Monday, May 3, 2010

"I Gotta Go, I Have a Hair Appointment!"

This past lab was the last one for the year. My time spent at St. Mary's was great and I really enjoyed working with the kids.

We themed this lab around superhero, and everyone in the class dressed up as a superhero. Superman was the most popular costume, and I myself wore a Superman shirt. Kelly was dressed up as Flash, Dave made his own Batman costume, and Brendan also wore a Superman shirt. To start of, I wanted the kids to burn off some energy so we started with a quick game of Superhero tag. This is a variation of freeze tag, and when you get tagged, you have to pose as either the superhero of your choice, or whatever superhero I choose. We started off with doing our best Superman poses, and then added our best Spiderman poses as well. This got the kids a little tired so that they were easier to handle, and they got to just run around for a while.

Next came the parachute. We layed the parachute out, and they kids instantly went crazy. First, I explained all of the rules of the parachute, such as not run on or under the parachute without permission and listening at all times. After the rules were in place, I had the kids spread out around the parachute, and when everyone was holding on tight, I let them just go as crazy as they could and make as many wave as possible. I feel like this worked perfectly because I could tell they just wanted to whip the parachute around as much as they could so I let them get it out of their system before we went into the actual games. I had the kids practice making waves under control at waste height, low to the floor, and high by their shoulders and heads. Then we played some Popcorn which went really well, we played Sharkfin, and we also played Air Conditioner, along with some other games as well. The kids absolutely loved the parachute, and it was a great work out for them. They had to use their whole body to make waves, and everyone was exhausted, including me, by the end of our time playing with the parachute. After we tuckered the kids out with the parachute we followed them downstairs to the cafeteria and played with legos. All the boys love to play legos and it is a lot of fun to build ships and houses with them. They love to build ships and pretend they are from Star Wars, and I'm pretty sure they make up characters.

All of the groups looked really good, and we had a great last lab. I am really thankful to St. Mary's for allowing us to work with their students, and I think that this experience is really good for allowing me to learn how to begin to teach kids and how to communicate with them better. The kids really loved having us there, and I think that our labs were a huge success. The kids are a lot of fun, and the things they say sometimes is pretty funny. The title of this blog, "I Gotta Go, I Have a Hair Appointment", is a quote from one of the girls. She was in the middle of trying to say goodbye to one of the boys, and he really wanted to talk to her. She got really impatient, so she finally just stormed out and yelled, "I got to go, I have a hair appointment". My group and I found this to be pretty funny, and it was a great cap to the end of our time at St. Mary's.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


On Sunday the 25th, the was an event held at park center called ABCD Day. ABCD stands for All Beings Celebrating Differences. This event was put on by one of the students here at SUNY Cortland, and it was a huge success. I was there from 9:00 in the morning, until about 3:30 that afternoon helping set up and breakdown the gyms. There was a turn out of around 150 kids from Cortland and the surrounding area. The picture to the right shows some of the activities that were available to the kids in the main gyms at Park Center. There was a giant slide, a bounce house, basketball, football, Kan Jam, and several other games going on, all at the same time. The left court had the bounce house and slide, the middle had the basketball, football, and Kan Jam, and the far right court had exergames and scooter soccer. The exergames were a big hit. There were adults and kids playing them, and they are great because they involve physical activity while playing video games. Some of the big exergames are Dance Dance Revolution and various Wii games. There also other games that involved running, jumping, and moving side to side on a mat, which controlled the player in the game. The games in the center court were also a huge hit because after participating in each game, the kids received various amounts of tickets, which they could put into a raffle to win several different prizes. I think that my favorite prize that was given away was a Spooner board.

In gym D-305 there were wheel chair sports, and in the front dance studio there were mats, tunnels, and other things for toddlers to play with. I was in the gym playin wheel chair sports for a lot of the day, and we played power soccer, wheelchair basketball, an obstacle course, and a little wheelchair whiffle ball. The wheelchair sports where a big hit, and the kids really loved playing power soccer. After a while of playing organized games we just had a free time and allowed parents and kids to play in the wheelchairs and everyone had a great time.

ABCD Day went really well and I'm glad I chose to participate in the event. It was a great experience, and I was able to work with kids with disabilities, which was a first for me. The ages ranged from around 3 or 4 all the way to teenagers, and even the adults got in the mix. I was thanked many times by parents, and they really appreciated us putting this event together.

