Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Manifest Destiny, Young Man." Western Expedition to Oceans of Opportunity - 2011 AAHPERD National Convention & Exposition

Monday March 28, 2011
Coming Soon!

Tuesday March 29, 2011
Coming Soon!

Wednesday March 30, 2011
Coming Soon!

Thursday March 31, 2011
Coming Soon!

Friday April 1, 2011
Coming Soon!

Saturday April 2, 2011
Coming Soon!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Maybe it's the Power Trying to Come Back On?

Day 1 (36) - Monday March 21, 2011
Do you feel that? Is there something coming? Sometimes you don't have to see something to know it is coming. That is exactly what I walked in expecting at Ridge Elementary School. After 8 weeks of teaching 11th and 12th grade students, it was time to begin the next 8 weeks of teaching kindergarten and first grade students. And unlike high school students, these children were all ecstatic to be in physical education class. My cooperating teaching, Ms. Beverly Hinton, was beginning the target unit today which is a culmination of the acquired skills of the overhand, underhand, and Frisbee throws. As soon as the kids walked in the gymnasium, their eyes lit up at all the stations set up for them to us. However, being that this was the first day, each station needed to be explained beforehand giving them limited, albeit some, playing time in the end. The teaching load was more than the high school where I taught 5 classes. Here at Ridge, in one day the physical education teacher can teach as many as 8 classes. By the end of the day, Ms. Hinton felt it time for me to give it a shot and teach the last class of the day. Even though I was a little nervous, I gave it my best and had the kids' attention the entire time. Ms. Hinton gave me a positive review and I look forward to working with her for the duration of this experience. Just as I stated earlier, even though I can tell when the kids are coming by a glass of water, I know not to expect the roar of the mighty tyrannosaurus but rather bright smiles and positive attitudes.

Take a look at the first edition of The Park Center Enquirer: Ridge Edition!!

Day 2 (37) - Tuesday March 22, 2011
You're not going to learn how to teach unless you go up in front of a class and give it a shot. This seems to be Ms. Hinton's philosophy with student teachers! Since I already completed my experience in the high school, she is gradually increasing the number of classes I am teaching each day starting yesterday and proceeding through today. I taught a kindergarten class and a first grade class. It would be the first time the kindergarten class was introduced to the target unit, and the second day of the target unit for the first grade class. I felt very comfortable in front of both classes and did my best to keep their attention all the while explaining what I needed to say. The kindergarten class was a little rough to teach. All of this was new to them and I tried to explain too much to them rather than simplify everything so that they could grasp the concepts easier. Things went better in the first grade class as I connected psychically with Dr. Kniffin and applied some of the teaching tactics he taught us to this class. Following each lesson, Ms. Hinton was ready with a list of things, both positive and negative aspects, regarding the lesson. This form of constructive feedback is extremely valuable to me. She is the veteran teacher and I take every word she says and I apply it to the very next lesson I teach. With her support and input, I can already tell that this experience will improve my teaching abilities vastly!

Day 3 (38) - Wednesday March 23, 2011
Even though I am three days into my placement at Ridge Elementary School, it is still proving to be a rather tedious transition and adjustment. This does not include the difference in age of the students but rather the later start time of the school, the increased workload of class periods, change in scenery/coworkers, and transport to the high school at the end of the day. However this will all hopefully fade as I continue my experience here at Ridge. Ms. Hinton and Ms. Rosenthal have both been very welcoming and I am very appreciative of that. It is nice to see the two of them teach together with the combined classes (a much more manageable number of 32 compared to the 50-60 in a high school combined class). With this being day three, Ms. Hinton had me teach three classes today. I taught one combined class, one first grade class, and one adapted physical education class. The two former classes went very well with the first grade class being hailed by Ms. Hinton as my best one yet. However, the adapted physical education class, my first experience since my course at Cortland, proved to be a little more challenging to instruct. There were only five in the class but it was quite a bit to handle. It was easy for students to fall off task or not listen to directions. Transitions proved difficult as well as explanations. Ms. Hinton said I handled it well but I know I can do better. For next time, I know that I need more patience and a stronger game-plan.

