Monday, April 25, 2011

The Champ is Here!!

Day 16 (51) - Monday April 25, 2011

After a nice relaxing week-long spring break, it was back-to-school for the final 18 day stretch of my student teaching experience! It is hard to believe that in less than one month, not only will student teaching have been completed, but I will have graduated from SUNY Cortland with my undergraduate degree in physical education. However, in order to get to that point, I need to continue to shape the children at Ridge Elementary School into physically educated individuals. This week would be an important turning point in my student teaching experience as we would begin to assess the students under the President's Challenge at the end of the week. In order to get the students focused on the impending assessment, I adopted a new phrase for the week; it is time to get serious. I needed to have them all focus on their exercises and practice as if they were being assessed in every practice. At this age, it is not very difficult to motivate children however I felt it necessary to go a little beyond what was necessary in order to get them motivated. With the WWE World Heavyweight Championship around my waist, I told the story of my spring break where I won the title by using the very same exercises in which they were performing. I stressed the fact that while someone may or may not be the strongest person, if they practice regularly and set goals, then they can achieve anything. That is the first step in their path to the President's Challenge. As I continue into my teaching career, motivating students to succeed is one of the most important aspects to focus on. I need to show them that they too can reach their goals if they simply set and work toward them. Anything is possible for those who want it most.

Day 17 (52) - Tuesday April 26, 2011
Every now and then, everyone goes through bumps in the road that can affect their performance in their everyday lives and responsibilities. With many things in my personal life not going too well, it seemed as if my stress and frustration came out a little bit in my teaching. I would begin each class well; however, as they progressed, each lesson seemed to come off a little stale and a little boring. Ms. Hinton wanted me to stick simply to the basics and not add 'filler' to my speaking during the lesson. Between personal issues and a focus on what I had to say, I lost my composure once in a while and therefore the lesson was adversely affected. Again, I was nit-picking behavior and not being overly positive. Ultimately I fell back upon the words of Stephen Yang from my motor development class (the very class where my teaching journey began); "even with all of your problems and personal convictions, you can never let them show through to your students... each day you need to wear your teaching mask." I now understand these words truer than ever before. The educational experience of the children should not be compromised because I am having a bad day. I need to shake off any worries or concerns at the door and let the energy of the lessons and the students guide my actions. One of the most important things I have discovered is that you must live the lesson and not force the lesson to live your life.

Day 18 (53) - Wednesday April 27, 2011
After two days of bumps in the road, I was back on the highway ready to move forward. In order to mentally get to the place I needed to be, I viewed each class I taught today as the best class in the entire school. Through this, I would be able to utilize all of the components of my personality and teaching skills in order present a quality lesson to the students. Today was the first day of assessing the students for the President's Challenge. The test of the day was for curl-ups. In order to ensure that the students were engaged in some sort of activity while we were assessing, we implemented stations into the lesson. The testing station was located in the corner and had a bird's eye view of all students within the gymnasium. After a brief introduction, we were off and running and the students provided the skills. Each student in both classes that were assessed met the criteria for either the National or the Presidential awards. This was very enlightening as it was a sign that all of the practice paid off and the students were able to become physically stronger. As a teacher it is a pleasure to see student improvement because it is a product of both parties' collaborative efforts. The adapted physical education class also proved to be a successful lesson as well. Ms. Hinton and I were very satisfied with my improvements since the last few days and I look forward to a strong finish to this experience. It is now safe to say that the champ... is... here!!

Day 19 (54) - Thursday April 28, 2011
I'm sorry but we will not be having physical education class today in the gymnasium. That was the big news story today. There seemed to have been some issues with the gymnasium which made it unusable for the day. Rather than use the gym, we used the school's all-purpose room located down the hall. Unfortunately, this room was a quarter of the size of the gymnasium but we had to make due. We moved select pieces of equipment into the all-purpose room and continued our station rotation and President's Challenge curl-up test. Even with the limited space, the classes still went well and there were very good results on the curl-up test. Some kindergarten students were able to perform over thirty curl-ups in one minute! This situation demonstrated that a teacher has to be ready with alternative plan in the event that their teaching facilities were unusable. When it was decided that we were not to use the gymnasium today, Ms. Hinton immediately sprung into action and we were set up in the all-purpose room within ten minutes. However, not all things went well today. The stations proved to be a little chaotic and it was difficult, as the teacher, to split time between assessing the students and monitoring behavior. After an evaluation at the end of the day, Ms. Hinton and I determined that it was better to eliminate the stations and develop a new course of action for testing. It is sometimes more important to sacrifice activity time to ensure the student's safety.

Day 20 (55) - Friday April 29, 2011
Lights, cameras, action! Oh wait, the lights just went out. That would be how the day would begin. Just before the first class of the day, the electricity in the school went off. And not but five minutes later, the fire alarm went off. While these may seem like detrimental parts of the day, I did get some valuable experiences out of it. This was my first opportunity to bring students out and monitor them during a fire drill. As it turned out, we were outside for quite a while and the kids were becoming restless. However, I did my best to maintain their focus and entertain them in order to keep them quiet. After the fire drill was all over, we were still unable to use the gymnasium for the first half of the day. We continued our curl-up testing for the President's Challenge in the school's all-purpose room. Unlike the previous few days, we no longer used stations in the gymnasium or all-purpose room. We instead had the students sit and watch their classmates perform their exercises during the test. While it seemed as if this would be a poor judgment, it was a necessary one. Students were in one area where I was able to observe them and know that they were safe. We stretched in-between tests and ran outside so that they were somewhat active. It is a fair trade-off to have a few classes of inactivity rather than a few classes of chaotic mayhem. In my future, I need to ensure that I develop teaching environments conductive to safety and activity.

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