“How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it.” - Jim Valvano

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Teaching Observation Day 2

           Today was another successful day of observing.  Along with observing and assisting the students and teacher, I got to interview two students to get to know a little bit more about them.  One student who I interviewed was an ESL student or English as a Second Language student.  These are students who come to an English speaking school where their first language was something other than English.  He was a Korean student who spoke Korean mostly at home, and preferred it over English.  I asked him a little bit on how he got help and he said that he has a teacher who helps him with his English, and when he needs help he asks his teachers or his fellow students.  He said they are all very helpful.  I also asked him if his teachers were very clear or clear enough with directions and he said that yes they were for the most part.  Lastly, I asked him what his favorite subject was and he said PE because he has a lot of fun and gets good exercise.
        Another student who I interviewed today was a girl who did not participate much in class today.  I asked her what she didn't like about PE and she said that she didn't like that she had to change clothes.  She said that her teachers often encourage her to change so that she can participate.  After all the negativity, I asked her if she liked anything at all about PE and she said that she liked throwing the football around and spending time in the fitness center.  It seemed to me as though her biggest problem wasn't getting involved or participating it was the fact that she doesn't like to get changed.  My host teacher saw me talking to her and after said that she has some social issues and often they let her change in the bathroom or after the other girls leave.  It all made sense after I talked to him and realized it, and know what to expect in the future because I'm bound to run into these kinds of circumstances.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Teaching Observation Day 1

        Today I started my 60 hours of 100 hours that I need for teaching observation at Potsdam Central High School.  Even though I did not attend there,walking through high school doors brought back good memories and I was excited for what I had in store for today.  This week's unit that is being covered is "Scooter Hockey".  It is a lot like hockey in a sense, except for they are on scooters and the sticks they have or only about a foot tall because they have to play sitting down.  It looked like a lot of fun and my host teacher signed a bunch of passes for students to attend PE instead of their study hall (as long as they are passing all subjects they can).  I used to do that back in Junior High whenever I had a study hall and no homework to do.  When I was in elementary, I used to be one of those kids who would pretend to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water because I didn't like sitting for long periods of time.  I also too liked getting passes and would often do so in middle school so I could do something active rather than sit in a study hall, so I could relate to these students. They also offered participation in the weight room as well if students did not choose to want to do scooter hockey for this unit.  There they have forms in which they have to do different exercises relating to cardio and weight training.  Most of the time disengaged students generally pick the weight room because they do not have to be as active, however all the students that I saw were fairly active, or more active than I thought would be.  Some of them do not put a whole lot of effort in, however, they are getting more in the weight room than they would sitting on the bleachers of the gym, or just sitting in the weight room.  I see the weight room option as a positive aspect not negative, whereas I would see some people seeing it just as negative.  I think getting those disengaged students to do a little bit of physical activity is better than none at all.
       Both my host teacher and the girl's PE teacher are also graduates of Cortland as well, so in the off time in between classes we had a lot to talk about and relate to.  Today I mostly observed in all the classes just to get a feel for how my teacher taught and what to be expecting for the next few days.  I filled out one form evaluating different teaching elements also, and did some planning and organizing for the other tasks I will be performing throughout the week.  Looking forward to what is in store for tomorrow!

Monday, December 12, 2011

SUNY Cortland Professional Portfolio Showcase

          A few days ago I attended the SUNY Cortland Professional Portfolio Showcase to see how the top PE students' professional portfolios looked like.  Out of about 200 students, about 15 or so were selected to showcase their portfolios and their accomplishments.  In these portfolios, students showcase their skills, knowledge, and contributions to Physical Education.  I wanted to take a look because I will be handing in my finished portfolio in a year, and want to be one of those students standing showing off their portfolio.  I got a lot of great ideas from looking at these great portfolios and they were really nice to look at.  In everyone students' portfolio they must obtain a resume, a philosophy about teaching and coaching, explain and show how they have achieved elements of the six NASPE (National Assocation for Sport and Physical Education) standards, show certifications, and also portray their professional developments.  All of the portfolios that I saw were very impressive and made me only want to strive more to be not only one of those students next year, but also to have a better portfolio.  Portfolios are a great way to brag about yourself and showcase your skills and let's employers know what you bring to the table.  If the time and effort are put into them then it is going to pay off in the long run.  The difference between a great portfolio and an average portfolio can be the difference between getting a job or not, so it is important to put the time and effort in.  I also think that if you are not going to do your best, then you shouldn't do it at all, and that applies for this as well.  Overall, I think this is a great tradition and idea that SUNY Cortland does.  It is just another way that SUNY Cortland helps prepare students for the future and shows how they are one of the top PE programs in the country. (below are some pictures taken from SUNY Cortland Professional Portfolios)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Very Merry Lab 6