Day 4 (39) - Thursday March 24, 2011
On day four at Ridge Elementary School that meant it was time for me to teach four of the seven of Ms. Hinton's classes. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Ms. Rosenthal, the other physical education teacher, is up in the intermediate center teaching which leaves all classes in the hands of Ms. Hinton and as of now my hands as well. Each class I would teach and Ms. Hinton would sit back as if she were a fly on the wall observing and taking notes. For the most part, the classes were all very well behaved today. One class of note started off very well but quickly fell off track behaviorally. They began class quietly, finished warm-ups quickly, and listened while I told directions. However, when it can time to play, they were loud and not responsive to some directions. I did my best to get them back on task using negative reinforcement to ween them off the undesirable behaviors by praising the positive. It seemed to work but I still think it could have gone better. Directions and guidelines need to be laid out at the beginning of class and reinforced throughout the class session. Next time, I will be sure to focus on this. On a side note, I had another adapted physical education class today and it went great! The students were very responsive and cooperative with my directions and instruction. Ms. Hinton commended me on a job well done and I look forward my next experience with them!

Day 5 (40) - Friday March 25, 2011
It is the end of the first week at Ridge Elementary School! Surprisingly, this week went extremely quick. It has been quite the fun week. Not but one week ago, I was doing my best to get high school students to get up and jog around the gym and now I am trying to get students to focus so we can get to their favorite games and activities. In the high school, physical activity seemed to be a punishment and sitting out was a blessing. It's totally opposite in the elementary school. The students just want to play! Due to having less classes and two teachers, I did not max the week out at five classes taught. But rather I taught three. Since it was Friday and the weather was beautiful, the kids were excited for the weekend and to get outside. My main focus was to get them to focus! And it all went pretty well today. I am inching closer and closer to completing my elementary teaching style. I am more animated, goofy, and, most importantly, stern when I need to be. The kids have grown to respect me and Ms. Hinton told me this was the best first week for a student teacher she has had in years! One drawback of the elementary school is the lack of conversation outlets. In the high school, there were 14 teachers and various others who would come to chat. In the elementary school, it's two teachers and the seldom visitor if any. I seem to notice that there is an abundance of female teachers. This is something that I will get adjusted to in time. I look forward to my future weeks here at Ridge Elementary School but first, it's time to head to San Diego!

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Your Show and You've Done Well... Now Go Out with a Bang!

Day 31 - Monday March 14, 2011
Just because an idea works on paper, doesn't mean it is going to work in reality. That is how my offense and defense drill turned out in today's hockey lesson. My idea was to perform a 3v2 offense v. defense drill to reinforce these positions before we began games. I split the courts in half and had the students working in groups of 10 rotating in and out on a time based schedule. As it turns out, this drill isn't too fun nor is it easy to explain to kids who simply want to play and have fun. After two periods of this dreadful drill, I asked Mr. Reilly if he had any ideas on how to fix this drill or any ideas for a new drill. As it turns out, he was just the man to ask. He offered me a drill; 2v2 offense and defense in a straight line toward the goal. There would be eight lines and four goals with two lines working together and rotating through the positions. This turned out to be a huge success with the students. It allowed them to move freely throughout the space of the gymnasium as well as focus on the decision-making process I had been stressing for the offense and defense. Sometimes, your drill may not work and it's never bad to ask for help. Mr. Reilly helped me out today but as he said, each day is a learning experience. If it doesn't work for one class, make a change and see if that works. Otherwise, it will simply get stale.

Day 32 - Tuesday March 15, 2011
As I continue the final week of my experience at Longwood High School, the closure process begins: saying goodbye to students, say goodbye to staff, final evaluations, the list goes on. I met with Mr. Dillon today and he stated that, as with other student teachers, in their final week he performs a mock job interview with them. As it turns out, today was the day for my mock interview. Many of the questions he asked were simple, some I had heard before and others were new. However, when it came time to answer, I realized that I still had a lot of work to do in both answering more efficiently and making myself more marketable to potential employers. I answered the initial questions successfully but when he would follow up with continuous extensions to that question, I began to fumble. He told me that the most important thing in an interview is to be confident and comfortable. Talk early, talk often, and always ask questions. This process was one of the most valuable experiences of this placement. Mr. Dillon said that anytime I needed to practice or if I had any questions to feel free to contact him and go through it again. This was comforting as I now have additional outlets to help better myself as I prepare to enter the job market.

