Monday, December 12, 2011

Bullying..A sad reality..that needs to be stopped..

This past month here in my home town has been horrendous. In the past month there have been two students that have committed suicide due to bullying in the school. It frustrates me to no end that there is so much bullying going on in a community and that no one is willing to stand up and stop it from happening. We are losing innocent students and people in general because of bullying and we as future professionals need to stand up now and be advocates against bullying. No one should feel that there is no other way out. We should be willing to be there are show individuals that we are here to help and if they need anything we can help, whether it be to listen to them talk or to just say hi to them everyday. Everyone can make a difference and I think that we all need to start now before this becomes an even bigger problem then it already is today in our society. I know that I for one am and advocate against bullying and I will not stand for any individual to be bullied in or out of my classroom!

Portfolio and Exit Interview

Working on my Portfolio was quite stressful, for me being a transfer major from a community college, I feel like I was left in the dark about what I needed to do from the beginning of the transfer process. I worked very hard to get my portfolio presentable and to make it look professional. After all of the work that I placed into it, I would be honored to take it and show it off to interviewers. The work up to our exit interviews was also very stressful! I was nervous on what to expect and how to go about answering the questions. One thing that helped was performing Mock interviews, it gave me a more comfortable speaking environment before being placed into the interview itself. I think that more classes should use the mock interviews because it helped to calm my nerves for the real thing. When walking into my real exit interview, my nerves were almost at nothing at all. I was very surprised at how calm I was when I was in the interview. I knew that the material that was being covered was about everything that I had learned in the past two years here at Cortland. I knew what I was talking about and I felt confident about it, because of how prepared my classes got me for it. After walking out of the interview, I felt confident and as a huge stress had been lifted off of my shoulders knowing that there were only a few things that were left until I was into Student Teaching. The only thing that I could think to myself was "I made it!" I am proud to be where I am at and I will continue to grow as a person, educator and coach.  Thank you to SUNY Cortland for what you have prepared me for, to better myself as a Professional.

Adapted Observations and Reflections

Below is a break down of my experience working with students with disabilities in the Sport and Splash Program here at SUNY Cortland. Again for me this experience was pretty amazing. I had the opportunity to work with two students who were diagnosed with Down syndrome, who gave me an insight to their abilities both physically and mentally. Now after this class, I believe that I will take what I have learned from both the class as well as the students themselves and will be more comfortable and willing to work with other students with disabilities. I had an amazing time with both of my students and I will miss them, but the experience that I had working with them in this program will stick with me for the longest time!

Day 1 – Sept. 19: Today was the first day with the students, it was very overwhelming at first, because I did not know what to expect. I had a little background on my students so it was very overwhelming. I was unorganized by not having a lesson plan, I had so many different activities planned in the Gymnasium to work on the different skills to see where the students’ abilities are.

Day 2 – Sept. 26: This class I was focusing on pre-assessing the students using the TGMD-2. The only reason for using this assessment was to check the locomotor and object control skills. I did not use the scores to assess the students; I just looked to see what the students were capable of doing. This class went pretty well as there was more structure behind the lesson.

Day 3 – Oct. 3: This week went very well; we finished up the pre-assessment this week. By doing this I was able to sit down with the students and gain a little more insight on what they like doing activities wise. I was also able to talk to them to gather their interests in general to make it more of a relaxed setting in future classes.

Day 4 – Oct. 10: This week we were continuing to work on the student’s cardiovascular endurance and I set up a scavenger hunt for the students. They had a blast, they liked having to search the school move around, they were very happy with the lesson for the day!

Day 5 – Oct. 17: This week we focused on soccer dribbling skills. They were interested in the skill but it was not something that they wanted to perform for the entire class. I needed to think of other activities for them to do, I made it into a competition and had them work on control while moving faster. By the end of the lesson, they were ready to go to the pool to swim.

Day 6 – Oct. 24: Today we were playing Volleyball, Michelle was willing to play Volleyball, but Jeni was hesitant to participate. We did our normal warm-up which went well, but when we went to play sitting volleyball, Jeni was not in the mood to play, she started saying that she hurt herself and could not participate anymore. So we changed it up and allowed them to stand up and play one versus one volleyball.