          This week was our last week at Saint Mary's school where we had a Christmas theme for the children.  There were no specific skills that were focused on today so it was up to my fellow peers to come up with games that involved skills that we had practiced and played throughout the semester.  My group was the special projects group and what we did was decorate the gymnasium doors with collages that myself and my fellow peers made.  We did a nice Christmas theme with green and red construction paper and placed the collages creatively on the door and also wrote our names and a little thank you to the school for allowing us to have such great experiences there.
         One thing that I did notice throughout the semester is how much I enjoy helping younger children out.  I originally thought that older kids such as Junior High and High School was the rout that I wanted to go, however after the few weeks that I spent at Saint Mary's my view has definitely changed.  It is so fun to be around kids who are always happy and enthusiastic about just be active.  Rarely did we ever find kids who didn't want to be doing something physically active.  They may not have wanted to play the same game, however we could generally find some way or game to get them involved into something.  It can be a challenge sometimes getting them to play a game that you want to play, however I am a person who likes challenges and I would definitely enjoy helping kids with their motor development and getting them introduced to healthy active lifestyles that hopefully they could continue for the rest of their lives.  Effective Physical Education needs to start at the elementary stage and this is something that I want to be more and more a part of as time has been going on.

Friday, November 25, 2011

New York State AHPERD Conference

       This past weekend I made a trip to Verona, NY to attend the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Conference held at the Turning Stone Casino.  I had a great time and learned a lot of cool things.  One session that I went to taught us about the game of rugby, and how it could be incorporated into Physical Education.  A big reason why I wanted to go to this session was because rugby is such a growing sport in this country, and I have seen it on television yet I did not know the rules or any game play whatsoever.  I wanted to be able to learn how the game was so I could watch a game more enjoyably knowing the different rules and tactics that the teams performed and why they performed them.  This was the first thing that Professor Jeff Walkulski and two other SUNY Cortland students taught us because they knew that a lot of other people were in the same boat as I was.  After going over the basic rules, they told us how we could incorporate into the classroom using a "touch" style of play, rather than tackling.  They showed us multiple activities that went over basic skills such as passing and team movement.  I liked doing the activities because I enjoy being more active with students.  I would rather be doing an activity and having the kids learning, rather than sitting at a desk all day.  Thus, This is a big reason why I chose PE.  Most of the drills they had were not too difficult to teach either, therefore would be easy to teach to students because they would be just like us and being just introduced to the game.  Overall I enjoyed this session, I walked out knowing a lot more about the game and I hope to see it transform into PE programs across the country

         Another session that I really enjoyed was a Lacrosse teaching session that was taught by two Syracuse University lacrosse players.  When I was reading through the classes that were being taught at the same time as this, I came across that it was lacrosse which is a sport I love and would love to coach, and that it was being taught by Syracuse University Lacrosse players which I thought was awesome.  The two players that taught the session were Gairet Myers and JoJo Marasco.  I knew of JoJo because I am a huge Syracuse lacrosse fan so I chatted with him throughout the session because when we were doing the drills he noticed that I had played before so we reminisced about high school and college lacrosse.  The majority of the session dealt with basic skills such as passing, catching, obtaining ground balls, and shooting.  They taught the people at the session the correct ways in which to do them, and then showed us multiple activities in which they could incorporate each skill.  Overall I had a blast at this session even though I already knew how to do the basic skills the correct way because I played lacrosse, however, some of the drills and activities we did I had not seen before so I still learned a great deal.  
       Overall I think the Conference was awesome, and whatever PE students/teachers that decided not to go missed out.  There is so much information that can be learned at these conferences that can only make your lessons and activities better and you overall as a better PE advocate!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Fun and Games at St. Mary's (Lab 5)

Most people in the world do not like Mondays because it marks the start of the week, however I enjoy Mondays because I get to go play and interact with the students at St. Mary's.  This lab's theme was Thanksgiving because it is roughly about a week away, therefore, many of the games that we created for the students revolved around that theme.  Our focus for motor skills this week was dribbling and kicking.

