Monday, December 7, 2009

Lab 6: Tis The Season!

Lab 6 was our last day at St Mary's and it consisted of a Christmas theme. Although it was early in December, we all came in dressed up Christmas themed and came prepared with new activites for the children. Our group was assigned to the Pre-K once again for the day.
We started off in their classrooms, simply playing with them all. The boys I met up with were building with the blocks. I was soon introduced to a game that involved directional intructions from an electronic device. The device would say what color cones you had to slam on top of. This involved the children to listen to the chosen colors to slam and act quickly to get a short time. They were not concerned with the timed score, especially since some of the girls were slow about approaching the game. The kids were really anxious to play the game as everyone waited their turn to do a round.
It eventually became time for activities in the gymnasium. After a brief period of setting up, we were ready to explain the Christmas themed obstacle course. The kids would start off going through a path of stacked mats, which were decorated with candy canes and bells. The path continued through red and white jump ropes, leading to a field of shiny bows that the kids had to creep through. Next, there were numerous spots that needed to be jumped to each one. The last part was a bowling activity where you had to roll a rubber ball to knock down the liter bottles. We also had the kids vary up going through the pathway, such as galloping and going backwards. This was necessary as everyone was starting to get bored to the same movements over again. The problem with the last part is that the line tended to build up for waiting to bowl, thus creating inactivity time. Overall, the Pre-K enjoyed the activty. If they were an older group, it certainly would not have suited them since the it was not a complex activity. None the less, it was enjoyable for them all. Even though we have spent little time with these kids, I will miss them as they were enjoyable to work with.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lab 5: Thanksgiving Time!

Lab 5 at St Mary's was Thanksgiving themed, where people dressed up as pilgrims and had some Thanksgiving themed activities. My group was not assigned to a particular group of kids, but we helped out other groups' activities. The first game I helped out with was a game called Muk, in which a one person needs to make his partner laugh who is dribbling a basketball. The problem with this game was that the kids were not able to dribble a basketball while looking forward at their partner.
The next game I helped out with was a pass to score type game with a basketball and then a soccer ball. The kids enjoyed playing this but it got a bit out of control at times. The leaders of the group did not enforce space between people or passing to score in the end zone. The last group's activity was with the Pre-K, and was a "continuous" obstacle course. The point of the activity was to get through the obstacles and pick up a food cut-out to give to the plush toy of Clifford the dog. This adjustment of the game made it relate to Thanksgiving as they were giving the food for the dog to eat. Even though they found this to be amusing, you can say the kids became a little too thankful. The kids took more food then they were supposed to each time around, requiring us to constantly bring the food back for people to pick up again.
To finish off the day, my group led the chicken dance. Except we changed it to the turkey dance to fit the Thanksgiving theme. The only problem with this is that we did not instruct them to specifically move around during the intermission sections. Other than that, the dance went well. I am certainly looking forward for the last lab at St Mary's.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lab 4: The Circus Is In Town!

November 4th at St Mary's, the theme for Lab 4 was the circus. In honor of this theme, many of us students dressed up in clown appearances. My group started off in the cafeteria with the 3rd graders. It was very interesting to spend time with these kids as they were a lot more social than the younger kids. I was surprised how mature they were as well, because my little brother is the same age and he is off the wall constantly. These kids were great as we played checkers, cards, and lego type activities.
After playing in the cafeteria, everyone came up to the gym for game time. Unfortunately, my group was missing two people, but the teaching assistants helped out by participating with the kids. The space was restricted and made organizing the game more challenging. Looking at the game, we needed to choose something that involved overhand throwing. I chose a game called "Guard The Castle". One person needs to throw the ball to hit the cone while the other person is trying to protect it. With the limited space, we just had everyone throw and block in a straight line. At first some of the kids were not too aggresive about, whom were mainly the girls. They were throwing the ball underhanded and were not coming close to the cone. I stopped them to show how to throw overhanded and they immediately improved there aim. A couple of the kids actually hit the cone after I showed them. We eventually moved on to a variety of tag games like freeze and blob tag. They had a lot of energy to do this and had fun in the process. We closed out the day doing the chicken dance with everyone in a circle, but unfortunately the music was not loud enough. We all chimed in the melody while we did the dance.