Day 7 – Oct. 31: Today we worked on cardiovascular endurance again. The lesson went very well and the participation was great. There was a whole lot of laughter going on as well. Overall a good day for 356 Lab!

Day 8 – Nov. 7: Today we were working on cardiovascular endurance. We had a obstacle course that they went through, working on jumping rope, running, skipping and hopping. They were participating throughout the entire lesson but they will focus better on a particular skill.

Day 9 – Nov. 14: Today we performed our regular warm up which went very well. We then moved down to the racquetball courts to play racquetball. Jeni was hesitant to play because she did not want to play using the safety glasses. Once I convinced her that it would be

Day 10 – Nov. 21: Today I took, Jeni, Michelle, Ken and Benson to the weight room, they were very intrigued and participated the entire time of the lesson. They did not want to leave to join in to the group activity because they wanted to stay in the weight room and lift weights. Today’s lesson went very well and I was very impressed by the amount of effort that they placed into their work out for the day.

Day 11 – Nov. 28: Today we were working on juggling with Jeni, Michelle, Ken and Benson. It went well but the students were not as interested, so changed up my lesson to bowling a little bit as well as some beach volleyball. I feel as though this lesson was not as prepared as I had hoped for and that I needed to prepare better for the last lesson of the week.

Day 12 – Dec. 5: Tonight’s lab was a good way to end the lab. Our main focus was bowling to let the students enjoy their last day of Sport and Splash for the semester. It was kind of a surreal experience because it was the last night of lab which was good, but it was upsetting too because I have created a relationship with Jeni and Michelle and it will be interesting to not come to lab every Monday night. One complication in today’s lab is that Jeni was starting to have a “meltdown” because she was not able to see Dan as he was absent.

355 Observations

Overall my experience with the Elementary Students was an Eye Opener. I had never worked with students before the age of 10, excluding my nephew who is two! I realized that elementary students are very fun and energetic and they like to stay moving all of the time. most of the students tend to get antsy if they sit still for too long. They are perfect examples of what we are trying to get all of our students even ourselves to do on a daily basis. They showed me that there is a possibility that I would like to teach them in the future, where before me working with them, I had no set interest. Below you will see a little break down of each of the days that we had together. The pros and maybe even some cons, but of course mostly the Pros! I hope you enjoy my reflections on the day!
Day One: Soccer Trapping Kindergarten and 1st

            Question 1. This was the first time that I had ever worked with Elementary students, so it was quite overwhelming at first. During the lesson the students were very loud and energetic and I learned that in order to teach at the elementary level Kindergarten especially you need to be upbeat all of the time. The students feed off of how you are acting, so I was acting shy and so were the students.

            Question 3: In the first grade class there was one student with a disability. She had an aid with her at all times, but there was no particular APE teacher at this school at this point and time, they were in the middle of trying to find someone that would be able to work with her during her scheduled class time, but at that moment, she was just sitting against the wall on the mats or she was allowed to wander around the gymnasium. She was not completely and totally included into the program. Although she was in that class, that was the only time that I was introduced to her, they finally found someone that was able to work with her one on one, which is what she needed.

Day Two: Poison Peanut Butter

            Question 1: For the Kindergarten class it was interesting to see how the students worked together to get from one mat to another with only a scooter and a rope. This was like a problem solving activity. With the Kindergarteners we were more of a helper for them to give them ideas on how to get across without falling off the scooter and needing to start over. I learned that after observing the students, they are capable of working together to get across the “poison peanut butter” but they get very excited and cannot sit still for a long period of time, so maybe problem solving activities that don’t include a lot of movement may not be for this age level.

