Monday, October 26, 2009

a SUPER day at St. Mary's

The second lab at St. Mary's was superhero day. It was easy to tell that the students were interested with all the Cortland students walking around in their superhero gear. The St. Mary's children began to call us by our superhero name and this added another fun element to interacting with them. The weather was great for October so we got to play outside which put the students in a good mood. They could choose the playground or to play kickball. Most of the kids picked kickball and we began to play after they picked teams. It was fun to see how they took charge and told us what to do even though we are so much older. It was funny when Pat made a mistake and the team get on his case until he redeemed himself later in the game. When we went back inside it was time to play our superhero game of tag we had planned for the students. We made sure to vary the way they moved around the floor and keep as many people as we could participating and having fun. The music helped keep the energy levels up and the students interested. Later in the day a girl waned to play duck duck goose. We could only gather about 4 people including ourselves to play at the start but as we started to have fun things changed fast. Within a few minutes of us playing we had people joining the game non-stop. This was fun to use different words and ways to chase around the circle with the students. The day ended with a fun song and dance and now the planning for next week begins.

Wrongfully Accused

Tag has been a recent inductee into the physical education game hall of shame. I feel like the game of tag has gotten a bad reputation for reasons other than the structure of the game. Tag can be a game that gets everyone involved and provides a great amount of activity for the amount of time it is played. Some reasons this game has been labeled shameful is the assumption that students with below average athleticism become early targets and cannot participate until the next session of the game. This can all be manipulated by the teacher. The teacher can design the game for students to be brought back in by other students. The details of the game can also be altered. Students can use different movement patterns to move about. If planned properly, changing the movement skills used can help cut down on the ability gap. If students are just running the fast children hold an advantage. If they are hopping or crab walking or have partners the playing field is much more level for all participants. Tag can be done in so many interesting ways so that students do not get bored. Not to mention tag helps children develop agility and skills that can be used in other activities or sports they enjoy inside and outside the classroom. We play a form of tag almost every week over at St Mary's and these tag games have, by far, the best levels of participation by the students. With just a little planning and some creativity tag can be an extremely productive game to be played in physical education. People should look past the game and to the people teaching it before they make such a harsh judgment.

Monday, October 12, 2009

St. Mary's Physical Education 1

Last Monday was our first real lab at St. Mary's. This was the first time we prepared and taught games to the students in our lab groups and could observe how different teaching techniques worked. One observation we focused on were differences between the students based on their gender, age, and abilities. The younger students were more open to try the new games. When these students did not want to play a new game they were easy to make a deal with to try the new one now and do something else after. Differences due to ability were harder to track. Sometimes a high ability gave the students confidence doing some tasks in the endless bucket game but at other times a high ability made certain movement tasks boring. The male and female students had many similarities and showed the basic male/female relationship that you would expect in kindergarten and first grade students. The girls tended to travel around in groups more and do things together while the boys were fine to run around on their own.
The fine motor movement observation was more noticeable in the older students. The kindergarten students needed to focus to display fine motor movements and when rushing or not paying attention they were not so fine. The older students and children with a higher ability in a specific task could display these movements without much thought and at many speeds. The concentration they showed to perfect their fine motor movements was easily noticed when they played with leggos. They needed to concentrate to put the pieces together correctly. There were less gender differences in fine motor movement than social behavior. Overall this was a good lab session and I'm excited for the next one.

St. Mary's Lab 1