Monday, April 20, 2009

Last Week Working at St Mary's

So our last week came and went at St. Mary's. Overall I think it was a good experience for me and definately helped me develop into my role as a teacher. Coming into this I had some experience working with kids, but at a summer camp and as a coach, but this was different. Here we were put into more of a teacher role by leading activities and the evaluating what level students are at with different motor skills.

This week was nice because we didn't have to worry about observing certain motor skills so we were able to focus more on bringing in props and working on our activities to do with the kids. This was important because this was our Easter Themed lab.

My group was picked to work in the cafeteria with the kids. We started with the older group of kids and I got to sit and talk with them for a little as I had never gotten the chance to do that before. I played a game similar to UNO with a few of the kids and another college student which was fun. I also walked around and talked to the kids playing with Legos and a few different board games. In terms of fine motorskills there was no doubt that these kids were more developed than the younger kids, but that is expected.

After a while they switched with the younger kids and we stayed down there. We brought in eggs with a different movement skill in them (Jump as High as You Can, Slide, Skip, etc.). Each student had to jump out to the basket in the center to get an egg and open it. They then had to do the action inside the egg back to their line. It was a competition to see who could get the most eggs in their basket between the two teams. We also had easter themed music and all of the college students were wearing bunny ears. Another member of my group went to the store and got some easter coloring books which the kids enjoyed too when they weren't participating in our activity.

We then followed the group we were with upstairs to have open gym where the kids could do whatever they wanted. I ended up in a game of tag with a few of the little kids which seemed to last forever. I was exhausted afterwards but I'm sure they got a workout too.

While I'm happy the semester is coming to an end, I still had a lot of fun working with the kid's at St. Mary's. I'm hoping to help out next year as a lab assistant for this class because I enjoyed it. It showed me that you can still have fun while assessing motor skills in children, it doesnt always have to be boring for them and you.

I also learned a lot on how to interact with students and how to be a better teacher. Patients is key. So is selling the activity you are doing and making it seem fun. You really do have to put on a different persona when you teach. This class has taught me that when it's time for me to teach or lead an activity I need to be enthusiastic and clear, and I will have success.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kicking, Dribbling, The Environment, and Kolas

Once again last Wednesday we were back at St. Mary's School in Cortland to work with the kids as part of their after school program. This day's theme was the environment, which I'll get to how my group incorporated it later.

We started off in the gym with the K-2 grade kids observing their kicking and dribbling skills. The kids seemed not to be to interested today with the games but we were still able to observe what we needed to while two other groups lead their activities.

My group was chosen to work with the Pre-K kids this week, which I wasn't that excited about, but in the end found it really enjoyable. We basically get to just go into the room and play with the kids for a little bit. I joined a group of kids that were cutting out letters in play dough. It was fun to challenge them and see if they knew their alphabet. One thing I did notice was at that age most kids don't play together. Even if they are playing with the same thing they are in their own space and not working with each other. After cleaned up the kids listened to two stories read by a fellow classmate of mine.

Both of the stories had to do with the environment and peoples surroundings. The first book was about being on the farm. The second was about a duck who was traveling home. It talked about the duck's surroundings and what colors they were, and ended up making a rainbow at the end.

After that the children had a bathroom break and then snack time. While other members of the group set up a physical activity for the kids, I got to read a book about Kola's to both classes of Pre-K kids. It was a neat experience. The kids pay attention so well and always want to make comments about the story and whats going on. And yes, I was able to read while holding the book out to the side.

We then went into the gym where we played a game where the kids got to act like animals moving through the environment. There were sharks swimming in the ocean, alligators in the swamp, foxes in the forest, and even some butterflies flying through the air. It was fun to become involved in the activity and make the noises with the kids. We made sure each kid got a chance to pick a card and lead the rest of the group. Soon the kids were leaving and we were only left with a handful of students. So we broke and did whatever the kid's wanted. Some wanted to play a game where one person chased the others (like tag) but as an animal growling. Another student was shooting under-hand baskets and was able to make more than 5 in a short amount of time, it was amazing.

Soon I realized that there were more college kids than Pre-K kids so I went and interacted with some of the older students and played with them. We ended with a cheer with all the kids that were left that day.

It was another great day where I got to observe and learn things about younger kids.