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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Taming the Wild

                In my first go around with the preschoolers they ate me alive.  I was not prepared, out-manned, and did not know what I was getting myself into.  This time I had my boys with me, brought supplies, and was ready for battle.  The results?  Hit and miss, but much better overall.
                For the first and only time this year the PE 3 were able to take on the pre-K as a group.  The first lab I had at St Mary’s I was fully in charge of keeping them busy as Luke and Kyle had a swim meet.  It did not go well.  It was a great reality check for me however, since I was able to learn that children that age do not have a short attention span, it is non-existent.
                This time around it helped that the kids were able to burn some energy on the playground.  The last lab I worked with them they scattered like bees out of a hive when they got through the gym doors.  We met the kids out on the playground, where they already had their separate games set up.  Some were climbing up the jungle gym equipment and jumping off, some were playing hide and seek, and others were playing house.  I teamed up with a group of girls to play hide and seek, except with different rules then I am used to.  In this version I have to count to ten very slowly before I go and look for opponents, and if I tag anyone or not I am “it” again.  Also, after each game someone gets bored and leaves, which turns in to saying “do you want to play tag?”  This is fun for a round, and then someone gets bored so the question “do you want to play hide and seek?” is asked, and the circle goes on and on.     I was also able to play with a girl who seems to be intellectually disabled, which was my first hands on experience to work with a child in an adaptive PE teacher role.  I learned quickly not to doubt her.  As she began climbing up the jungle gym I asked her, “Oh are you sure you can do that?” and was answered with a face as if to say, “Yes I am, and who the heck are you to doubt me?”  When she got to the top and jumped off, she used her hands to catch herself, resulting in dirt and wood chips to dirty them up.  She looked at me, stuck out her hands, and when I stuck mine out she gave me a double-low-five until they were relatively clean, and thanked me with a beaming smile.  We continued this for several minutes, and unlike the other kids who seem to lose attention in activities very quickly, she looked like she could repeat the climb-jump-clean off process for hours.
                After some more tag games, Luke and Kyle got a large group together to play sharks and minnows so I joined.  Surprisingly almost every child participated and seemed to enjoy themselves.  There were some tears by a few who did not like the idea of being a shark, but those tears quickly turned to smiles when I told them they could simply return to the game as a minnow.  Several rounds of this were played before we went in for snack time.
                After snack time it was time to return to the gym.  The place where I was run over by a bunch of four and five year olds just a couple months before.  This time I was prepared.  In an attempt to incorporate more cognitive skills, I went to the dollar store the day before lab and got supplies.  I bought some magnetic alphabet letters, and some toys of animals.  The goal was to print out pictures of animals, have them find the corresponding animal and bring it over, and also have the kids find the letters that spell out the animal.  For example, a picture was hung up of a cartoon lion, and four large dashes beneath it.  The kids were to find the lion under the cones and bring it over to the picture, and find the L, I, O, and N and the ground and stick it to the poster.  Well, I did not think this through clearly enough, as a few problems arose.  For one, the letters were far too small, and were choking hazards.  Secondly, I did not specify how many letters each student could pick up so they would walk over to us with 10-12 letters in their hands looking confused.  Also, I did not incorporate enough movement and exercise in the activity.  And most importantly, I did not realize that all kids this age could not spell the words.
                If I had to do it over I would spread out the letters enough so that they are not jumbled.  I would make the kids do some sort of movement, be it a hop, jump, skip, back to the posters after they pick up one, and only one object.  On the posters, instead of blank dashes I would outline what letters should be placed on top of them.  All in all though, I was impressed with how the students handled the activity. 
                Well, it wasn’t sweet redemption like I anticipated, but it was a vast improvement.  I had the kid s under control for pretty much the whole time, and that is a very large upgrade from the first time I worked with them.  As much of a pain as it may be sometimes, the pre-K is a blast to work with and I’m going to miss them.

Safe to say, I kept it funky today.

Check out my Lab 5 for details, and more photos below!

1 comment:

  1. Dude loved this blog post, it was similar to how I felt about the pre-k. They are hilarious though and I loved the experience. Favorite line in this though has to be, "I have to count to ten very slowly before I go and look for opponents, and if I tag anyone or not I am “it” again."