Wednesday, November 25, 2009

American Cancer Society: Relay for Life

On Saturday November 21, 2009, an American Cancer Society Relay for Life was held at SUNY Cortland in the Lusk Fieldhouse. This is a very special occassion as people put together teams to walk throughout the night to raise money for cancer awareness and cancer research. The relay went from 6pm November 21 to 6am November 22. This was my first time participating in the Relay for Life so I was very excited to be involved.

Earlier this semester, myself and my good friend Patrick Wingler were approached by Alliance of Physical Education Majors (APEM) club president Brandon Herwick to put together a team for relay for life for the physical education majors of SUNY Cortland. Being event coordinators, this was the first task we were given and were excited to get it together. We set up the team online and promoted it through the APEM club meetings, emails online, and word of mouth. We were very happy to be putting something together that would be a part of such an excellent cause.

When it came time for Relay for Life on November 21, myself and Patrick met to gather all of the things we would need for the event. We borrowed a projection screen and dance dance revolution pads from our professor Stephen Yang and brought other activities including an indo board and kan jam for others to play. Set up was a little rough as we were unable to reach the outlet to plug the equipment in but luckily, our good friend Bradley Velten brought an extension cord and we got everything up and running.

Everyone at the event was having a great time. Different tables and booths were set up fundraising for the event. We were going to ask for donations for using our set up but ultimately did not. Throughout the event, there were numerous ceremonies, performances, and activities for all to participate in. The Luminaria ceremony was very touching. Bags lined the track with names of those who have, passed away from, or have beaten cancer. They were illuminated as the fieldhouse lights were turned off and people walked in silence. This was especially meaningful to me as my father has lung cancer and I had a bag placed in support of him.

This was an extraordinary event. I tried to stay all night but ultimately exhaustion and fatigue set in and I had to leave and go to sleep around 1am. We had been at the NYS AHPERD Conference for most of the weekend so I was pretty tired. But all together, the SUNY Cortland Physical Education team reached above our goal of $1,000.00 through donations and sales of wristbands. I am very proud of our accomplishments and hope to exceed this next year!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Recreating Our World Through Wellness: NYS AHPERD 2009

From Thursday November 19, 2009 - Saturday November 21, 2009, I attended the 2009 New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AHPERD) Annual Conference at the Turning Stone Resort and Convention Center in Verona, NY. This was my first time attending an AHPERD conference other than the SUNY Cortland Mini-Conference. I wasn't quite sure what it would be like but I had a decent idea of what to expect. After leaving Cortland and hitting the road, we arrived and Turning Stone ready for the conference...

Upon arriving at the event center, we parked the car and walked to the registration table. From there, we received our conference materials and were off to explore what there was being offered. We first stopped at the SUNY Cortland booth to say hello to our fellow Physical Education majors and see what other booths were available. We noticed that there was a game with the booths that if you got a stamp from most of them you were eligible to win a prize. So we got all the stamps but needless to say, we didn't win! From here, we were ready to explore the different presentations.

There was a vast amount of variety in the presentations available. Our first stop was 'Enjoyable and Innovative Fitness Routines for All Students' presented by a crew of one instructor and several students from SUNY Brockport. They presented several activities that incorporated fitness activities into the games. Many of them were fun to participate in while others were a bit too complicated. It was fun to spark up a rivalry between us and the Brockport students about whose school is better. This was in good spirits and carried on throughout the conference. Following this session, we attended 'THRILLER... Dance with a Modern Inter City Twist' in the exotic Lava Room. This was a fun session as it was interactive and allowed a lot of participation. Andrew Steinberg, the presenter, was very lively and loved what he was doing. Although he made a few mistakes throughout, it was still a worthwhile presentation. Our last session for the afternoon was 'Professional Growth: What's Your Game Plan?' presented by SUNY Cortland Professor Jeff Walkuski. This was a very interesting lecture as Dr. Walkuski made us aware of the fact that we should have a game plan for our future and set goals to achieve. It was very inspirational and interesting. Following the presentation, an administrator from a school district was in attendance and praised Dr. Walkuski for his information and presentation and told us what to expect when we looked for a job. After all the presentations, it was time to relax and take it easy. We wandered through the casino and socialized with many others. With all the excitement from today, we hoped the next day would be just as good.

