Sunday, February 22, 2009

SPARK Workshop

On February 4th and 7th, I had the opportunity to attend the SPARK workshop which focused on active recreation. The host was very energetic while he boosted my mental and physical activity early in the morning. He provided us with many helpful tips and activities for a fun, safe, and effective physical education setting. 

- While moving around the gym, we used music as a way to signal the beginning and end of a certain activity. When the music was playing we preformed different locomotor movements around our own personal space and shared open space with others. As well, we use music to learn a fun warm up dance!
-Also, after the music stopped we were asked to find a partner, introduce ourself in a unique way or do an activity with that person (thumb wrestling, jumping jacks), so that we could have that partner for a later activity if necessary. 
*Success or Try Again
-We played a fun new game of rock paper scissors where you could never lose! The concept of success / try again kept everyone active while learning a game that certainly takes many repetitions to master. 
-Having different partners for various activities allowed us to work on important social skills and helped disguise the exercise because it was more enjoyable
*Disguise Exercise
-We played fun games such as seeing how many times you could touch your shoulder or clap hands with your partner while in the pushup position. Next we stayed in that pushup position, facing our partner and tried to grab a bean bag when the music stopped. Then we got into groups of four and played a relay race in the pushup position where the teams were lined up in a row and the first person slid the bean bag through to the end, then that person grabbed the bean bag and ran to the front to repeat. In this way, the race was not to an end line but to see how far each team could get. A race against the clock or your own personal best is a great way to keep children motivated!
*High Activity, Small Steps
-Small progressions were key to learning the activities. Once the host could tell we mastered a concept, he moved one step further. As well, one of my favorite strategies to teaching was by having the own group members master a part of a dance or movement activity then teach it to the others. So if we had 4 members in a group, each person counted off (1,2,3,4) and mastered their section of the activity so they could come back to the group and teach others.
*Debrief and Stretch at End
-In order to learn from the days activities, it was essential to debrief and talk through the strategies, what worked and what did not, and what we learned in the session. This can be done while the children are stretching 
*Other Activities
-Name game- small circle where everyone says name and does a unique move (jump, swish, kick) then everyone repeats
-Hula Hoop- we had to pass the hula hoop around a circle while holding hands. We incorporated math into this by counting multiples of 7 every time it passed by someone.
-Ball- with a partner (back to back) we passed a ball over our head, under legs, and side to side.  This was a great exercise!

I will definitely incorporate the games and strategies I learned at the SPARK workshop into my lesson plans! 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

St Mary's Lab 1

And so it begins... 

My journey into the fun world of Physical Education, I can now say, has officially begun. In PED 201, Block 1 of my formal teaching, we were able to get our first real field experience as teachers. I'm very glad I brought energy and enthusiasm for the day because the Pre K children I worked with kept me on my toes! This age group had creative imaginations, short attention spans, and similar abilities when it came to coloring, building, and playing in the gym with different balls, hoops, and activities. Boys and girls enjoyed playing together and showed similarities in ability. For instance, when we hopped, skipped, and jumped through the hoops it was clear that all of the students were around the same level. I noticed the older students in the gym were more separated between boys and girls and had obvious differences in ability. It was an overall great first experience! These children will keep us young as we match their energy levels and motivate them to new heights. I'm excited to see what next week will bring as I work more closely with the older students. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dodgeball... You're Out!

Let's face it. The traditional game of dodgeball, while the intentions were great, cannot be played in schools today. When it first came about, dodgeball was not meant for bullies to pick on their favorite prey and it did not physically or emotionally torment students. Unfortunately, the world we live in today unintentionally places negative schema's on games like dodgeball because it uses human targets. So, if we bend the rules of dodgeball -  where the main objective is to aim the ball at other human targets - we must give it a new name and therefore a new purpose so that the cognitive and affective aspects of the game can be positive for all students. I feel that if you are going to play a game like dodgeball in Physical Education class, then at least 80% of the students should want to play, while you strive to make it successful and enjoyable and active for the other students. 

Monday, February 2, 2009