This coming Sunday, APEM is hosting a Wellnss Day at Park Center, so we hope to have another successful event. I will be presenting wheelchair sports and helping out with a frisbee station. This event is for Cortland teachers, and we hope to have between 30-50 in attendance. The event starts at 11:00 and it is bound to be a great time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

First Day Outside at St. Mary's

The weather for this past lab was nice enough to play outside. The kids were very excited to be going outside, and we also couldn't use the gym because of a play rehearsal. We were assessing kicking and basketball dribbing skills for this lab. In my opinion, I felt that the kids had an easier time kicking the ball, rather than dribbling it with their hands. I think this skill will develop more and get better as the kids continue to develop coordination and better motor skills.

My group was in the special projects area for the lab, so during the majority of the lab we were organizing the equipment closets and tidying up some other things during the lab. At the end of lab our job was to play a game with everyone, sing a song with a dance to it, and yell a group cheer. We did not get to play a game because we were down in the cafeteria, and all the kids were mellowed out watching Toy Story. We just went right into the song and cheer instead so that the kids didn't get all worked up again. Our song was a song about playing with the different characters from Toy Story such as Buzz, Woody, and Rex. It was sung to the tune of the Chicken Dance. The song was pretty good, but our background music was a little fast, so the kids had a tough time keeping up with the beat when singing and dancing to the music.

Overall, this lab was a pretty good one. I feel like the class has come a long way since the first lab we had, and most of us really know how to effectively get the kids moving. We have one lab left, which will be superhero themed. We will be using the big parachute to play games and the kids are definitely going to have a blast with this one.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter at St. Mary's

This visit to St. Mary's was the Monday before Easter, so our theme was Easter. All of our games were mostly based on throwing and catching "Easter Eggs" because the skills we were assessing were the overhand throw and catching. I came up with a simple game that allowed for the kids to be very active, and also to practice these skills. I called my game Scrambled Eggs. I set the game up with balls and poly spots, and only had enough balls for half of the class to get one. I had music playing, and during the music the kids had to perform a certain movement such as skipping, hopping, running, leaping, etc. When the music stopped they had to get a ball, and who ever got a ball ran to one line of poly spots, and who ever did not get a ball ran to the other line. Each person was lined up facing someone with a ball, and on my cue they threw the balls to their partner. To make sure each student was able to throw and catch I had them throw the balls back a forth a few times to get them to do both skills, and to also allow for practicing of the skills. I think that this was my favorite lab so far, and it is due mostly in part that my game was so successful. The kids were totally out of breath and sweaty, and they told me that they liked playing my game. This was such a simple game, however it worked perfectly to show the throwing and catching skills, and the kids loved playing it. One of the other groups decorated a giant cross and wrote Happy Easter across the top in celebration of the holiday, and the kids loved this too. The pre-k students were able to color in some Easter pictures to help decorate the cross, and it came out looking pretty good.

I hope that next lab goes as smoothly for me as this one did, and I am looking forward to going. The theme is Toy Story 3, and the skills assessed will be basketball dribbling and kicking. I am interested to see what kinds of games our class comes up with and I think that it will be another great lab.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jim Playfair Outburst...and Other Incredible Coaching Meltdowns

Jim Playfair is a coach for the AHL's Heat hockey team. After a call doesn't go his way, Playfair goes absolutley insane. Check out this video to watch.

Playfair's outburst reminded me of Phillip Wellman's meltdown a few years ago. Wellman is the manager for the Mississippi Braves, which is a minor league baseball team. This could be the most incredible erruption I have ever seen.

I saw this story online yesterday, and today on ESPN they had a whole slew of coaching outbursts. Here are more videos of some memorable coaching meltdowns.

Hockey coach Jim Schoenfeld

Hockey coach Robbie Ftorek throwing a bench

Asheville minor league baseball manager Joe Mikulik

And finally, Wichita Wingnuts baseball coach Kash Beauchamp

These coaches all showed their frustrations to the extreme, and while these outbursts may be extremely funny to watch, they show extremely poor sportsmanship. Either way, I love watching these coaching bloopers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Autistic Teen has a Perfect Bracket Through the First Two Rounds of Play

This is down right amazing. How many people do you know that have perfect brackets thus far? Your answer is probably zero, and with the downfall of Kansas, Georgetown, Villanova, and others, many peoples' brackets were busted right off the bat. That is not the case for Alex Herrmann. His bracket is perfect up to this point, and I am eager to see how his Sweet 16 picks play out. Tournament play resumes today, and continues through Sunday. I was shown this story today and the article can be found here, on Fancast's website.
Alex says he loves numbers and is pretty good at stats and working with numbers. His overall winner is Purdue, so I'm interested to see how that works out. My winner was Kansas, so my bracket was pretty much done after their loss.
Check out the article and watch the video to see more about this interesting story.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Blaze Spotted at St. Mary's

The theme of our last visit to St. Mary's was dinosaurs. My group led off the activities with a few games, and it was extremely tough. The kids were extremely wound up and we definitely need to work on using games that limit the down time. The games that we had planned would have worked with a calmer group, but since it was the end of the day and the kids were sick of sitting around they were full of energy. It's great that the kids have energy and want to be active, but we just didn't come prepared enough to get them right into activity and have them moving.