Day 33 - Wednesday March 16, 2011
After sitting through multiple rule explanations, numerous drills, and constant reminders, it was finally time to begin playing floor hockey in Mr. Reilly's sport module one physical education classes. Unfortunately, playing time was going to be rather low especially since we were in a gymnasium with Mr. Schroeder's classes for four periods and Ms. K's class for one period. We divided the gymnasium in half and played two separate games: competitive and noncompetitive. Throughout the day, there was rarely an even balance between the two sides. It would be lopsided one way or the other. And that is where it would get difficult to manage. The kids would get restless and hop on the court when their team was waiting on the sidelines. Initially, we would have games of 7v7 and at times they would balloon to 12v10 if we were not noticing who came on and who came off. Mr. Reilly noted this between classes that we cannot ever let that happen again. For the remainder of the day, I was strict with the number on each team and how much time each would play was balanced as evenly as I could. I know that in big classes it can be difficult to get a lot of activity time for most of the class. However, activity time must always be sacrificed for the well being and safety of the students in the class.

Day 34 - Thursday March 17, 2011
In this new era of physical education, students are not simply expected to know how to physically perform a skill or task, but rather they are also expected to know how to cognitively identify the critical components of a movement and how they associate with other aspects of the activities. Today, I administered a unit test for both team handball and floor hockey. I created the test myself based upon what was covered in class and based off of what my objectives were for the end of each unit. Prior to the test, I distributed a review sheet for student who wanted to study and prepare. On the day of the test, it was surprising to see many students struggle with the content. Several times in each class I received multiple questions regarding whether or not a certain concept was covered or not. Eventually, I would give hints to the whole class based upon questions in which numerous students seemed to have struggled answering. It is unclear whether this was a result of a difficult test, a lack of thorough explanation on my part, or a lack of studying on the student part. Regardless, next time I need to ensure that all concepts are covered and reinforced it they are going to be on a test. This way, students will all be able to excel in class.

Day 35 - Friday March 18, 2011
Unbelievable. After 8 weeks at Longwood High School, my student teaching experience comes to an end. It is hard to believe that I have only been in this school since January 24, 2011. I feel as if this is a place where I belong and would hope to one day work. Since this was my last day, I brought in bagels and orange juice for all of the physical education staff as a thank you for my time with them. The teaching portion of this day went without a hitch. There were no issues in the classes as the students completed their exams and played hockey with me for the final time. Perhaps the most important moment of the day was the conversation reflecting on my experience that I had with Mr. Reilly. In a one-on-one conversation, we discussed my growth from the first day up until today. He was very proud of the strides that I had made to improve myself both professionally and personally. And to him, I thanked him for hosting me as his student teacher and offered gratitude for all he had done in the form of a simple gift and the most powerful show of respect, a handshake. I feel as if I had grown a lot as a person through my experiences at Longwood High School. It was upsetting to say goodbye to many of the students and teachers on this last day. However, I know it will not be the last time that I see them. I will see them again in the future both in person as well as in the teacher that they all assisted in developing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Reactions to Situations Cannot Be Tested on a Piece of Paper

Source -

Day 26 - Monday March 7, 2011

You cannot anticipate the unanticipated, however, you need to prepare for it whenever the situation calls for it. In physical education class, one of the most critical and vital components the teacher needs to enforce is safety for self and others. Today in class, Terry Phelan's words of safety immediately came to mind. During a class, one student hit their head on the floor attempting to catch a fly ball in a handball game. While they did immediately get up, you could tell that they seemed dazed and confused about the events that preceded the fall. The student was immediately brought to the nurse's office for observation and following this, presumably brought to the hospital for an examination. Because of Terry Phelan's constant reminders, I always stress safety before and during game-play in class. However, it's a hard thing to take in once an accident occurs. For the remainder of the day, I issued an even more explicit safety statement before and during each class and had a zero tolerance attitude for any plays deemed dangerous or potentially unsafe. While this was an accident, it saddened me for the remainder of the day wondering what the diagnosis of any potential injury was for this student. I truly hope this student is alright and will continue to be an advocate for classroom safety as I continue my student teaching experience. I also need to continue to prepare to react accordingly to any potential situations that arise.
Today, I began my volunteer coaching position with the Mr. Roenbeck, Mr. Huey, and Mr. Gibson and the varsity girls' track and field team. I look forward to this experience and hope to learn as much as I can from both the coaches and the athletes!

**UPDATE 3/8/11** The student who was injured in class was diagnosed with a mild concussion and otherwise will be fine. Best wishes to this student on their road to full recovery!

