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Monday, February 20, 2012

Are Line Sports Worthy of the Hall??

When looking at the games in the "Hall of Shame" it is clear to see the differences between these games and the games we play at St. Mary's. Our games involve more than a simple winner or loser (in fact our games often have neither), more than just raw physical skills, have much more movement and interaction, and do not look to single any of the kids out or put them on the spot. The games in the "Hall of Shame" are the reason that PE teachers get a bad rap, and are seen as a joke. They involve concepts and objectives that anyone could instruct a group on, and have little to no benefit once the students are out of class.

The games we choose to play at St. Mary's all involve motor skills we look to improve on each lab, or if it was a regular class environment each class period. If they do involve a loser it is a team, not one or two students getting put on display for their inability or inefficiency. A lot of times our games will involve cognitive development, using thinking and other subject areas to be successful. Our games also provide affective growth in the interaction with fellow students, as well as the positive reinforcement gained by the attainable goal of the game.

Line soccer is another game I was surprised to see in the "Hall of Shame." While I have never played line soccer in a class (or at least do not remember), I often played what I guess would be referred to as "line basketball," which was the same concept just a different sport. Looking back there certainly are flaws. Many students sit out, many do not touch the ball, many do not break a sweat, and many get bored fast.

However the game is not totally useless. This drill was a very beneficial and commonly used drill for my varsity basketball team to work on defense, offense, and most importantly, intensity. This drill always got the team fired up, while also allowing my coach to critique certain skills that he may have noticed are lacking in regular game play. When I become a basketball coach I plan on using this drill no matter what grade level.

While it may be a great drill for a practice, the fact remains it needs adjustment before it can be implemented in to a PE curriculum. The game must be adapted so that NYS Learning Standards are met, as well as NASPE Standards for high quality PE.

An easy way to do this is to approach this game as a warm up game for a tactical lesson on basketball. To do this it is important to occupy more than one hoop. In my gym in middle school, for instance, we had 6 basketball hoops. Instead of playing at one hoop, with the whole class watching the 3 or 4 students participating, the class should be broken up in to equal sized, smaller groups. This gives more playing time for each student as well as puts their nervousness at ease a little with fewer eyes watching them. When numbers are called out, instead of simply running to the ball, different motor skills could be worked to achieving possession. Crab walk, hopping, horizontal leaping, or galloping, are all ways to do this and appropriate depending what age level you are teaching. You could also work on specific skills within each mini game. This drill could be used to emphasize whatever you want to be the key piece of information you want your students to obtain for the class, and could change daily. Instead of playing the traditional “first team to score wins,” you could say that five passes must be made before you could even shoot, which works on ball movement, v-cuts to and from the ball, as well as backdoor cuts. If you want the non-hand to be emphasized you could start the class with this drill and say you must shoot and dribble with your offhand, and can only shoot a lay-up. Also working 3 on 2 or 4 on 3 is another adaptation that will work on actual skills as opposed to just the normal 1 on 1 or 2 on 2. For those 1 or two students in each group that do happen to be sitting out, they might be able to shuffle from place to place and be an extra option out of bounds for the offense, and they may only be able to pass a certain way if that is the class emphasis. Having clear boundaries will keep everyone out of each other’s way and maintain a safe environment.

To me, there should definitely be a list of games outlawed that make PE look bad and that do not incorporate the knowledge and skills we learned in school.  However these games are classic and kids are familiar with them.  The more familiar, the more willing they will be to participate which is the main thing you look for in a class.  Modifications can make it a more appropriate lesson, while still incorporating the traditional game concepts. 

If you disagree please do not hesitate to comment and leave your opinion.  Until then, stay funky everyone. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lab 2: Reality Check

Going into Lab 2 I was both excited and nervous.  I was excited in that it was my first chance to work hand in hand with the kids as their instructor, but nervous in that I was doing it by myself.  While I did have my TA Matt with me, who helped me tremendously, I was without my fellow group members who had their conference swim meet.  So, it was up to me to step up.

Before anything, my first task, along with all others not assigned to directing the group, was to observe and asses during the opening activity of the first graders.  Two students, a boy and girl, were chosen by Dr. Yang to be assessed.  The games that were played were tag games, but involved all three skills we were to look at: run, gallop, and hop.  In assessing it was clear that while not perfect, the students lived an active lifestyle in that they did the three skills fairly well.  The boys seemed to be very coordinated and had just a couple flaws in his technique.  The girl was not far behind, with just a few things that if given time to concentrate on could definitely be changed for the better.  The group running the activity did a great job choosing games to show these skills effectively.  

From there it was time to work the the Pre-K group in their play rooms.  This was easy enough.  I got to enjoy playing legos with a little girl who was building a telescope, a little boy who seemed fascinated moving the blocks on the wires of the toy that is often found in doctor's offices waiting areas, and much much more.  It is really interesting to see how captivated kids can be when they use their imagination with simple toys.  When I sat down to play toy cars with a little boy he explained to me that the big tractor was on its way to the farm to collect the hay to feed the cows so that they can provide milk for the family.  I was shocked that a child that age could connect all those dots to a simple toy tractor. 

