Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Surviving Lab D

Wednesday November 11th, marked the completion of all the teaching labs for me in EDU 255. What a journey it has been, and it has flown by. For my last lab, we had to teach in an environment that we were not used to. I was assigned to teach in the pool, so I decided to teach the class a survival stroke. That stroke was the elementary backstroke. Since this is a complicated stroke, I thought it would be best to break the stroke down into parts and teach all the parts individually. My content development form also shows exactly how I broke the lesson down. I think that this way of teaching worked out well. I broke the stroke down into 3 parts for the class. The first part was just getting the students used to being on their back, so I had the class do the back float for 30 seconds. Then, using four simple cues, I taught the arm action then the leg action of the stroke. I was also able to use pull buoys in my lesson to help isolate the arm action of the stroke, which will make it easier for the students that are first learning this stroke. After that, I got in the pool and demonstated what the full stroke should look like, and then had the class practice the whole stroke. To finish off the class, I had the class do a "survival stroke" relay race.

I think that overall, this lesson went well. Comparing the first day teaching to this lab, I can tell that I have grown greatly as a teacher over the course of this semester. I try to use all the tools and techniques of teaching that I have accumulated throughout this semester and implement as much of them as possible into my lessons. My time coding form shows that I kept the class active for the majority of my lesson plan, and had minimal wait and management time. Even though I have greatly improved since the first day, there are still some things I need to work on. One of those things is providing feedback to more people. That is evident when looking at my feedback anaylsis form. Also, when looking at my C-9 evaluation, I missed another couple key teaching techniques like providing a safety statement and checking for understanding. A safety statement is especially important when working in the pool because theres so many different things that can happen that can result in someone getting injured if your not careful.

It's crazy that this semester is just about over already. I feel that I have learned a great deal this semester. All the videos of our teaching labs, and these blog posts will show how much I have learned and improved throughout this semester. EDU 255 was a great epxerience and I'm looking forward to continuing learning and growing as a teacher during my time left here at SUNY Cortland.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Morning fun at St. Mary's

On October 22nd, I was able to work with the children at St.Mary's in a totally different atmosphere. This time I observed them first thing in the morning. Before I came, I expected the kids to be a little different. When I got there and starting interacting with the children, I noticed a huge difference in how the kids acted. I was working with the pre-k children, and helping them with a couple different activities. That day the students were learning their "4's", so their activity was to color in and decorate a number four. I helped the students color in their fours and glue on some Halloween themed decorations. During these activities, I noticed that the kids were much more calm and well behaved then when I worked with them during the after school program. This might be because it is still early in the morning or they know to be on their best behavior for the teacher. They also listened to me much better when I would give them instructions. During the after school program, the students are more hyper and tend not to listen to everything I have to say when giving them instructions. I think the reason they are so much more active after school is that it is their chance to let loose and play games after being in school all day. It was a good experience to work with the children in the morning to see the change from then to the after school program.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The circus comes to St. Mary's

This week at St. Mary's it was a circus theme and once again it was a ton of fun. This week, my group got to work with the pre-k kids once again. We started off in the classroom with the kids, doing all kinds of different activities. I started off with an icebreaker activity that the teacher had provided me with. I went around to each student with masking tape and marker, asking everyone their name and having them spell it out for me. This was a great first activity because I got to meet and talk to all the children and learn their names. After that, I went around and the room and tryed to conversate and have fun with as many children as I could. After about an hour and numerous little games here and there, it was about time to head into the gym for some real fun! While Dan read the children a great story, Amanda and I headed to the gym to set up our game that we had planned for the kids. The game we went with for this week was "Messy backyard". Even though this game was noted in the PE Hall of Shame, we still felt it was appropriate for this lab. Since we were trying to watch the children throw and catch, this game worked out great for that. To tie into the circus theme for the day, every time a child caught something that was thrown over the wall, they had to make an animal sound of our choice. I noticed that only a select number of children followed that rule, but I think the majority of the kids were too pre-occupied with their task at hand of keeping their backyard clean. It's amazing that we only have 1 more lab session left at St. Marys, this semester has flown by. I've had a great time so far at St. Mary's and can't believe it's coming to a close soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A little taste of Cricket

On Wednesday, November 11th, I got the opportunity to teach something completely new to me. My partner Dan Barcavage and I decided to teach a lesson on cricket. This is the lesson plan that we created for this lab. Before this lab, I've never played or even know how to play the game of cricket. For my lesson, I decided to focus on the batting aspect of cricket. More specifically, I focused on the defensive side of hitting. To help the students learn the aspects the defensive hitting, I created three short and simple cues that the students could easily remember. I demonstrated the forward type of defensive swing first, then I had the class get partners and work on that specific defensive hit. I think that this method of teaching worked well, and I was able to keep and good eye over the whole class to minimize any distractions that could happen during the activity. After giving both partners a couple minutes to work on the forward defensive hit, I called the class together and demonstrated the backward defensive swing.

After I demonstrated the backward defensive swing, I had them practice that with the same type of activity as the first type of swing earlier in the lesson. During this activity, I was able to provide some inter task variation for a couple groups that looked like they were understanding both types of swings. To modify the activities for those groups, I told them they could use any type of hit they wanted to in order to stop the ball from getting past them. I think that overall this lesson went very well. After completing my time coding form, it was evident that I had enough activity time going on during my lesson. The form also shows that I needed to cut down the waiting times before activities. I think this could be done by putting more urgency in getting the students back to their activities quicker, after I'm done with my instruction. Through my time coding analysis, I can see that I did give a good amount of feedback, but could of used a little more. I might have given more feedback, but the video makes it hard to hear what I am saying when I was on the other side of the gym. The lesson as a whole went very well and I had a lot of fun teaching this unit but also learning things about cricket that I did not know. I will be looking forward to my next opportunity to showcase my teaching abilities that I have learned so far this semester.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lab 3 at St. Mary's

On Wednesday, October 28th we got to go back to St.Marys for lab #3. This time around my group got the chance to work with the older kids in the cafeteria. That was a great time, I got to test out my checker skills against some of the students. During our time in the cafeteria, I noticed the older students that my group was working with listened to instructions better then some of the younger students.

After about an hour in the cafeteria, we moved up into the gym where things really got interesting. At first i started playing that required you to jump, catch the ball and immediately pass it to another student in the circle. That was a fun game to play with the students, and you could really see how well each student could jump up and pass at the same time. I noticed many students would just jump up and hit the ball with their hands instead of catching then throwing. That game lasted for another couple minutes and kids seemed to not be so interested in it. At this point, I started to play a little basketball game with 1 other student. This game grew to numerous students, a lab assistant and people from other groups. At this time I named the game "small ball". I think that this game hit it off with the students so well was because I was down on their level the entire time. This was a very successful game for a couple reasons. One of the reasons is that it really got the students moving, and kept them on the move the entire time the game went on. Another reason was that, the game worked out in like a play, teach, play method. It was like this because the students and I would play for a couple minutes, then I would explain to them correct defensive form and then go back to playing. I was able to do this a couple times to explain to them things like defensive, offensive, and dribbling. If I learned one thing through this game, its that these students will not stop and make sure that you don't stop moving for the entire time. It was a very fun game and a good workout as well.