Thursday, April 23, 2009


Today we did an Easter themed activities with the children. My group had the pre-school students so first we had them design their own Easter baskets. Then we read them a Dora the Explorer Easter story, which related to the activity in the gym. Then when we brought them to the gym they really connected and enjoyed the Easter egg hunt with their new Easter baskets. I really enjoyed working with the younger children.
My experience with the pre-K kids was very different then working with the older kids. Working with the pre-school students is different because it is harder to keep their attention, they are very touchy, and they are just not as experienced in some of the skills we working on. It was difficult, for I feel we were worried that in some activities they would get trampled on by the older kids, but designating an area in the corner of the gym really helped this issue. But overall was fun, for example when we combined a book with the activity in the gym. I really enjoyed working with the younger aged children, for they don’t complain as much as the older ones, and when it comes down to teaching them skills they will listen, for they will be learning things for the first time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

~Hands AnD Feet~

Today we observed the children do two controlling skills, passing with their feet and dribbling with their hands. The group that worked with the children this week did a great job incorporating two opposite skills to get the children involved. Putting together a drill that uses two different parts of the body must have been difficult.

Thinking about all the activities we did as a whole with the children at St. Mary’s I feel that they were pretty age appropriate. And in the instances that they weren’t I believe we did our best to adjust the games in order to keep the children interested and performing the skills that we were looking for. I think that the games were appropriate because I feel on the first day we observed the children we were going to be working with and got a feeling for the age and ability level; therefore going into the gym the next few times we had an advantage.

There will always be limitations when teaching, that’s why we as students becoming teachers need to get a feel of the different limitations and learn to work around them. For example, one of the limitations that we had was there was too many adults to children, not allowing for each individual to be the leader of an activity. But to overcome these limitations while in our groups, we were each able to lead a different part of each activity allowing for full interaction and experience. The lesson of overcoming limitations is important to learn as a student becoming a teacher.

Pizza's Ready

Today was the day that my group put together a pizza game; which enabled the children to show the motor skills of throwing and catching. The object of the game was for them to throw the toppings over the oven (a set area of empty space) in the gym to their teammate to put on the pizza. After a certain amount of time we switched the sides this way each child was able to throw and catch. I believe our game went very well; our props and enthusiasm really got the kids into the game.

Looking back at my experience at St. Mary’s there have definitely been some challenges working with the kids. I think the first challenge was our experience as teachers. I strongly believe that we all have experience with working kids one-on-one, but the difference now is that there is a bunch of kids of kids to keep occupied at the same time. Keeping a whole bunch of children happy and occupied is a difficult task, but for the most part I feel with the assistance of people with more experience we were able to do a good job. I also think that another challenge that we faced was the time of day. After school programs are hard due to the fact that the kids are all hyper and just want to run around. Personally my difficulty is being assertive and running an activity; I need to get over my fear of getting in front of people and teaching a lesson. I feel with time and feeling comfortable with the activity I will be able to overcome these challenges.
I believe that provideing the right environment for the children really effect how they learn. For example, in order the grab the kids attention and get them enthusiastic about playing we played music. In order to resolve some of these difficulties, I feel I should get involved with more programs working with kids. Getting comfortable with an activity that I put together and work with the kids. I think with a little more experience I will be able to overcome my fear and positively influence the youth.

Jumping Around!