               When we were assessing, we looked at key things such as if the students were using their fingers to dribble, or were slapping the ball and also where the ball was in regards to where it landed on the floor and how high it bounced in regards to their body.  Also with the kicking, I noticed that a good amount of what we had to assess dealt with the opposite foot of the kicking foot.  My contribution to lab 5 was creating a game at the end for the whole class.  I decided on a game called Turkey Tag where I had two people it (Pilgrims), and their job was to tag the turkeys (other students).  Now since this was a Thanksgiving theme it is obvious why I came up with these roles and the name, however I wanted to incorporate the motor skills of the day as well.  I created the game so it had two helper turkeys which can help turkeys who have been tagged.  They have to dribble the ball around until they find a turkey in need (which will be gobbling to signal they have been tagged) and then they will put the ball on the ground and kick it to the turkey.  After, the helper turkey now becomes a regular turkey, and the turkey who was just saved is now the helper turkey.  I made it so they switch so that more people would be able to practice the motor skills instead of just two people per game.  Overall I had a blast again at St. Mary's and feel as though everyone in the class including myself is enjoying themselves, have become more comfortable, and have learned a lot.  I came to Cortland primarily thinking that I would want to teach Middle school to High School kids, however this class has definitely made me think twice about this because of my enjoyment with the younger kids has changed my perspective entirely.  It is a lot of fun and rewarding seeing kids develop and helping them do that, especially when you have kids who are so enthusiastic like the ones that I have been involved with!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lab 4

         Today was Lab 4 at Saint Mary's, however today was not like the other days at St. Mary's.  Today was a special day that every kid enjoys at the end of October.  You know what I'm talking about, Halloween.  The kids were even more full of energy today than the past few weeks because the games we had today revolved around Halloween, thus making them more excited.  Even though it might have been more hard work to keep them settled down when need be, I enjoyed seeing the kids happy to play the games because I know how happy I was when I was their age and hope they get the same experiences I got.  I had the Pre-K kids this week so I had to observe another group as they created games to help us assess their throwing and catching.  The big things we focused on this week was when they were throwing that they made the T formation, stepped with their opposite foot, and followed through.  Also with the catching, it was important where their elbows were, if there hands were out ready to catch the ball, and if they could catch the ball with just their hands or if they needed help from their legs, chest, or other parts of the body.

           After the assessing, my group went into the classroom where we played games, read, and conversed with the students.  My first try at playing with a group of kids was denied when they told me that "They didn't want me to play" ha.  I tried to find out why and ask them some questions so that they might forgot or find a way to include me.  They were playing house so I asked questions of who everyone was and what they were doing.  One girl told me that she was making baby food and that she would tell me when it was ready ha.  I said OK and thank you, so I went to another group who was drawing pictures.  One girl was drawing a duck so I talked to her about that and then she asked me to draw an elephant, so I did so, and she found it amusing which made me happy.  After that, Ryan, my TA Eric, and I played a card matching game with a few of the students.  This became very popular and we got more kids to join as time went on.  By the end of the game it was time for snack so the kids had their cookies and milk.  After, one student wanted me to read him a book so I read him a few pages and interacted and asked him questions about the book until it was time to go to the gym.  There Julia had a spider web activity that we did and I introduced my game to the children.  At first the children didn't really abide by the rules of the game, however after a few minutes or so and with help of my group we got the game going, and the motor skills that I incorporated into my game were practiced.  By the end of the game, I noticed how some students definitely improved.  I think it is because a lot of them didn't know how to throw correctly, so we taught them how repetitively, and it got them in kind of a groove where they would just do it automatically without us telling them.  It was great to see the improvement!

My Lab 4 Assessments