The next morning I went back to St Mary's to observe Mrs Garcia's pre-k class for over an hour. The first 45 minutes was just free time for everyone in which I played with everyone on the rug area. It started off with just me passing a foam hockey puck back and forth with C and Z. They reacted excited when I quickly stopped it with my foot a few times. When more kids arrived, we resorted to the building blocks and built gates for people to sit in. Mrs Garcia eventually announced that it was clean time and thus the timer began to see if everyone cleaned up in time. I helped out and tried motivating the kids but they were too late. Once finished, everyone went to their spots on the rug and began their "good morning" song. After completing their intro to the day, they lined up for the bathroom. I noticed that Mrs Garcia enforced bathroom rules by asking a question they presumably get asked everytime. They all respond each time thus helps them follow the rules. It was time for Spanish lessons once the children arrived back into the room. All of the kids recieved a name tag that included a completely different hispanic name, which I found to be a bit strange. The Spanish teacher played a fishing game in which they hooked up an object and had to state what it's name is in Spanish. This made the vocabulary a lot more fun for them. At this time I had to leave and D then initiated a hug on me. This then caused everyone else in the class to give me a hug. I would love to go back in the class and observe a whole day to see how it goes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lab 3: Trick or Treat

Lab 3 at St. Mary's was Halloween themed, but unfortunately not many people got dressed up for the kids. I however attempted to do so by making an old man beard out of cotton. All of the kids loved it and asked if I was Santa Claus. Even though it was fun for everyone, it made teaching a lot more difficult. As I rounded up the 1st graders, most of the kids wouldn't stop being silly in regards to my beard. Our group had to tell them to be quiet several times while explaining the directions for the game "Find Your Partner".
Within the game, we had all of the participating kids do different movements, but focusing on leaping, horizontal jumping, and sliding. The rounds lasted longer than some of the kids' attention spans, so I tried to encourage the movements by asking if they can do it in slow motion or if they could catch me while doing the movement. There were some issues with the structure of the game. The point of the game was to partner up someone right by connecting a designated part. You are supposed to remember who you did this with, so that they would find the partner they connected to when we say to do so. The problem with this was all of the kids just stuck by their friends so that they would be ready to connect to them. The game was then less interesting for them when they did not have to find other partners in the game.
The next game we did was called "Magic Carpet". The children were to do the instructed movements during the played music (much like "Find Your Partner"). When the music stopped, everyone had to find a spot on the floor, in which we used hula hoops for the game. The issue with this was the some of the girls were fighting with each other about who got onto a specific spot first. This produced some emotional conflicts. In terms of how well everyone did the movements, it seemed that everyone had an easier time sliding than any of the movements of elevation. Both the boys and girls had the same developed skills, except the boys had slightly more energy. After we finished the games, we resorted to the cafeteria where they had snack and used their fine motor skills.
To close out the day we did two activities with everyone. The first activity was using the parachute which was something all of the kids got excited about. We did a few variations with it such as playing popcorn, hiding underneath it, and rotating around while doing different motions. Everyone closed out dancing like zombies to Michael Jackson's "Thriller". Most of the kids got into the dance however it was a bit unorganized and scattered. Everyone had fun, regardless of how it was presented.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lab 2: Up, Up, and Away!

On Wednesday October 21st, the theme of the lab at St Mary's was superheroes. The majority of us students had some type of super hero resemblance that got the kids really excited.

My group was assigned to work with the Pre-K kids once angain, except this time we were outside with them as the weather was fantastic. We ran around with them for quite a while. Most of the kids played "hide and go seek" for a good portion of the time. However, the second I walked in the playground area with the kids, Christopher immediately grabbed me and wanted to be me to jail. This was a game we played during the St Mary's orientation. It did not take long for other kids to join in and they seemed to be having a lot of fun. I made several escapes from the kids guarding me in jail, which led to them chasing after me. Kids doing other activities eventually wanted to chase me as well. There love for chasing people makes sense as they enjoy playing tag as well.

