Monday, March 26, 2012

Field Experience Day 10 - March 20th, 2012

           Students with Special Needs:

            Today at St. Mary’s school, I optioned to stay an extra class and observe the 6th grade class. The students from this class had the same opportunity as the last class to go outside on this beautiful day. They played kickball, through footballs, jump roped and hit balls against the wall. The reason I decided to stay an extra class was to observe a particular student with special needs.
            This student was a high functioning autistic child. He rarely needed help focusing on a task. The autistic child had certain obsessions that would overwhelm him if not given an opportunity to satisfy his obsessions. He liked to hold the door open for students and teachers going in and out of the gymnasium as well as outside. Mr. Mack explained that if another student or teacher intervened the autistic student would throw a fit and yell dramatically. Mr. Mack also expressed that one time the student held the door open at the end of class for students for almost ten minutes not knowing if students were still in the locker room. There were no teachers or students around the area. Mr. Mack found him waiting there for people to come out. He had to explain to the student that he was suppose to be in class and that next time he should yell into the locker room to see if anyone is there.

            Mr. Mack expressed that he did not have to change or adapt to any of the student’s needs. The autistic student is treated the same as rest of the students in the class unless Mr. Mack visual observes that the student is having trouble. During the kickball game the student seemed unsocial with his peers. He did enjoy running around the bases and getting an opportunity to kick the ball when his turn was up. Although he is aware of everything that is going on during the game, the speed and communication between students can be challenging for him. An example of this is when he was covering third base and collided with a runner without obtaining the ball or being aware that the runner was trying to go home. The other students are aware of the student’s autism and seemed understanding of the confusion.
            The option to allow the student to learn in a similar environment as the rest of the class I think is a great idea. It gives the student an opportunity to feel a part of the class and not feel like an outcast. Mr. Mack being prepared to adapt the student’s learning experience if the student begins to struggle demonstrates an effective teacher that is cautious of the student’s self-esteem and social environment.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Field Experience Day 9 - March 20th, 2012

            Curriculum and NYS Standards:

            Today at St. Mary’s, students were given the day outside in all of the physical education classes due to the beautiful 80 degree weather outside. Unfortunately there is no field just a small area of pavement that is sectioned off with cones. The students had the option of playing kickball, throw a football around and hit a ball against the wall with a tennis racket. Most of the students participated in kickball while the others played separate activities on the side. I joined the game for a couple of innings until more students decided to join to make teams even. The remainder of my time spent was discussing the curriculum and NYS standards that are integrated into the lesson plans with Mr. Mack.

            St. Mary’s physical education curriculum was given to Mr. Mack by the school when he was first hired. He explained that the curriculum is from the 1970’s. The curriculum is considered traditional. Mr. Mack’s father being a physical educator assisted Mr. Mack with curriculums and lesson plans that he created through his years of teaching. The curriculum focuses on the skill levels of several units in grades K-6.

Mr. Mack being a product of SUNY Cortland knows the NYS standards very well and tries to emphasis them into each lesson. The focus of the standards is expressed through the student’s performance in motor and manipulative skills as well as the student’s ability to understand safety rules. He also provides students with information pertaining to athletic sports that are available to them after school. Some of these focuses I have seen in past lessons involving floor hockey with safety rules, motor and manipulative skills.
            Although Mr. Mack has done a justifiable duty in enhancing the physical education program at St. Mary’s, if given the opportunity I would take time to recreate a new updated curriculum and present it to St. Mary’s school. I would include all of the NYS standards into my lesson plans of the curriculum. I believe the most important aspects of physical education are to make students aware of sources and career options involving the information learned. I also believe that students need to learn how to create a fitness plans to keep them active not just in school but out of school as well. I have not seen these standards approached in the teaching at St. Mary’s. That does not necessarily indicate that they are not taught. I just have not observed them.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Field Experience Day 8 - March 13th, 2012

            Skill themes and student abilities:

            Mr. Mack introduced a new unit of gymnastics to the 5th grade students at St. Mary’s Elementary School today. The class was separated into 4 small groups that were each assigned stations that had a different gymnastic activity in each station. One activity involved rolls on a mat that included a wedge to roll down. Another activity was a balance beam where students participated in balancing skills. The other gymnastic activity stations each had mats where students practiced tripods, cartwheels and round offs. Since the 5th grade students had previous learning experiences in gymnastic units from past years, a quick review was all that was needed by Mr. Mack.

