Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time to Start Moving

Today I took the lead in most classes and began to teach most of the segments in the class.  The first class that I took was the Kindergarten class.  I have to admit that I was not impressed with the way I taught the younger students.  When I was demonstrating the different stations, I should've had all of the students sit in the middle of the gymnasium so they could see and hear me better.  When I was on one side of the gymnasium, the students who were on the other side of the gym could not see or hear me.  For the first and second grade class I had the students move to the middle so I did not run into the same problem with the Kindergarten class.

Another thing that I needed to work on was projecting my voice.  I was told that my voice was commanding, but I needed to project my voice in order for the students to hear me.  Now that I have been in the school for almost two weeks, I am beginning to do the introduction for the class when they walk in.  This includes telling them where to sit, doing a sneaker check, and taking attendance for the class.  I have begun to count the number of students after I take attendance to make sure that the numbers match.  This is important because my host teacher told me he did not do that when he first started teaching, and had a new student he didn't know about for about a week.  As a student teacher I have to pay attention to the little things that my host teacher does with the students.  I would not have counted the students if I hadn't seen my host teacher do it first.  Teaching a physical skill is only a part of the puzzle in teaching, classroom management and procedures are very important as well.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Safety First

Today I learned a valuable lesson of why equipment should be checked before it is used. While setting up the different fitness centers across the gymnasium, my host teacher began to practice chin-ups on the bar. When he went to perform the chin-up, the bar came off of the wall and hit him in the head. Thankfully, he was not seriously hurt. The most important thing is that he checked the equipment first before students used it. If a student had gotten hurt he could have been found responsible for negligence. This showed me that you should always check the gymnasium for any safety hazards that could result in students becoming injured.
We also had our open house tonight as well. A majority of the parents visited the classroom teachers, with only a few parents stopping in the Physical Education office. My host teacher was prepared for any questions the parents had and was able to explain the curriculum to the parents. During this time I learned the proper way to set-up a grade book. My host teacher wrote any medical conditions the student may have next to their name in the book. This way if a substitute teacher comes in, they can visibly see the health issues a student may have.

After he showed me how to do his grade book, I did the other teacher's grade books, along with the music teacher's book. I did not mind doing this, and when you help others out, they are more likely to help you out in the future. This can help a Physical Education program expand because other teachers may help you out like you helped them out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You're Up

It has almost been a full week since I started student teaching at the elementary school. Today I taught a fitness unit to the second and first grade classes. The second grade class went very well. My voice was commanding and I finished right on time when teaching to the class. I missed a few parts on my lesson close such as reminding the students to bring sneakers and having the students recite the "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" quote they use for students to stay active. My host teacher reminded me to use language that the students can understand, as I was still using words that the students may not have understood.

The first grade class was much more difficult to teach. Both teachers were involved in different situations with students so I took the lead and taught the class again. The classes showed up late and the lesson did not start until the half way point of the class. I taught the lesson the same way I taught the second grade. I had first-graders jumping rope without any progressions or lead up activities first. This posed a problem since about one in every three students was jumping over their rope. Classroom management was difficult as well since the students do not see me as an authority figure yet. I desisted students which took away from the lesson time. For the future I have to remember to talk or desist those students when the task has begun. This way no time is taken away from the lesson.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Full Week Begins

Today began my first full week as a teacher in the elementary school.  It was the first day where we had this group of students because of the block scheduling.  It was a busy day since these classes were not able to go over classroom management routines last week.  The third grade class was the first class and they were the only class that had time to use the jump ropes. 

Fourth and fifth grades were also unable to partake in any activities as well.  After going over the rules & routines for the class, they were then spoken to about an outdoor education trip they will be participating in sometime in the future.  As a future educator I have to make sure the key components of the lesson that was missed today will be taught in the next class so my students do not miss out.

For the younger students in grades K-2, they were also a victim of not having enough time to use the jump ropes.  The teachers had a backup plan of different exercises the students could do such as jumping jacks, push-ups, and others.  What were most important about these exercises were the cues the teachers used to help the younger students.  For example, when teaching jumping jacks they used "Apart, together," as the two cues.  They would then progress into performing actual jumping jacks, going slow while the teacher recited the cues.  When the students were ready he'd make them say the ABC's while they were performing jumping jacks.  This is a great way to incorporate classroom curriculum into Physical Education.