On Friday morning, we decided to attend the first general session of the day. This presentation entitled, 'Essential Keys to Wellness: Recreating Life's Vitality' was presented by keynote speaker Brian Luke Seaward. This was truly an inspirational keynote. Mr. Seaward spoke of personal stories and how it related to living life the way you want and how wellness will keep life fresh and interesting. One of the most interesting phrases was "to know and not to do, is not to know." If you do not apply what you know and thus do not use it, then there is no use in having that knowledge and it is truly being wasted. He then spoke of a woman from China and the life she lived. He quoted her as saying, "Humans are like tea bags, you do not know their strength until they are put in hot water." This is one of the most true statements I have ever heard. For if you do not test yourself or fight in difficult situations, you do not know your own strength. This was truly a great seminar and I am glad to have attended. Following this presentation, we went off to attend SUNY Cortland Professor JoEllen Bailey's presentation, 'Affective Assessment: Why and How.' However, unfortunately she was sick and could not attend the conference. We hope that she will present this at the college!We instead went to the 'Future Professionals Section Business Meeting and Luncheon' to see fellow SUNY Cortland student Ryan Ingalls officially be swore in as President of the club. This was a great sight to see and I also won a whistle! We then moved down to 'Great Games and Activities for Elementary Physical Education Classes' presented by the 2009 Elementary Teacher of the Year Laura Petersen-Shaw. This was a great presentation where we played various activities and learned them from a great instructor. All of the games were very elementary approriate and it was fun to act like a little kid while doing so. Cortland students were the only ones participating and it showed the dedication we all had. The final presentation of the day I attended was 'Wii Sports and Fit for Adapted Physical Education' presented by Michelle Sicurella. This was quite interesting as she showed ways to adapt the Wii for adapted students. These methods were very effective and very fun and everyone had a great time. Later that evening, we attended the Jay B. Nash Awards Dinner. This was a great experience as many teachers were recognized for their outstanding performance as well as fellow students for their achievements. The food was great and so was the atmosphere! After this, it was time yet again to relax and take it easy. We once again wandered the casino and attended the social for all conference attendees. This was another great day and we were ready for tomorrow.

Saturday morning was the last day of the conference. And this was going to be a special day for me as I was a presenter in the 'Spice Up Your Warm-Up!' presentation. The idea for the workshop is to introduce new warm up ideas for physical education classes that are more creative and more fun than just doing traditional laps. I presented alongside fellow SUNY Cortland Physical Education majors Brandon Herwick, James Thompson, Steven Jacob Colwell, Kate Bartholomew, and Dustin Pritzert. My presentation was the same as it was at the SUNY Cortland Mini-Conference. 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. It 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! Following our presentation, the conference was over and it was time to head back to Cortland. After an exciting weekend, I was ready to go back home.

The 2009 New York State AHPERD Conference was my first time attending a professional conference. And I have to say, it was an unbelievable experience. There was so much to learn and so little time to do it in. I found myself scrambling between workshops and having to decide which ones to go to when I wanted to attend all of them! It is amazing to see how many people from all over the state come to this conference. I happened to run into my former high school health teacher at one point in the weekend. I initially didn't recognize her until it was too late but luckily I got called back up and got to chat for a bit. There are so many people to meet and they all love to strike up a conversation if you have the time. You realize how passionate these people truly are about what they do and the desire they have to better themselves and help others by attending these conferences.

Having been able to present at this conference was an unreal experience. Halfway through my warm-up, I thought to myself, "wow, I'm really presenting at the state conference... this is awesome." It continued to confirm my decision in becoming a physical educator and has made me hungry for more. I have now presented at the SUNY Cortland Mini-Conference and the NYS AHPERD Conference. I will present at these again next year but I now want to go further and hpefully present at the EDA Conference and perhaps the national conference. These events truly help your professional growth but more importantly help you answer why you're doing this in the first place.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ariel's Under the Sea Adventure!!

On Wednesday November 11, 2009, we continued with our peer teaching lessons in Lab D! For this lab, we were to pick an activity in which we were not very proficient in the skills or the task itself. From this, we had to also incorporate a form of technology into the lesson to show its value and use in a Physical Education setting. This was the second day of teaching and everyone had done very well so far. After the first lesson was over, it was now my turn to teach...

