Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Skit

Not to bad but I could have done so much better if i wasn't sick. My voice totally gave out on me half way through. I was looking at my index card the entire time even though I new the whole skit. I wish we could do it over again. However, it was fun to create, dress up and make fouls of ourselves. I would do it all over in a heart beat.

My experience

Reflecting on your experience so far at St Mary’s, what do you think have been some difficulties or challenges you have faced? Consider all areas – environment, children, etc.
I feel the biggest challenge that I have faced so far is keeping the students interested in the games we are trying to play with them. Since we see the children so late in the day and many of them want to do there own thing it is difficult sometimes to get them to listen to the directions. My group has done very well in picking games that we could explain quickly and still keep the students engaged for a considerable amount of time.
Now that we have been going for a few weeks and all the children know us by name and are more comfortable around us it is much easier to get them to listen and participate.

What ideas/suggestions do you have to resolve the difficulties or challenges that you wrote about in #1?
When we first went to St. Mary’s I was choosing games to play with the students that were slightly above there ability. I was used to working with middle school students, through the boys and girls club, that could understand more complex directions mainly because they were older. Now that we have gone to St. Mary’s and I know what games are suitable for younger students I have been doing much better finding more age appropriate games.

Observing the students

Observe the St. Mary’s student(s) as they participate in the activities. Describe the variability of the movement patterns you observed. Be sure to note with whom you worked, what grade they were in, and any differences in age, gender, or ability.

This week we observed two new students at St. Mary’s as they performed leaps, horizontal jumps and slides. The students were Shamus and Sophia who were both in kindergarten. Shamus is six and Sophia is five. As I watched Shamus perform the various activities I noticed he had trouble using his upper body correctly for most of them. For example while he was doing his horizontal jump he didn’t bring his arms back far enough so he didn’t have that extra explosive power from the start. He did bring them up as he went through the jump but it was more for balance and not a means of power.

Describe “teaching strategies” that YOU used today towards connecting with the children. What were they? How did YOU use them? What was the effect? Were there any strategies that were more effective than others? If so, why?

The teaching strategy that I used was listening to the children. I notice that if the students feel you care about what they have to say and use some of there ideas they will be more energetic to play the game and many of the students will listen better to what I have to say. For example when we were explaining how to play the rock, paper, scissor game many of the students just kept yelling “lets be rock” or “lets be paper” so I said we can be rock first then paper next and after the students heard that they let me finish explaining the game and they understood the directions.

After being at St. Mary’s for these past weeks and observing and working with the students, can you briefly describe an effective strategy (or strategies) that you used to capture the children’s attention and keep them on task for your activity.
I haven’t really used a strategy to get the students attention but when I want them to get in a group I will say “new game” so they can all hear me and most of the time they come running to listen. A good strategy that I have seen the TA’s use is the counting method. The TA’s count down from 5 and almost all the students come running and sit in a circle in front of them. As long as all the students know this method then it seems to be affective.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Effective teaching strategies

The teaching strategy that I noticed being used and I used myself was asking the students what they wanted to do or if they new how to play the game that I had named. This makes them feel that we as teachers are listening and care what they have to say. I noticed when I played a game that they wanted to play for a few minutes they were ready to try a new game that I would explain. Also having the students come into a circle around the person that is teaching so he/she can explain the game was very effective. Breaking them up into teams first seems to get the students distracted and they don’t listen to instructions as well.

The hop and gallop

I worked with and observed two kindergarteners named Luke and Sophia who were both five years old. Luke had more trouble with all the locomotor skills then Sophia did most obvious the hop. He was unable or was not sure he had to hop on one foot. Sophia on the other hand did most of the movements with no problem. The only thing she did have some trouble with was swinging her arms correctly during the gallop. When I realized that Luke associated the hope with hopping like a frog I showed him the way that we wanted him to do it today. He then corrected his hop but still had trouble doing it the way we wanted.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Watching the Fine motor activities

The second time we went to St. Mary’s school Professor Yang had us watch the students’ fine motor skills and the differences between grade level, gender and ability. When I observed the students at St. Mary’s I noticed many different things about there motor development. I worked with third graders in our last lab and many of them were very good at skills I asked them to do. They were able to run and jump but at a lower elementary to high initial level. Gender didn’t seem to affect the motor development of the children however age/grade level had a huge impact. Watching the pre-k kids run and jump it was obvious many of them were still at a lower initial level of motor development. Then watching the third and fourth graders sprint across the gym it was obvious they were much more developed. It seems that between pre-k and third grade a lot of maturing goes on it terms of motor development.
The second part of the lab we spent watching the fine motor activities with the group we were assigned to. Most of the activities we were doing didn’t involve many fine motor skills such as drawing, however, when the children had snack time I did watch how they picked up their food as professor Yang recommended. Many used there entire hand even though the cookies were small and used both hands when picking up the cups of milk they were given. Again I only observed the third graders so I’m not sure exactly what the difference was in this skill with the other age group. There seemed to be no difference in gender when the children were performing the fine motor skills.

First day at St.Marys

The first day at St. Mary’s school we were introduced to the children and the teachers that participate in the after school program. The teachers gave us the run down on a few students that had either special needs or had something that we had to watch for. One of the students had cochlear implants which is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. This young girl wore a small pack on her back which incased the battery and the main housing of the unit. Coming out of the pack were two wires with magnets at the end of each of them. These would be placed behind the ear and would stick to magnets that were surgically planted in her head. Seeing this young girl have to over come an obstacle like this made me think twice about things in my life that I thought were hard to over come.
After we were introduced to some of the children inside we followed the teachers and students outside to have our first real interaction with the students. There were quite a few children running around the playground and really avoiding many of us at first. The students were mostly in first grade and were very shy around people they did not know. It took a little while but eventually we had the students playing tag and running all over the playground.
My group, the Fab Five, made a great impression the first day and from then on I knew St. Mary’s was going to be a fun and exciting adventure.