Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ho ho ho! Santas Sick!!

Our activity today involved a lot of traveling in place of poor Santa. He was sick, coughing and wrapped in a blanket stuck at the North Pole. Little elves and reindeer had to deliver presents to different houses, complete tasks and follow a path which led them to the north pole. Everyone found a partner and decided who was an elf who was the reindeer. The elf sat on the scooter holding onto one end of the jump rope while the reindeer held onto the opposite end. 4-5 hula hoops were placed around the playing area designated as houses. Each group carried a bag of toys and had to deliver toys to each house. Not only that, each house also had a list of instructions: Count Santa's cookies, jump in and out of the hula hoop and take a toy, balance a bean bag on your head to the next house. Whatever their task may of been, they loved every minute of it. The scooters played a huge role in grasping the students attention. I enjoyed watching all the kids share turns as well as use the scooters responsibly. One of my favorite parts of the game was the end. We all gathered around Santa and told him about our the travels that he missed out on. The gathering gave me a Strong sensation of Christmas and family. Just the fact that we were all huddled together sharing stories gave me a warm feeling inside. It was a great way to end our last game at St. Mary's.

Don't Forget The Gravy!

Today we provided instuction on dribbling and kicking. In order to keep the thanksgiving tradition alive, we corellated a feast theme into our kicking activity. We taped carrotts, mashed potatos, and turkeys on the walls all over the gym. The kids were then assigned a partner, and by passing to each other and moving briskly around the gym, they had to create a "feast." In order to create a feast, the students had to kick and aim the ball at the differnt food items that were taped to the wall in different areas in the gym. After they hit enough items to create a feast, they then had to report to a college student and explain their different feasts. At first, the students did not take this game seriously, but we kept initiating the tasks. Eventually they became more involved in the theme and a Thanksgiving feast was underway. The next activity we organized for the St Mary's students was a weaving drill that finished with a shot at goal. With a soccer ball students were to (one by one)weave in and out of the cones and try to score a goal on one of the college students at the end of the course. I noticed that most students did not commit to the change in direction. They would hesitate before they attempted to vear around the next cone. As I studied their movements, I thought it would be best to suggest some pointers to the ones having trouble. Staying low is vital in changing direction. I also told them to trust themselves a little more when crossing through the cones. The more you committ at a game speed pace, the better you will become. During the last 30 minutes of our turkey theme day, I spend a good amount of time passing the ball with a girl named Jordon. I noticed her shirt had a fall league soccer logo on it, and instantly knew the type of exercises I wanted to share with her. I taught her a few different foot tricks. I taught her a handful of different ways to trap the ball according to the speed at which the ball approaches her. I enjoyed working with Jordon becuase she showed interest in the basics of soccer and was very coachable. Gradually, she would pick up the moves and attempt them before passing the ball back at me. Hopefully, she carries these small pointers into her soccer league next season.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Behind Closed Doors we have a Mess!!

Our group responsibility might not have seemed very important at the time, but behind closed doors, it would make a big difference for tomorrow and the day after. Eventually, when we all venture out into the real world, teaching will not be the only aspect of our day to day curriculum. Organization, cleanliness, and safety are all very important things to keep a friendly, healthy teaching atmosphere. We started off the day assisting other groups with their gym activities. Shortly after some throwing, tossing, and running exercises, we were assigned closet duty. We started in the big bin of color coordinated activity bags. These bags were color coated, along with the supplies that were supposed to be in them. Things such as jump ropes, basketballs, and dodgebals were all miss matched and carelessly thrown into the bin. All of these items were randomly thrown into the bin and tangled into on big blob of color. Eventually, we sorted out everything and put the items back into their respectable bags and tossed the bags back into the bin. The kids will have a much easier time finding the activity they choose. Not only are these different balls in different colors to appeal to Jessica or Micheal's eye, but they are now easy accessible. We finished the fun filled day with a little Wiggles theme song: "Shake your sillies out." As we began the dance/song routine, I looked over to a 5 or 6 year old. He was rolling his eyes in disapproval to the song we had chosen. I looked right at him, got down to his level and said: "Who really cares what you look like or how old you are? I'm 21 and still shaking my sillies out." It's just for fun and only you can judge yourself!" He liked my advice and started shaking more then most of the students around him! My "words of silly wisdom" was the best way to end Mondays class. I can only hope that he goes on in life with more of an open mind.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Everybody is It! Lets get Crazy!