            I assisted and spotted students at the cartwheel and tripod stations while Mr. Mack did the same at the balance beam and roll stations. The tripod and cartwheel are non-manipulative skill themes that are based on balance and transfer of weight. Before class had started, Mr. Mack and I discussed what abilities of the students needed improvement. He explained that the majority of students within the school had trouble throwing an object or demonstrating a cartwheel because of the lack of ability to transfer weight. During the lesson I was able to observe problems that students demonstrated when performing the cartwheel. Students had issues determining which hand and foot to lead with when performing the cartwheel. Another issue was the student’s lack of commitment of landing on their hands due to fear.

                Mr. Mack and I expressed progression levels to the students when performing cartwheels to help them improve these problems. The students had opportunities to use a large foam block or an additional mat to make them more comfortable landing on their hands without having to go down all the way. I also asked them questions regarding their comfort ability on what hand and foot to lead with. Examples include “What hand do you throw and write with?” and “What is the first hand you push out if you fall accidently?” I also had the students try both hands to lead with on the large foam block just using their hands to jump from one side to another.

            These were all great effective teaching strategies that Mr. Mack had demonstrated to help improve the student’s skill themes and abilities. The only thing I would have done different when teaching a class would be to create a whole lesson plan that focuses on the transferring of weight and then include stations of different gymnastic activities. Given the length of time of the 5th grade class I do understand his planning because of practical purposes. Nonetheless because of the success of performance in other activity stations I believe it is important to create a deeper learning experience for one specific skill that needs improvement. The transferring of weight will be the focus for me and Beka’s curriculum project moving forward that is too completed in EDU 355.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Field Experience Day 7 - March 2nd, 2012

            Assessment of Student Learning:

            The St. Mary’s 2nd grade students performed their monthly jogging club with a 20 minute jog around the gymnasium. Mr. Mack provided the music, time clock and hurdles to help motivate the students during the class. The students had the opportunity to choose any activity to play after they performed their 20 minute jog and cool down.

            Mr. Mack displayed an assessment process during the jog which expressed the student’s cardiovascular endurance, participation and ability to continue to be involved in the St. Mary’s Jogging Club. He would mark down each student’s stoppage of time and why it was that student was stopping. Any student that was able to run the full 20 minutes without stopping was considered eligible for the Jogging Club. Students were allowed to continue to walk if cramps were to occur. Mr. Mack also used this assessment to show how well the students paced themselves. This assessment was also a record to help backup grades that may have been questioned by parents of the students.
            Although I would prefer for this particular jogging club activity to be performed after school I do believe the assessment created for this activity was effective. However this assessment could be considered bias based on the reasoning for students stopping. Also the assessment does not concentrate on the actual aspects of the motor skill of running. If given the ability to recreate an assessment for this jogging activity I would include simple cues of proper motor skills performed when running with a yes or no check list if the 20 minute jog was completed without stopping. Students who received a no would be counted for how many times they stopped. This is just one of many different assessments that could be established during this type of activity.

Field Experience Day 6 - February 28th, 2012

            Reflection on Lesson:

            After a nice long break, the St. Mary’s students continued their unit in Floor Hockey with Mr. Mack. In today’s lesson the 5th graders had the opportunity to combine their dribbling skills with their passing skills. This is also known as the second stage of game play. The students first did their daily warm-up and then an instant activity that concentrated on cardiovascular endurance. The instant activity involved five lines of students with each line having six different lengths that were marked by cones in which they were to run. The first student that ran was to throw a dice against the back of the wall that they were stationed at and the number that was thrown was the number of cone lengths that had to be run.