We led off with Kelly's game, and when we practiced it and played in during our pre-lab, it seemed to go pretty well. There were a few things that got ironed out, and it looked like the game was going to be successful. I feel that her game would have been a hit with the kids if they weren't so crazy when we first got there, and the kids had a very hard time not playing with the props and equipment on the floor.

Then we tried my game, and I had a terrible feeling it was going to bomb as soon as I saw the energy level of the kids. My game called for them to wait single-file in a line, and go one a at time for each team, and I just knew it was going to be a hard task to get them to listen. I was right. For the most part the kids understood what I wanted them to do, but since they were so wound up the couldn't leave each other alone and had a very tough time waiting in line for each other. I believe that this game would have been fine if they were calm.

My group then went down to the cafeteria, and it was a completely different ball game down there. The kids had snacks and were all sitting and behaving pretty well. I built several Legos creations with a few of the kids, and they were sitting there calmly and we had a great conversation about different Star Wars characters.

And then Blaze came.

As soon as the kids saw Blaze they were ecstatic. It was almost impossible to get them to listen to me and to get them to calm down. I think that it was great to have Blaze there, and I think that the next time when I am in a situation similar to this one I will use a mascot or character like Blaze to actually get the kids to listen better. I will do this by using Blaze as an example of what they should be doing and they will follow Blaze because they are excited that he is there.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My First Prezi

Here is my first prezi. It includes information about childhood growth and motor development. It describes a couple of concepts of development, and it describes several stages of development.

Monday, March 1, 2010

St. Mary's Pre-K Brings Home the Gold

The theme at St. Mary's for our last visit was following in the spirit of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. My group worked with the Pre-K classes for this visit, and we came up with some activities and games for the kids to play that were based around the Olympics. For crafts, we helped the kids color and create their very own Olympic medal. Most of the kids loved this and enjoyed wearing their medals proudly around their necks. This was a really fun activity to do with the kids because they all loved making their own medals, and they also loved decorating my medal for me. It was funny because I was taking my time with my medal and getting side tracked when I was helping the kids decorate their medals, so they were mostly finished and were extremely eager to help me with my medal. They offered suggestions on what colors to use and ended up taking over and decorating my medal for me. Needless to say my medal was full of many colors and scribbles from all of the kids. I also read a book called "The Wuzzolympics". The book was a cartoon story about an Olympic race. The moral of the story was to prepare, practice, and most importantly have fun while participating in sports. I tried to get the kids to understand that having a lot of fun was the most important thing about playing, but I'm not sure how many of them understood because of their age, plus they were extremely into the book. One of my group members got the book to read, and I am glad he did because it was a major hit with the kids and they loved it. After making the medals and reading the book we practiced some poses of skiers, snowboards, and other athletic poses that the kids have seen at the Olympics.
After that we played some games in the gym with the kids. Unfortunately, the game I had planned didn't really go as well as I hoped it would have gone. I modified the game What Time is it Mr.Fox, and incorporated the three motor skills which were galloping, hopping, and running. My plan was to have everyone wear their medals and they would be the "Olympians". One student would be called the Gold Medal Thief, and would call out either bronze, silver, or gold. If he/she called out bronze they would have to gallop, silver would be hopping, and gold would be running. On gold, the Thief would tag the Olympians and steal their gold medals. Well it ended up being a somewhat confusing game, and by the time I got to present my game the kids were losing focus, so it didn't go over too well, but it sounded decent on paper.

The game we played last with all of the kids ended up being really fun. It was a tag game that sounded like it might have been slightly confusing for the kids, but after a few minutes the kids caught on and the game was a lot of fun. The only problem I saw with it was that there was a lot of non-activity, but overall it was a pretty successful game. The song we sang as a group at the end was the "Down by the banks with the hanky panky" song, and it was slightly confusing because some kids new the song, some didn't, and some just didn't understand what was going on. It is a catchy song, but is uses showcasing, one of the Hall of Shame techniques. One of the kids absolutely loved to be in the center of the group dancing away, but another kid was completely embarrassed and ran out of the circle in tears. This just shows that showcasing really is a bad technique, I feel for every age level, because there will always be students who are shy and who absolutely hate performing and being put on the spot solo in front of their peers.

