Monday, December 12, 2011

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.


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