            The Floor Hockey lesson began with a review of the rules and cues for what was already learned. The cones already being in place from the instant activity we had the students weaving through each cone with a dribbling drill to establish a sense of control. This particular activity is considered the first stage of game play. I had volunteered to demonstrate and instruct the class to perform this drill. Once the drill had begun I had noticed that some of the students were weaving diagonally into other student’s lanes. I obviously was not clear on my instructions leaving out vital information and learned from this particular problem. Although I assumed that the students would know to stay in their own lanes because of the way the cones were structured I learned that nothing can be assumed and instructions must be clear.

            To finish up the class lesson Mr. Mack separated the class amongst boys and girls. Miss. Fredrickson and I instructed a passing drill with the boys on one side of the gymnasium while Mr. Mack did the same with the girls on the other side. The students were paired with a partner and were 10 feet away from each other performing passes with the cues eyes on ball, follow through and receive. I had trouble keeping the students focused on the task because of behavior challenges that occurred. Students were not using the cues rather just hitting the ball as hard as they could to their partner which complicated the idea of receiving because the ball was hit so hard that they had to run after it. After a few minutes of seeing that the goal of performing a successful pass was not being met I completely stopped all activity had the students put down their sticks. I explained to them my disappointment with what I observed that was being performed improperly and what I expected of them moving forward.

The remainder of the drill went more smoothly and the lesson was finished with a keep away game using a combination of both dribbling and passing to teammates. The addition of defenders created a third stage of game play atmosphere. The reflection on this lesson I felt brought a successful organized structure to building up of game play in floor hockey. Although there were some obstacles in the way of my ability to teach this lesson with Mr. Mack I believe I handled it ok. I was disappointed with my effectiveness at first and realized time wasted could have been prevented if I had established the proper instructions to begin with. There is nothing I would have changed about this particular lesson that was established by Mr. Mack. I would have however changed my ability to give clearer instructions and to have more poise moving forward when things are going as planned. I know I am still learning but feel these were mistakes that could have been easily avoided. I know to prepare better before a lesson moving forward.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lab Fitness Themes

Cardiovascular Endurance

 Muscular Strength

Muscular Endurance


Body Composition




Reaction Time



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lab 16: Lesson Planning Through the Four Stages of Game Play

1.      Observe elementary students in a formal or informal play setting as they play any sport such as basketball, softball, soccer, tennis, etc. Utilize the four stages of game play to carefully determine what stage represents their level of play. Provide a brief written description of their skill level and stage of play. Write three to five recommendations for steps that could be taken to improve their level of play.

The 2nd grade class at St. Mary’s learned the dribbling skill for floor hockey this past week. This was the introductory lesson to the unit. Mr. Mack felt it was vital to their development when learning the game of floor hockey to have students be able to control the ball and be able to keep it close to them when moving around during play. The dribbling skills demonstrated by the students are a representation of the first stage of game play which is individually controlling of an object. These drills consisted of dribbling a ball throughout the gymnasium while keeping the ball no more than a foot away from them. Another drill was having the students weave in and out of cones down to one side of the gymnasium and then back again the other way. The students had trouble controlling the ball during the first couple of minutes but seemed to catch on half way into the lesson. Most of the problems were due to hand eye coordination and gripping of the stick when dribbling the ball.

      These different individual skilled drills were successful exercises in the beginning of the four stages of game play. The continuing practice of these drills and additional modification could help students improve their level of play. These steps can include inserting relay partners when dribbling around the cones to begin the idea of using teamwork and an introduction to dribbling and passing. Another step can involve dribbling a larger ball in one place instead of moving to different areas that will help concentrate on hand eye coordination and gripping the stick without having to concentrate on moving around. A third step that could be taken to improve student’s level of play can be adding defenders to create a keep away situation.