When it came to going in the gym, we set up a game called the "Zany Zoo", in which the kids need to get a card of an animal motion and perform it across the floor. I introduced the activty by saying that the superheroes are going to be on vacation next week and we need to train everyone to take their place. Their training was to learn the different animal motions so that they could sneak up on the villains. When we were showing an example of what they were to do, the kids got anxious and wanted to look at the animal cards. Once we began the game, the kids were enjoying it but they were a little confused in where they were supposed to go. Everyone also started to lose interest in the activity after some time. If I were to do this game again, I would certainly make a couple of changes to keep the kids more focused.

After finishing of our game with the Pre-K, the next group did a motion/music related game in which everyone does a certain movement during the music. When it stops, you connect with a partner. My group and I participated in the activity with the kids. It was once again interesting to see how undeveloped the motor skills of these children were. I was surprised to see some of the kids to be sweaty, especially Dunkin due to his constant moving. I know that young children have tons of energy, but not sure if I have ever seen them sweat to the point that they can not move anymore. During the last few minutes of the lab, we all gathered around and did a "train" to a Wiggles song that had everyone immitate animals.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

PE Hall Of Shame: SPUD's Revenge

One of the activities that was metioned in the article to be "harmful" to physical education students is the game SPUD. The author's rules to the game are as follows: "All students gather at the center of the playing area, and one of them tosses the ball into the air while calling out the name of a classmate. All of the students run for their lives (for about 4 seconds) except the named student who must catch the ball and yell "SPUD!" The running students all freeze and the person with the ball gets to throw it at one of them. The various hits and misses generate letter penalties, and the game is played until someone or everyone gets SPUD."
The author points out many faults in this activity, one of them being students becoming targets. I honestly do not believe that children have a problem with being hit by a ball. I have enjoyed playing this game as a kid and I have led kids at an after school program who enjoyed it as well. Of course there are safety precautions that are needed to be noticed. The type of ball being used needs to be soft and harmless so that students being hit will not get hurt. Head hunting also needs to be eliminated regardless of what type of ball is being used.
The author also shoots down SPUD for lack of physical activity saying that there is only 6% running in the game for all students. I certainly do not agree with that statistic. Claiming that there is only 4 seconds every minute is a little ridiculous as it does not take a minute to throw the ball back up again. Additional running can be done after the thrower has thrown the ball and everyone runs back to the center for another toss up. The letter strikes gained after being hit can be taken out so that the game is focused on physical activity, rather than winning. This way everyone continues to participate and have fun during the entire game. Other rules that can be added include having the thrower take 4-5 steps toward a person for an easier chance of hitting them, as well as the targeted person being able to dodge the ball without leaving their feet. The physical educator always has the option to make a game more appropriate for class. Saying a certain kind of game should not be allowed is futile as it can be adjusted for everyone's enjoyment and benefit.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

During lab 1 at St Mary's, I was assigned to the Pre-K kids. Their activities were comprised of fine motor skills, such as coloring, playing with toys, and reading stories. They are very happy when you play with them and some of them are even happy to do what you suggest to them. For example, one girl was playing with farm animals and I suggested that we build a house for them. She got excited by the idea and we began to build. Unfortunately her skills were not quite developed enough to put blocks together, so I gladly helped her succeed. The boys wanted my attention to them, probably because I was the only older male there and they felt connected to me in that sense. Dunkin in particular always grabbed my hand and brought me somewhere to play.
When it was time to go to the gym, all of the kids jumped and cheered with joy. Once we got there, it was clear why they were excited. They loved running around more than anything, even if it wasn't for a particular game. Red Light Green Light was the first game we played, although the rules seemingly changed as we played since it was quite noisy in the gym. Other games we played were the hula hoop race and hot potato. Most kids started off playing the games we presented to them, but they eventually wanted to let loose somewhere else. Eventually two of the kids, Dunkin and Chris, started dancing to a song that they like. It was interesting watching them do this because they were just flailing around uncoordinated. At there age, they have no clue how their dancing, they just want to move and have fun. During the last few minutes, everyone gathered around for the "Shake Your Sillies Out" dance where everyone ran around doing different motions. It was interesting to see the motor skills comparison between the Pre-K and the older kids. I had fun playing with everyone and I'm looking forward to the next lab where I get to instruct a new group of kids.