One of the most uninteresting and boring activities to me is aquatics. It can be very boring just doing strokes in class and the students can get very tired of the same old activities day in and day out. I felt just this way when I took aquatics last year. While also not being a strong swimmer, I did not enjoy the class and on many occassions felt unmotivated to perform. For Lab D, I was determined to make aquatics fun. When I sat down to make my lesson plan, I wanted to take a fun component of the class and wrap a story around it in order to keep everyone's attention and also immerse them in it so that they will truly have fun and relate to the content.

For Lab D, I decided to teach the flutter kick. This is a simple movement in which the legs move for many of the strokes. However, in order to make this fun, I added flippers into the lesson in order to speed everyone up and allow them to see how fast they can move as well as increase the splash size! Using flippers had another secret motive; mermaids. In the lesson, the students were preparing to go under the sea and become mermaids to help save Ariel from Ursula. They were immediately hooked!

To begin the lesson, I stood before a bulletin board provided by the Amity Police Department. There have been some strange sightings in the water and they asked me to teach a few strokes to help eveyone stay safe in the water. However, as I am about to begin, the sea siren goes off and King Triton calls me to say Ariel has been kidnapped by Ursula and needs our help to rescue her. At this moment, I inform the students that we will alter our plans and instead go under the sea and to help Ariel. We begin by splashing our feet in the water while holding on to the side to get a feel for the kick. Then, I had them flutter kick across the pool on their backs to see how fast they could move. Seeing that we will need to move faster, I had the students put on flippers to become more like mermaids. We redid the first few activities and added a race into the mix to see how fast they could go. Following these few tasks, I had them practice going to the bottom of the pool and touching the bottom all the while using the flutter kick. After all, we were about to go under the sea so we needed some practice! Next, we performed our recovery misson and retrieve some 'poor unfortunate souls' from the center of the pools with our teams. To wrap up, I received a message from King Triton that Ariel was released and thanking us for our help. And then I informed the students that next class, since Crush the sea turtle was watching, we would take a trip on the East Austrailan Current to keep an eye on Nemo!

Going into this lesson, I felt that I was very well prepared and ready to teach. I had practiced and felt confident. When the day came to teach, one problem arose; the medicine ball for underwater soccer was not to be found. While this could have been a huge dilemma, I got past it and adapted some other equipment for a different activity to replace that of underwater soccer. Luckily I had plenty of tasks on the activity progression sheet to use instead. And I was able to develop the content rather well. This game proved to be very popular so I am glad the change happened. One of the strongest portions of my lesson was, as always, the introduction/hook. When coming up with the lesson, I wanted to use a Disney reference as we could all relate very fondly to it. We grew up with these Disney movies and it would be a great experience to relive it once again. The cues for the flutter kick were very simple; Look. Arms. Feet. Splash. These four cues were easy to remember and simple to execute allowing a facilitated acqusition of the skills. The activities used in the lesson were very appropriate for the skill being used/assessed and they were progressionally appropriate. I was also very loud and my voice was clear for the students to understand. My verbal transcription shows how I was very detailed with what I was saying. With a good story and simple cues, a lesson can be very successful in allowing students to acquire a skill.

While I did have plenty of positives about my lesson, it wasn't without its share of negatives. Many of these problems are easily noticable on my time coding sheet. One of the biggest problems was instruction time. I spoke for long amounts of time throughout the lesson leading to reduced activity time. I felt that my cues and instructions were simple enough, but some of the directions for the activities may have been a little unclear leading to many questions by the students. I have to limit this instruction and become more clear with what I want to happen. Another error was classroom management. There were numerous occurances where the transitions between activities took way too long. One spot where this could have been avoided was with the flipper distribution. I had ample time to take out and lay out the flippers before I taught and did not do so. This would have sped up the transition and allowed more time for the activity to be played. To fix this, I need to play out transitions more clearly and make equipment readily available. One of the most crucial parts of being a teacher is providing feedback. You need to tell the students how they are doing. In this lesson, I did awful with this. I initially provided zero feedback in the beginning and did not realize this until halfway through and attempted to fix it. As you can see on my feedback analysis sheet, I did not get to alot of students. I also need to check to make sure the students understand the cues and activities more often. This could lead to less confusion and quicker transitions. While these problems may have seemed major in this lesson, they can be easily fixed with better planning.

Teaching in the pool was a very unique experience. I had never done so before and I was excited to attempt to do so for Lab D. I am very pleased with how my lesson went and with how well everyone else did in their lesson as well. Everything is broken down on my Self C-9 Sheet on how I did according to what was expected of me. While my mistakes out-weigh what went right, I learned a lot from this experience and feel I could fix them next time I am able to teach. Like I always say, nothing beats a great story!

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You

It's very easy for individuals to criticize the current wars going on in Afghanistan and Iraq. They tend to disagree with the reasons for which they are fought as well as the resources being put into them. However, we cannot forget that the men and women of the United States Military are over there putting their lives on the line fighing for our freedom and our nation. They are in harsh conditions and many do not give them the respect they deserve. These individuals are among the bravest in the world and deserve our support.Take the time to shake the hand of a service man or woman and show them you care.

If you do not stand behind them, please feel free to stand in front of them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Emergency NFL Training Camp!!

On Wednesday November 4, 2009, myself and my group were to teach a lesson in our PED 380: Skill Acquisition of Team Sports class. The concept was to teach a 15 minute lesson on a team sport that would normally be taught in a Physical Education class within a group of 5 people. Our group was to teach flag football. After the other presentations, we were the final group to present...

When we were told of the presentation, there was less than a week to prepare a lesson. Our group, composed of myself, Patrick Wingler, Rachel Phillips, Chris Infante, and Adam Campbell were to flag football. Since we were all for the most part in Stephen Yang's EDU 255 class, we dubbed ourselves 'Yang-a-lang and One Ding-Dong.' We each consulted with one another on what activity to present and taking this information, I developed a lesson plan that clearly detailed what we were doing. After a quick briefing with everyone to make sure we were all on the same page, it was time to teach.

We began the lesson with an instant activity; ultimate football. The rules are the same as ultimate frisbee which made instruction and explination very simple and quick. As we had always played frisbee in EDU 255, we felt this was the best instant activity to crossover! And it proved to be a big hit. Everyone worked together and had fun. We then brought everyone in to introduce the lesson. As the rest of the group introduced themselves, I walked around pretending to be on my cell phone. When it came my time to speak, I closed the phone and told everyone how I was speaking to Roger Goodell of the NFL and how he wanted us to run an emergency training camp! This got a lot of laughs and the theme carried through the lesson. We began with passing and catching a football with a partner which would then be altered into the game-like drill of running routes once we saw mastery. After this, we conducted a modified flag football game playing 5v5. Afterward we brought them in and debriefed them closing with a challenge to defeat us, the teachers, next class.

Having only 15 minutes to teach, you realize how little time you have to get in everything you want. And being in a group of 5 people makes it even more difficult. However we were able to manage this by dividing time equally amongst us. The biggest hit was my intro/hook. Everyone genuinely thought I was on the phone and I could tell they were shocked and even a little angry about it. It was a clever way to catch attention and it did such. Having observed everyone else teach in class, we were determined to be the best. There was very little enthusiasum from the other groups and the activities were chaotic. We knew we could do better and set out to do so. Our work paid off as we were congratulated for our efforts. Coach Hoerup even commented on how she never expected that out of me! As long as you strive to do well, it will happen.

As a teacher, we have to adapt to time limits as well as number of people we are teaching with as well as number of students being taught. This was a unique experience and very fun at the same time. I cannot wait to tackle another challenge like this in the future!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

March of the Ice Sweepers Company!!

On Wednesday October 28, 2009, we continued our 'team-teaching' lessons for the International Lab C! For this lab, we were to select a nation and choose a game/sport that had originated in it. Through this, not only were we to learn about the sport itself, but also the history and culture behind it and how the sport began. This was the third day of teaching and all of the groups had done very well up until now. And after the first presentation, it was our turn to introduce our lesson...