Friday, September 9, 2011

sNOw Day

Yesterday on September 8th, we did not have school due to excessive flooding in the surrounding areas.  Today the students were on a C day.  The school goes on an A, B, C, D, E, F days so the skipping of the B day was confusing for some.  This meant that the students in class today had already done the first day routines, so we started our fitness unit.

All of the classes with the exception of Kindergarten were using jump ropes to promote fitness.  The school associates with Jump Rope for Heart so when the students got their rope they were told to put it in the shape of a heart while they listened to further instruction.  This is great awareness for the program.  The students would jump rope while listening to music before stopping and practicing a different component of fitness.  For example, they would go over muscular strength & endurance while the students practiced push-ups and sit-ups.  When they took another break, different types of stretches were included to inform the students about proper flexibility.

The students were told to count the total number of jumps they completed and not the consecutive number.  It is important to not include the consecutive number because it allows for students to practice correct form and students do not feel bad when they can only get a few consecutive jumps in a row.  I demonstrated for the Kindergarten class how to do correct jumping jacks.  I was told that my voice level was fine which was something I was concerned about, but the language I used was not appropriate.  The students had trouble understanding a few of the words that I used.  I have to remember next time that when talking to the younger students to use words that they will understand.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You have to start somewhere

Today was my first day of student teaching. It was quite the experience being in a school for a full day. I arrived at the school early to complete not just one, but two bulletin boards. Fitness is the unit they are starting on Friday, so that was the topic on one of the boards. The other bulletin board consisted of football and soccer pictures. The students will be in a football/soccer unit at the end of the month.
I also found out that in addition to teaching that I am in charge of the traffic circle at the school in the morning. My host teacher directs traffic as the students are being dropped off in the morning. It is not a fun job, but an important job to ensure that students are dropped off safely.
After traffic duty it was time for classes to begin. My host teachers went over proper classroom management with their individual classes, as well as the fire drill procedure. They each turned it into a game where they would have the students run around before simulating an actual fire alarm with their whistle. When the students heard the whistle they would run to the door in a single file line like they would for an actual fire drill.
Overall it was a good first day. I did not get to teach, but I know that it will only be a matter of time before I do start teaching. There are about 70 students per class so I must make sure that I am prepared.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not everyone can swim like Michael Phelps

This was my first semester at Cortland. I participated in seven different classes here, and they all were challenging in their own way. However, one of these classes was very challenging to me this semester. I can guess what you're thinking, that's it's Anatomy, or BioMechanics, or a 400 level class. No it wasn't, it was actually a one credit class. It was Aquatics.

Before this semester, I had very little experience that involved swimming. I go to the pool, or beach, or waterparks in the summer, but didn't really swim. Those were more social events, or events that involved my camp. When I got into Aquatics, I learned that this wasn't going to be an easy class. My swimming strokes were awful going in, and they may not still be that good. However, I noticed myself that I improved. It took a lot of practice, but I was able to swim at a proficient level.

One of the requirements is to swim 500 meters. I didn't think at first this would be a problem for me. I am a former cross country runner, and during the hot days of summer I would run 8-10 miles a day, five times a week. I was wrong. I would become tired after the 100 meter mark. While my time may not have been the greatest, I learned workouts in class that I can use. My muscles and body won't like it, but these workouts can help keep me physically fit.

The most challenging part of this course was the diving. I never knew how to dive before this class. I always tried to learn, but could never figure it out. I practiced this a lot for two reasons. The first is because it's an exit competency. It's required. The second being that if I didn't learn and do it now, then what would I do in the future? I told myself I had to learn because if I don't, then when I am a teacher someday, I will be a hypocrite to my students. I was able to perform a dive off the diving board using a three step hurdle approach. I got over the mental fear of a backdive and performed it. After I performed those two, the mental block was gone. I performed a basic dive off the platform, and actually received a high score on it.

Fear is something that all of us have. Whether we choose to admit it or not, it's true. The only way to overcome your fears is to face them. The picture above is of me at the old swimming pool I used to work at when I was in high school. I was trying to perform a front flip, but couldn't do that either. That's the next thing to learn.