In the other play room, where the toy kitchens are set up, children are always playing "house."  When I asked to play one of the girls was adamant that I was too big, but another said I could be the "soccer coach" so I sat and showed them how to kick properly using a toy tomato.  When it was time for me to read to the class I asked one of the girls to pick out a book.  She picked out a "Bob the Builder" book but when I asked the class if they were ready to sit on the rug and listen to me read no one was interested.  I did not know what to do since I figured they would just come over, so I simply went back to playing with them. 

Since I was not aware I had to bring my own supplies for my craft, I was 0-2 going into the gym, my last shot.  As I set up my game Dr Yang had me explain it to him and when I finished he asked, "Ok that will last about 1 minute, what else do you have?"  I was floored at this pessimism, but went to the supply closet to think of a game regardless.  Well, he was right.  After my warm up of follow the leader lasted about 2 minutes, my featured game which involved the capturing of opposing bean bags didn't get passed the instructions.  It also did not help that a group of girls decided to rebel and while I attempted to give instructions they chanted, "We're not playing! We're not playing!" over and over again in unison.  This certianly through me for a loop.  I then made the mistake of bringing out the bean bags first and when the students got sight of that it was over.  Any hope of getting their attention was lost, they were 100% focused on obtaining a bean bag.

While the second game went a little more smoothly, I quickly ran out of ideas.  I then was told by Dr. Yang to ask them what they want to do, and when they said tag I was so relieved.  I finished up with tag and I was done.

During reflection I felt real down.  I was shocked at how different everything was druing the real thing.  The kids are much more wound, have a smaller attention span, and are less cooperative than anything I could have imagined.  However after given praise from Dr Yang and my peers fro sticking it out and not giving up I reached a somewhat of an epiphany.  This is what its all about.  If it was easy, everyone would be great PE teachers.  That is not the case.  Now I know I have to work harder, be better prepared, and must stick to it no matter how difficult it gets.  At first I looked at the day as discouraging, now I see it as enlighting and eye opening.  It was a real reality check.

Check out my Lab 2 for more info on how the day went.

Stay funky everyone.

Putting the Funk Back into Phys Ed

Luke, Kyle, and I bringing some funk to physical education.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Preparing for Funk: Stereo Assembly (Pictures and Video)

As I reported in my blog of Lab 1, physical education often goes outside the boundaries of traditional education and observing activity and lessons.  Preparation is key, as is implementing creativity such as music.  At St Mary's School we do both of these often, as the music often energizes the students as well as those in charge of the activity.

Matt Henrie and I compiled a step by step process of how to correctly assemble the music equipment, as well as a video at the bottom of the page...if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

1) The first step would be to turn down all volume on the stereo itself.  This avoids the loud "crackling" sound that occurs when volume is amplified when the power is turned on.  It is important to not only turn down the master volume (the far left knob), but all the channel knobs as well. 

2) The next step would be to attach the stereo system to the speaker.  Two cords will do this; one which looks like a plug that you attach to a computer monitor, a cord that looks like a 3 prong plug but with holes instead of plugs.  This obviously plugs into the 3 prong outlet in the back of the speaker.  The second cord is a skinnier cord that looks like a microphone attachment, a smaller 3 prong outlet that again corresponds to a plug on the back of the speaker.

3) The next step would be to power the stereo on using two power switches.  The first is a black button located to the top left of the stereo while the second power button is located in the middle right and is big and red.

4) Adapting the music cords is the next step.  This starts by taking the long white adapter cord which has white and red prongs that adapts the black 2 pronged adapter.  Make sure it is the red and white (not yellow) cords and make sure they are being plugged into the corresponding holes in the black adapter

5) After this, take the other side of that two pronged black adapter.  It will have one small prong at the end.  Take the large head adapter and plug it in this. All we are doing here is giving the adapted cords a larger head that will fit in the channel one slot on the back of the stereo.

6) As I just said, the next step is to plug this combination of cords into the stereo itself.  The back of the stereo is filled with different slots and cords.  On the very top of the back, above the several 3 prong outlets, are the slots with corresponding channel labels.  Take the large head and fit in in the "Channel 1" slot.

7) After this take the other side of the original white cord which has the iPod adapter on it.  Take the adapter and plug it into your iPod.  Pick a song on your iPod and start playing it.

8) The last step is to return to the front of the stereo and trun up your volumes.  Start by turinign your master volume (farthest left knob) to about halfway.  Since we plugged in our ipod to the channel 1 slot, we will then turn the "level 1"  knob which will raise the volume for you to hear it.  It is important to find a solid balance between the two where the music is not scratchy, too low, or too loud.

Well, there you have it.  To disassemble, just work backwards.  It is fairly easy once you get the hang of it.  Again, if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.  Also, here is a video of the same procedure: