Friday, November 6, 2009

Bring on the Circus !

This weeks lab was based on a circus theme.  All of the children were excited to see most of the costumes that the "college kids" had worn.  My group was assigned to do what every physical education teacher has to do on a day-to-day basis, which is cleaning and organizing equipment.  While most people would think that cleaning out closets and other rooms would be boring, I found it fun.  There is so much equipment that a teacher could easily forget that they have and once they see it, it could bring thoughts and ideas for new games!
Equipment that every teacher knows of, such as hula-hoops could spark a new creative idea.  During free time on monday the children were so creative that they made a "house" out of hula-hoops.  (How come I never thought of that !?).  They were so proud of their "homes" and they even let me join them inside!  What great imaginations these children have.  As a physical education major, I hope to use the children's ideas and make them into opportunities for the entire class to be part of.  
At the end of the day my group was assigned to come up with a closing song and dance.  
were supposed to do the Ho-key Po-key, but the CD player was broken.  We knew there was no need to panic though because there were songs on Prof. Yang's ipod and there were 5 of us to be creative and make up a dance.  We chose "Shake Out Your Sillies" by The Wiggles.  This song went perfect with out circus theme because it was so silly and spunky.  The children all participated in the song and seemed to have enjoyed it very much.  It was a lot of fun!  Song's and music have a great impact on the children in such a positive way.  Once you turn on the music it's like you're turning on their energy and eagerness to play.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pre-K Made My Day :)

When I stepped into St. Mary's Monday morning I had no idea what to expect.  I was so used to being in the gymnasium and outside with the students that it made me a bit nervous to think about being in a classroom with them.  I was assigned to the youngest group of pre-k children which so happened to be Prof. Yang's daughter, Lilly's class.  Lilly took charge right away and showed me where she hung up her jacket and her book bag.  She then brought me into her classroom and I introduced myself to her teacher Mrs. M.
As I worked with the children we colored and made "cookies" out of play-dough.  I interacted with most of the children but mostly Lilly, Mallory, and Jack who seemed like they had known me for years.  They kept telling me how other classmates of theirs weren't present because they were sick and had "throwed up".  The children were very concerned for their fellow classmates who were absent that day.  They seemed to be very careful about things, especially getting sick.  I'm guessing that they get this from their parents and teachers being so concerned about swine flu, etc.  Jack taught me that he is supposed to cough into his elbow because it spreads less germs.  This is a great concept that I hadn't learned until I was in middle school.  
Another healthy choice that the students made was to wash their hands after coloring and playing with the play-dough.  They even had a cute song from Barney that they sang to remind themselves how to thoroughly wash their hands. 

"Tops and bottoms
Tops and bottoms
In between
In between
All around your hands
All around your hands
Now they're clean
Now they're clean."

They also had many other songs that were catchy and educational at the same time.  One was "Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up" and "Good morning" Where each student shook hands with the person next to them.  
Besides all of these songs, there was another factor that effected the atmosphere of the classroom in a positive way.  It was Mrs. M.  Just being in her classroom for one hour, I didn't want to leave because it's hard to find a room full of all happy people these days.  As a teacher, I plan to do what Mrs. M does.  She makes each student feel special and safe in her classroom.  She uses techniques that make things much easier.  She has a class leader which changes every day to be fair.  This student gets to be line leader and bring in ONE toy of their own for the day and show it during show and tell.  Mrs. M told me that she doesn't allow the students to bring their own toys into the classroom because then they become selfish and don't share.  The fact that the toys aren't theirs takes away the "mine" and "yours".  Each toy in the classroom belongs to Mrs. M and because she is sharing with the students, they know that they have to also share with one another.  
Mrs. M also uses physical techniques on the children to remind them how to act properly in the hallway.  While we were walking single file down the hall to wash our hands, the children were walking "quiet as a mouse".  Which meant that their hands were up near their heads in a cupped form looking like mouse ears.  This way the children were reminded to be quiet like a mouse, and they were keeping their hands to themselves.  When the children were in the classroom sitting in a circle and going over the date in English and Spanish, Mrs. M was using techniques to keep the children calm.  She had the children sit crisscross applesauce with their hands in their laps.  This kept their hands to themselves and also kept them from getting their fingers stepped on if someone was to walk by.  
Each student in Mrs. M's classroom is unique in their own way, but each and every one of them responded so well to her way of accomplishing things.  She had such positive reinforcement for each child.  From the moment a child walked into the room and was greeted with such passion, to the moment I left the classroom when Mrs. M still hadn't taken the smile off of her face, there was no time for any student to feel like they weren't special.  I wish there were more places like Mrs. M's classroom.  

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's Halloween, Let's Stay Lean!

During Monday's lab was the first time that our group worked with the pre-k children.  We observed leaping, horizontal jumping, and sliding.  It was interesting to me the large difference in ability from pre-k to just first grade.  Only two years between and the children advance so much.  The pre-k group was ready for any task that was thrown at them, but their responses to doing things such as horizontal jumping were extremely different than the responses of children slightly older than them. Their motor skills are not as advanced.  Although they were jumping and moving forward, they didn't thrust their arms or do anything extra to propel themselves.  This is what makes me realize how important it is to teach children from the youngest ages possible.  As a physical education teacher I will need to correct and strengthen the tiniest things because I don't want them to become habits that are hard to get rid of.  

As I was explaining to the children how to slide correctly I could see that they were very interested in what I was saying.  They want to do things and "show off" the things that they know how to do.  They love the attention and using positive comments after they finish a task is a great way to keep them motivated.  Although the children were very interested in what I was doing they were quickly distracted when Blaze, the Cortland Red Dragon's mascot came to visit.  He played with the children and just the costume had all of the children hyped up and ready to play!  This lab went very well and was extremely enjoyable!  It was amazing seeing the children's faces light up as Blaze walked into the gymnasium.  I'm so glad to be a part of this program, who would've thought that going to lab and working with these children could make my day and always put me in such a great mood?