Day 27 - Tuesday March 8, 2011
Today was the first of the last two days of the team handball unit. When this was announced to the class, their were mixed reactions with more students having anticipation to move forward and begin the upcoming floor hockey unit which will bring them through the remainder of the third quarter. As promised last week, this would be a day of champions as each class would crown a handball champion among the teams who had competed against one another for the past five weeks. In order to make it a little more enticing, I brought in a toy WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt as a prop to signify today's importance. As soon as I took out the belt to show the class, their faces lit up and they were ecstatic to see a tangible representation of success and achievement. I told them that the winners would be able to wear the belt if desired and physically become the champion. It was a true success as the game-play was the highest it had been in a long time. It was turned out to be a great day to and storyline to close the unit on for this set of classes. This storyline showed me that no matter how old students are, props and tangible accolades will always be motivators for success and enthusiasm. As we move into the hockey unit, and very soon to my elementary experience, I will discover new ways in which to capture their imaginations and let them run free!

Day 28 - Wednesday March 9, 2011
After 23 says, or 115 class periods, the team handball unit finally came to a close! While I do enjoy the sport, I must admit, I was rather burned out with the sport after such a long time of doing the same thing. Each class period would be a carbon copy of the original one and it seemed to drag on for a while. However, in order to sell the idea of the game to the students, I never once made it seem as if I was tired of the sport. I would continue to run each class as if it were the most important lesson so that the kids would be drawn into the action and maintain their enthusiastic attitudes. As a future teacher, there may be some units in which I will be given to teach that I may or may not have the most experience or the most tolerance for. That is, however, a mute point as I need to be an expert on whatever I teach and maintain a positive view of the content in order to get the kids involved. Wearing one's 'teaching mask' is vital to their success. If the kids can see that you are apathetic toward the content, then they will too be apathetic and the class will spiral out of control. While I wholeheartedly look teaching in the floor hockey unit, it will be bittersweet to depart with team handball, the first teaching unit of my student teaching career!

Day 29 - Thursday March 10, 2011
Every ending leads to a new beginning. With the conclusion of the team handball unit comes the beginning of the floor hockey unit. Considering that the great majority of the team handball unit was spent playing games in the XHL tournament, this would be the first actual lesson where I would teach rules, concepts, and skills. Going into the day, it was the first time this placement that I was a little nervous to be in front of the class teaching. And to make matters worse, whereas only three of the ten classes we had were double classes, all periods on both days were to become double classes. Instead of 25 or so students in a class, I now had to manage 50-60 students in a smaller gymnasium in a unit where safety was a crucial aspect. Many of the kids were a little apprehensive about beginning floor hockey. They all enjoyed the team handball unit and weren't too keen on change especially since most of the first lesson was rule explanation. For all five periods it was simply me as the lead teacher. The kids cooperated during the explanation and expectations and we were able to get to some shooting drills at the end of the period. As a teacher, I have to expect the unexpected. I planned my lesson around the belief I would have 25 students but had to modify on the spot to accommodate nearly 60 students which included some activities. For the future, I must plan my lessons around any potential curve-balls that may be thrown out at me. And for the students, I know rule explanation can be boring and repetitive. I tried to make it as interactive as possible in order to keep them interested. I am excited to continue into next week to develop the unit!

Day 30 - Friday March 11, 2011
After nearly seven weeks at Longwood High School, very seldom did I have any major behavioral or disciplinary issues. If anything, those issues were minor, dealt with swiftly, and did not impede instruction or activity time. Well, in today's seventh period class, I received all behavioral issues on a massive scale. As usual, this would be a double class with nearly sixty students. This would be the tenth time I explained the rules of floor hockey as well as the activities. At this point, I was able to provide a thorough explanation in a rather timely manner. However, I did not anticipate the students' actions. From the start, students would converse with one another while I was trying to explain the rules, they would continually ask irrelevant questions, and even at one point, three students who were not in the class entered the gymnasium and disrupted the class. Mr. Reilly interjected multiple times to try to get them to focus but it proved to be ineffective. After this, there was barely ten minutes left to warm-up and play so I moved quickly to get the activity in. However, when I was trying to explain the activity, the kids were throwing sticks on the floor, talking and being disrespectful. It was at this point I decided not to let them play. I instead provided a monologue regarding the incident. It was non-threatening and non-confrontational and yet stern. I understand that they may be tired after a long day of school but at the end of it, I am a teacher and I should still be treated as such. As a teacher, you need to be stern and assert control of the class otherwise it will be lost. I hope my final two days with this class will be more productive than this was.