            Question 1: The first graders were more into the competitive component of the game. We as the teachers and observers gave them the concept of what they were supposed to do, which was to get from one mat to another without touching the floor and only using the tools provided. They were able to work together as a team and figure it out, it did take them a while to figure it out, but another thing that I noticed is that there are varying personalities in this grade level and the students are more apt to argue over who is going to do what in the activity. So, when making teams for these activities, I learned that I need to take that into account for the future. Maybe to make the teams before they come in to the classroom, once I know each of their set personalities.

Day 3: Gymnastics

            Question 2: Today the students had an obstacle course of gymnastics. The Kindergarteners shocked me at how well they were able to perform particular tasks. For example, I did not think that the students at that young of age would be able to do a backward roll, while some of the students were able to perform it quite well. They were also able to recite the different names and demonstrate their understanding of the different skills that they were taught in a prior class. Such as the pencil jump, roll, star jump, etc. 

            Question 2: The first graders were also into doing the obstacle course for the Gymnastics unit. They were placed into groups of about 4 and they demonstrated the different rolls and jumps that they were performing in the class. I was able to have them recite the names of each of the skills as they went by me. I also noticed that affectively the students were more willing to speak about how they were feeling that day, I had asked some of the students to rate themselves on a scale of 1-3 one being not happy, and 3 being really happy. It was interesting to see their responses as well and their explanations as to why they were feeling this way.

Day 4: Pre-assess and Stations

            Question 4: Today in the kindergarten class we started the class by reviewing our throwing skills. While reviewing the skills we had students that were not listening to directions and were just blatantly throwing the ball wherever they felt necessary. Finally, the host teacher Mr. Lamson asked the student to go sit over at the wall and to think about why she was sitting there. He allowed her to sit there for 2-3 minutes and then went over and discussed why she was behaving the way that she was. Once they were done discussing, she was then able to join back in to the group, which is where we divided the students up into their stations. The students are well aware of the rules in the class and if they are not followed they are to sit out and think about their reactions and discuss them with the teacher before returning into the activity. I believe this is a good managerial task because it helps to keep the class in toe, so to speak.

            Question 8: When working with the first grade class, there are aids that come in to help with some students that may miss-behave. It is apparent that both Mr. Lamson and the aids discuss how the students are doing in both his classroom and for the day in general. This will help Mr. Lamson be prepared as to how the lesson may run for the day. For example, one of the students was having a very bad day in school in general and the aids relayed the information to Mr. Lamson, so now he was able to keep an eye on the student throughout the entire lesson. It is very important to speak with other colleagues because it can help you better prepare for the future lessons in a year and for future years ahead.

Day 5: Lesson One for Kindergarten and 1st

            Question 7: Today I was preparing for lesson one for the Kindergarten students, I was running through my lesson at the particular throwing station. Mr. Lamson came over to check and see how the lesson was going. We then began to discuss how I was assessing the students. I explained to him that I was using a check list of the cues that they used in the classes before; he then stated that that was a good way to assess how they were remembering cognitively. In order to assess student learning we can focus on quantitative how accurately they are throwing, whether they can recite the different cues back to you when asked and affectively, they can rate themselves on a scale of 1-3.

            Question 1: Lesson one went pretty well with the first grade students, it was very interesting to see how well most of the students were performing the skill, but their major misconception with throwing was stepping in opposition. That was one thing that I learned that maybe breaking down the skill and helping them by placing a rubber band on the throwing hand and tape on the opposite foot, may have allowed for more of a visual cue, which could have helped them grasp the concept. I will keep that in mind for my future teaching in schools.

Day 6: Lesson Plan Two K-1

            Question 5: Today with the Kindergarten students we went through my second lesson plan, with throwing through the hoops again but now trying to hit the balloon in the center of the hoop. This lesson plan focused on the NYS standards because it was to help the students get moving in a safe and healthy environment and allow the students to know that they can play sports outside of school that involve throwing, like football, softball, baseball, etc. I wanted to include all concepts into the lesson, so at my station I reviewed the cues and then spoke with each of the students about their interests and ways to participate outside of school. They were all very intrigued to talk about their interests in different sports.