Working with the Pre K kids was by far my best experience since we've started at St Mary's. I found it very interesting that more then half the class wanted to play some sort of tag. Most of them were satisfied by wanting to be chased or chasing others. They found it even more thrilling if they were faster then the Cortland students. "I'm faster then you." I heard this quote plenty of times. The playground was so small, yet I still managed to break a sweat running around crazily with these kids. I began formulating strategies with groups of different kids:"If you go that way around the slide, I'll go the other way, and we'll catch him on the other side!" Kids do not usually like to pay attention for that long, but when it involved catching somebody or running someplace, their attention was mine. Not only were the kid's heart rates moving along, but so were their imaginations. One girl came to me with a handful of seeds. I asked her if her seeds grew pine trees. She became overly excited and figured they grew pine trees, regardless of the truth! Then said: "I'm going home to plant these seeds so all the squirrels in the neighborhood can live in my tree, and then I can kill the squirrels and eat them for dinner!" I was not expecting her story to end up so violent, but I found it intriguing. I also noticed how hard it was to get some of the shy kids to play. Some would sit like a rock inside the tunnels, and no matter how hard I tried to get them involved, they stayed isolated from the rest of the group. They would answer my questions with a head nod or a head shake, but nothing more. I noticed that one of the kids had super-man shoes. Maybe next time I can engage in a conversation about superheros with him. When we went inside for snack time, I had the opportunity to read to the kids. I read a book about a ghost who was not able to say "Boo!!" Even though it was a story, the kids were excited and interested by what I had to say. It was heart warming. They could not wait until the next page. This enthusiasm brought me to a different world. Sometimes, working with kids makes me so happy that I can channel out all the bad things in life-and hold on to that very moment and just appreciate it for what its worth.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Up, up, and Ka--Boom!!=(

My second lab session at St Mary's started off great! It was a beautiful day, and I walked into the gym with a positive attitude and a white mask =) The kids seemed to enjoy the super-hero theme that the Cortland students came prepared with. Our lab group went outside to start off our after school activities. Most of the class ran to the parking lot to play kickball. I stayed on the playground with a few of the students because they decided not to play the game. I engaged in conversation with a boy named Mike. He was around the age of 6. He had quite the imagination. We walked over to the corner of the playground and saw large pieces of the playground all laid out in a pile. I said to him: "Why are they taking down your playground?" He continued to correct me and said that the pieces were donated to the school and have been sitting there for more than a year. Regardless of the validity of our conversation, it was interesting! He continued to say how he could build it himself! He wanted a bigger playground so he could do more of his tricks on the equipment (which he was demonstrating to me during our conversation). I told him to ask for a tool box for Christmas. I liked talking to this kid, and it was amazing to see how intelligent he was. Everything was going great; we were hanging and climbing all over the play-ground. All of a sudden, "Boom!!" He flipped around one of the metal bars and smashed his nose onto the wood and then onto a tire. He was on the ground in less than a second! Blood everywhere. I felt like it was my fault. I also felt like I could of caught him. I finally realized that accidents happen-he was taken to the nurse and taken care of. When his father came to pick him up, I looked at him and told him he was really tough!!! He looked at me with ice packed close to his nose and said: “Your name tag is falling off!!" It was priceless. This type of incident was unfortunate, but in a way, prepared me. When working with kids in the future, accidents will happen on a regular basis. Kids will get injured, and instead of panicking you must bring them to the nurse, relax, and immediately contact the parent if the injury is serious.

Hall of Shame? Don't get it Twisted!

Whenever my physical education teacher announced that we would be starting the class with Simon says, my eyes widened and I was ecstatic! Mr. Jaffie (my PE teacher in grade school) twisted and molded the game of Simon says into his very own. There was no shame to his style of the game. Only smiles, exercises, and cognitive interaction. Mr Jaffie's style was unlike any other. His lightning speed during the game was the first indication of his commitment to keeping the game alive. I never remember him taking more then half a second to go into the next "Simon says do this." Kids were engaged into the faster pace of the game because they like the challenge. Even if they made a mistake, Mr. Jaffie assigned a physical activity for them to complete in order to get back into the game. Simon says was not necessarily about winning, but about movement and repetition, awareness, and cardio. Not only was this game a good cardiovascular activity, it triggered the mind. The rapid pace forced students to concentrate, listen, and absorb instruction quicker than normal. This could benefit them in the future. Thinking fast and performing tasks with little time to think about them are methods used during sports. This game stimulated my reflexes and it’s possible that it contributed to my accomplishments in athletics.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Speaker from Brooklyn

I just wanted to mention the speaker who came to our classroom the other morning. I do not recall his name, but he inspired me so easily! My recent goal has been to move to New York City and attend graduate school there. I fell in love with the city last time i visited, and did not want to leave! I understand the complexity and obstacles that the city has in store for me..but if he can do it, I feel like I can do it too. It takes a strong person to work with a deep cultured inner city school program. More importantly, I believe teaching would be a challenge. When our speaker mentioned that he taught Physical Education in Brooklyn for 3 years, I was taken back. It may sound lame, but I absorbed his energy and advice and took it as a sign. I was drawn in by his every word and truly amazed by his accomplishments. I only hope that I can make a similar difference in the unfortunate decline in physical activity. This course is simply a foundation in the making that will help me branch out and accomplish that goal.