Today at St. Mary’s Elementary School we observed two children Rowen and Anthony. Both of these children are six years old and are in kindergarten. One would think that since both of these kids are the same age they would have the same ability; but this is not the case. Based on my observation both the kids had no problem completing the skill of sliding based on the criteria from the worksheet. On the other hand the other two skills were a little different. Anthony had no problem completing the horizontal jump, but Rowen had to be taking to the side in order to perfect this skill. The part she had to work on was reaching full extension above her head; but once the group pulled her aside, and helped her she was able to show all the steps to completing the skill successfully. The last skill, which I believed to be the hardest one, was the leap. I believe this was the most difficult skill, for its two motor skills in one; a leap is a skip and a jump. Combining these two skills make it difficult for children to grasp on their own. Rowen had difficulty with the first criteria, taking off on one foot and landing on the opposite foot. On the other hand, Anthony had difficulty with the second criteria, which is a period of time where both feet off the ground. Although both these children had difficultly the group did a great job realizing their difficulties and taking the children aside to work on these skills.
As important it is for us as the “college kids” to connect with these children, it is just as important for the children to connect with us. I feel as though that the environment in which we are connecting with these kids makes a huge difference. I believe the best connection with the 5th and 6th graders takes place in the gym, when we challenge them to knockout, for it is a game they enjoy as well as a game that we can play with them. Whereas connecting with the preschoolers is best taking place in the class room when they are in groups of 2 or 3, for when they get to the gym they want to run around. In the class room you can talk to them and find out what kind of games they like so you can play with them when you get to the gym. A “teaching strategy” that I have been trying to work on is connecting with the children outside the gym therefore, when we finally get to the gym, they are more likely to enjoy the game you bring, for they trust you outside the gym.

After being at St. Mary’s for the past three weeks, there are strategies that work and don’t work when capturing their attention. For example, when starting a game giving them a question that they can answer negatively doesn’t work because they get off task. Grabbing their attention means being loud and knowing what you are going to say, for if you don’t understand what you are explain they will not understand either.

Zany Zoo

Based on the activities and the participation of the kids at St Mary’s this week, I believe that age and gender played a huge role in a child’s ability to perform different skills. The skills we assessed today were the run, gallop, and hop. I believe the most challenging skill was the gallop. The girls were more relaxed when performing the skills. Whereas the boys wanted to do each skill as fast as they could. The one girl in particular that we watched was Casey, she was 6 years old in kindergarten. The only skill she had difficulty doing was the gallop, but after additional assistance she was able to gallop in no time. Age also played a factor in ability, for after the gym my group went to the Pre-K room, where I played dress up with the little girls. Finally, when we brought them back to the gym my group set up an obstacle course for them, but once again the boys went as fast as they could and the girls were more relaxed. Over all they were constantly running; both age and gender played a role in their ability.

Today at St. Mary’s my group put together the game zany zoo, which allowed the children to perform a variety of different motor skills in relay race form. This was a great way for me to get some interaction with the students on a personal level. There have been some “teaching strategies” that I have been trying to work on when I am with the children. Today during my group’s game, zany zoo, I worked on interacting with the children. This means getting down to their level, talking to them, reading them the cards, and even demonstrating, therefore they know what you are looking for. This interaction allows for the kids to get to know me and trust me, as a teaching figure.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Teaching Is Coaching!

As part of being athlete here at SUNY Cortland we were required to attend a speaker; Marvin Lewis the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. I really enjoyed this speaker, for he was not there to tell us about alcohol, he was there to inform us about his career and that being a coach is just as important as being a teacher. He started the speech by stating that the fact that we were introduced to the things we do today are luck. For example, I play soccer so he stated that it is luck that my family introduced me to soccer and I am still playing in college today. Then he went on talking about the importance of coaching and the amount of time, dedication, and ability to coach the best is very difficult. He also told us that it is the hardest to coach the kids that already understand the skills and execute them correctly, for you put them to high standards and you want all the others to do as they do; and as a result they tend to get very board very quickly. I found this speaker very helpful and informative, considering that I would like to be a coach one day.

A Day @ St. Mary's

1. When working with the children at St. Mary’s school I observed that the kids varied in social and motor behavior skills. I worked with the older kids, 5th and 6th graders. I believed they stayed on task fairly well. They really enjoyed mob tag and knock out. Socially these kids were developed, they were not clingy. For the most part they agreed on the same games. What I found that really worked was with this age group giving them options; we had the gym space to give them the choice of knock or mob tag. I strongly believe that this grade level was a factor is motor development, but as far as gender and ability goes the girls and boys did the same actions.
2. The fine motor skills that I observed with these children include running, boundaries, aiming, shooting, and catching. While playing mob tag both the girls and the boys had a good idea of strategies for how to catch people; and they were very good about staying in bounds and using the boundaries as a way corner people in. When we got to knock out the kids were very good at making baskets I was very surprised.