            Question 1: The first graders were very upbeat for today’s throwing lesson, because they were able to throw the ball through the hoop to try to hit the balloons. While performing it was interesting to see what students actually took their time to go through the different cues to help them to increase the chance of hitting the balloon. It was interesting to see how they took the time and effort in order to succeed; it was very refreshing to see that what I was saying to them was setting with them.

Day 6: Punting K-1

            Question 1: In the kindergarten class today the lesson was working on punting, but their treat at the end of the lesson was to go play on the playground. So the students knew that in order to be able to go play all the students needed to behave and participate to their fullest through the activity. Toward the end of the activity the students were all listening very well and performing the skill as best as they could. I learned that in some instances if the students are out of control, you can tell them let’s get through this activity and then we can go and do something more of interest to you; but I feel that is a partial down fall because they may now connect the idea that acting out means we can play on the playground. It is kind of a lose, lose situation in some points.

            Question 9: After observing the 1st grade class performing their punting skills it was apparent to me that if you are not watching all of the students, you will have some that are just sitting on the ground because they think that they can get away with it. I also learned that you have some students that will just keep doing the poor behavior even if you move into their vicinity/space and if you talk to them. They sometimes like to test your buttons so to speak, so Mr. Lamson stated that remaining cool and collective is the best thing to do. Speak with the student to find out why they are not participating and maybe there is a different route that can be taken. This lesson was a great insight and Mr. Lamsons advice was very helpful.

Day 7:  Basketball Dribbling

            Question 2: After observing and watching the Kindergartners dribble a basketball it was apparent that they were able to perform the skill, but not at a competent level. I did notice that the students were very determined in mastering the skill. We worked on standing still while dribbling, walking and dribbling. The students were grasping onto the concepts very well. Very intriguing to see how well they can perform the different skills.

            Question1: Today toward the end of the 1st grade lesson the students were getting bored with the activities. We included the dribbling concepts from the kindergarten lesson, but we also asked the students to show us their best tricks. The students would try anything to make it into a trick. We also just asked the students to sit in a circle and roll the ball from one person to another across the circle. It was interesting to me to see that the simplest games are fun for the students and not all lessons need to be strict in structure, because the student’s moods change so quickly.

Day 8: Farmers and Turkeys (Variations)

            Question 1: Kindergarten: For the kindergarten lesson we had the students become turkeys and stand in the circle (which was considered a turkey coup) we then had 4 taggers become the “farmers” the object was to have the turkeys run outside of the coupe grab a foam ball (turkey feed) and place in back in their coup without getting tagged by the farmers. By placing a theme behind the game it made the students more interested in the activity. That was one thing that I learned, by adding simple little themes into a game the students become more interested.

            Question 1: Now working with the 1st graders we kept the same concept behind the game but this time, there were hula hoops placed in the center of the coup, once they retrieved the feed they were to place it into the correct color coordinating hoop. This was interesting to see how well the students were able to maneuver between other people in their coup, the farmers outside of the coup and coordinating different colors. Very interesting to see how the students were able to react to one another in the game as well as how honest they were when getting tagged. One thing that I learned was to enforce the concept of honesty in my class room, that if someone says they tagged you then you were tagged, but the tagger should not lie. Very important concept and I was impressed at how well the students performed at that.

          Question 1: We switched up the game a tad for the 3rd graders; we have four groups a red, yellow, green and blue group, which each had their own quadrant. The concept was to gather all of your colored foam balls and return them to your quadrant first. It was a competition. I loved how competitive and how hard the students worked to perform this activity. They were moving the entire time. I learned that by making games a competition tends to vamp up the lesson a tad, at least in this class it did.

            Question 6: For the fourth grade students we used the same concept of the 3rd graders, but now we added taggers into the mix in each of the quadrants, so there was a safe zone along the outside of all four quadrants. But in order for the students to grab a ball in a quadrant they needed to perform a different skill, such as skipping, hopping, jumping, etc. into and out of a quadrant. At this level most students were performing all skills pretty well. It is always an insight to see that students at the elementary level are capable of many things. Definitely this experience was an eye opener for me as I had never worked with kids at the elementary level.