For International Lab C, I was partnered with Patrick Wingler. Together, we chose to teach broomball a sport that had originated in Canada. When doing research on the sport and developing our lesson plan, we uncovered that there was very little knowledge of how the sport began and that Canada is attributed as it's origin due to it's similarity and likeness to the sport of hockey which is also a Canadian trademark. Due to this, we were left without a histroical approach to broomball's creation. With this in mind, we decided to create an elaborate backstory to the creation of broomball and attributed its creation to a penguin, Xavier Waddles, Ph.D. As legend has it, Dr. Waddles' cleaning company, 'March of the Ice Sweepers', was cleaning an ice rink before the Canadian winter Olympics. When a ball was hit onto the ice by accident, he swept it over to one of his employees who shot it into the net. Right here he saw an idea that would become an international phenomenon; hockey without the skates. Dr. Waddles ran over to get small kickballs and had his employees shoot them around the ice all the while running around and slipping wearing their sneakers. Broomball was invented on this day and was immediately beloved by those who came into contact with it. Xavier Waddles has gone into the history books as a not only a fine cleaner, but an extraordinary innovator.

To begin the lesson, I had the students grab a broomball stick and stand around the center circle. From here, I had them start walking around in the circle and sweep the ice clean to get a feel for it. I tossed a ball into the circle and had them sweep it amongst each other to get a feel for what the game entailed. Then, I had them move a bit faster so they could see what they needed to do to maintain balance while moving quickly. It was at this point I introduced a safety statement about how slippery the ice was. And at that moment... I slipped and fell:

I told the class it was a demonstration of what not to do when moving quickly and wrapped up the activity. I brought them in and used my visual aides to tell the history of broomball I noted earlier. I told everyone they were now employed by Dr. Waddles and we were all working together and using broomball to get the ice clean. We emphasized the cues of 'step, look, and sweep' to clean up. Following this introduction, I explained and demonstrated the first task, the 'four into three' passing drill. In groups of three, students stand on a square and pass to the open spot and one of the others follows it. This was a fun passing drill and worked on passing and moving to the ball all the while still emphasizing the cleaning theme of the lesson. Following this, we moved into the explanation and demonstration of a shooting drill. In groups of three, one person would stand in the middle and pass to the next person standing twenty feet ahead. They would then pass to the other student standing on the post who would shoot the ball into the goal or 'sweep the trash into the garbage'. This drill allowed them to work on shooting skill as well as passing learned earlier. As always we continued our cleaning theme here. Following this drill, I brought all the students back together and handed the next half of the lesson over to Pat. At this point I was done instructing but continued to assist Pat and observe his half of the lesson as he did with mine.

Going into this lesson, I was very stressed and anxious. Prior to class, there were no broomballs to use and I had to fun around looking for something to use and finally got kickballs from the equipment room. I was also late getting to the ice rink due to retesting in volleyball. Luckily Bradley and Richard went first allowing us to compose ourselves a little more. I feel the best part of my lesson was when I slipped and fell on the ice. Being able to laugh after doing something dumb got me to relax alot more and got all the stress out. As usual, the strongest part of my lesson was the introduction/hook. My Xavier Waddles story was a success and framed the entire lesson not just the beginning of it. The students enjoyed it and thats what matters most. We also used very simple cues for everyone to remember. Step. Look. Sweep. These three are so simple but are crucial to the task completion. They were easy to remember and applied to the whole lesson which helped unite both mine and Patrick's lesson segments. The demonstrations were also very simple following the outline of the cues as well as following the story of the lesson and there were plenty of activity progressions available. With simple cues and a story, it's easy to keep the students' attention.

While I did have plenty of positives in my lesson, it wasn't without its lowpoints. This was my first time teaching in the ice rink which was a learning experience not only for me but for all the students as well. I need to provide a clear safety statement and equipment to ensure their safety and constantly reinforce it. It can be rather difficult to teach in the ice rink. With all the equipment running, it can be rather difficult to hear the instructor. As my transcription shows, it was difficult to hear what I was saying to the class. One of the major issues was too much instruction time. I spoke a lot between the introduction and demonstrations which left a smaller amount of time alloted for activity. This can be seen in my time coding sheet, but there was a decent amount of playtime. Moving around on the ice can be challenging. Therefore I didn't get around enough to see everyone playing. I need to provide more feedback to everyone as best as I can so I can see how everyone is doing.

Teaching broomball was an outstanding experience! It was really fun to teach in an environment other than a gymnasium. The challenge that comes with figuring out a new venue is something I love trying to tackle. Patrick did a great job with his half of the lesson and the students left with a new understanding of the concepts of a sport they may have never heard of. In the big picture, nothing beats a strong story!

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