinforce positive behavior and help adjust problems they may be having. When I saw proficiency, I altered the task by removing the backhand pass and dominant hand usage to make it more challenging giving them something to work for. Again, I walked around providing feedback at this time. Following the activity, I restated the objectives and checked for understanding then proceeded to hang the carrot for next class promising them a fun activity in the mud! Upon filling out my time coding sheet, I scored a 5/5. I provided the class with ample activity time and limited instruction time and eliminated waiting time. This gave everyone plenty of time to play!

While I had plenty of positive components of my lesson, there were still small details and areas of which I can improve upon. When I was walking around giving feedback during the activity, I turned my back to the rest of the class/gym to speak to other students. This is an issue as students may be acting out or horsing around behind you. Also, students may get up and leave at any point and as a teacher, you have to be aware that all students are in the room and participating. I also should have provided a bit more specific feedback to the students pertaining to the activity. While I did give congruent feedback, there were still a lot of 'good throws' and 'nice jobs.' Although small, these issues could become larger if not addressed in the future.
Overall, I would rate this experience as a success! I feel as if it is getting easier and easier to get in front of the class and teach. I am much more comfortable up there compared to the beginning of the semester and greatly improved over the beginning of PED 201. I can't wait to get back up in front of the class and teach once again!

In case you could not find them in the analysis, here are the links to my documents!