I love going to St. Mary's and I feel that this experience is really allowing me to learn how to communicate better with the students. I work at a summer camp and work with young kids, so I have some experience with coming up with games and leading a group. I work with an older age group during the summer, and I have been working primarily with the Pre-K class up to this point, so it is interesting to see the difference in motor skills and the level different ages are on.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tag is Always a Good Choice

After reading the two articles on the Hall of Shame, I can say that I completely agree with almost all of the statements made. Many teaching techniques described in the articles do not help students because they limit total activity time, and it singles out students.

The showcasing technique is terrible because only the strongest and most confident students will succeed in the skill. Even if a student can perform the skill when practicing in a group, he may be too shy to perform the skill with the entire class sitting there watching him. This technique also severely hinders activity time because only one students is doing anything at a given time. If your class has 20 or more students in it, that could take the entire class time and each student would only have had about two minutes of activity during the whole class, depending on the class time.

I personally will not be using many of the games and techniques described in the Hall of Shame, but I will definitely be using tag games as part of my lesson plan. Tag games, when done correctly are amazing tools to keep kids active and participating. The style that is described in the Hall of Shame is obviously terrible. If you get tagged and are out for the rest of the game, then that is a major waste of time. As a teacher, I will modify the game so that the kids are active throughout the game. Kids love to act like animals and firemen and policemen, so coming up with tag games that are based on these would be a good idea. You could play cat and dog tag, where the taggers are the dogs, and the non-taggers are the cats. The dogs (taggers) chase the cats (non-taggers) and after a non-tagger is tagged, they then become a tagger. Blob tag is another popular tag game and it keeps the kids moving, and also works on the affective domain as well.

Almost every child that I have worked with absolutely loves to play tag, and they will play tag forever. The key is to have more than one type of tag game in mind because they will get bored with playing only one single type of tag game for 40 minutes, or however long the class period is. Kids love using their imaginations so any tag game that allows them to act as something such as a superhero or a favorite cartoon character will motivate them to play. As long as the tag game you develop allows the kids to hit the psychomotor, cognitive, and affective domain, your game is golden, and your students will definitely enjoy playing it because it will be full of challenges for them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dinosaurs, Lincoln Logs, and Fire Hoses

Monday February 8th was our first real hands-on lab. We really got more involved with the kids and played our own games with them. We focused on playing tag games because all kids absolutely love to play tag. The kids loved our tag games and we played them for a while, but they did get a little boring after playing multiple games of each. Jack then stepped in with a game of his own. In Jack's game, everyone lined up and we were all fire trucks. On Jack's cue, we all ran to another line making a siren noise, as if we were driving to the fire. When we got to the line (fire) we had to put it out using our fire hoses, and also making the noise a hose makes while doing so. After the fire was out we needed to rush back to the start, continuing to make siren noises. This game was really good because it worked on a lot of different things. The kids thought about was fire trucks and hoses sound like, they reinforced their knowledge of what firemen do, and they also got physical activity while doing so.

In the Pre-K classroom I had a blast. I played with Lincoln Logs and dinosaurs for quite a while. I played with several different kids using the same activity, and they all loved, both girls and boys. I kind of allowed the kids to direct the course of the activity but I followed the same loose direction. The game was either that they dinosaurs were friendly, or they were at battle with each other. The girls liked to have them be friends, and the boys loved to have them battle. On both sides, I built dinosaur houses out of Lincoln logs with the kids, and they all loved to have a place for their dinosaurs to eat and sleep in safety.

Overall, I love St. Mary's so far and I cannot wait to go back for another lab. It is a great experience and I am really learning a lot about how to successfully and positively interact with kids to get them to be active.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First Day of Lab

The first lab was really fun and interesting. We went on a tour of the different rooms that we will be working in, and we also got to meet and play with the kids for a while. We not only played games in the gym, but we also went into the Pre-K classrooms and saw what the kids were doing outside the gym. It was a good experience because it is good know what else your students might be doing during the day. In the classrooms we read books, played house, and played with various toys that were available to the students. I was served "play food", which consisted of chocolate milk, chicken, biscuits, and chicken noodle soup by one of the girls in the class who loved to play in the kitchen. I also played basketball with some of the kids and they are really good! I played with a 10 year old, and a 6 year old, and both of them loved shooting threes, and making them too. There was a clear developmental difference between the two boys however, and it was interesting to see it first hand. Can't wait to go back next Monday!!