Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Today when I arrived at the CCA I was surprised to see the gymnasium filled up with tables and the walls filled with posters. I talked to the secretary and she told me they were having an Ad fair as a bit of an advertisement for what the students were doing. Also, my host teacher happened to be absent on this particular day so there was a substitute teacher there. Due to the lack of space to use to teach my lesson, the substitute teacher and I had the students go outside onto the small playground next to the school. There is not any other space that I am aware of to use as a replacement for the gym so the playground was the only choice I had. The substitute teacher and I watched the students and intervened during some safety and behavior problems. Students were continually walking in front and behind the swing so we had to stop that so none of the students would get hurt. The kids seemed to enjoy the playground but I was disappointed that I was not able to teach my lesson.
Today was my final day at Cincinnatus Elementary. Due to circumstances with transportation I could not return for more hours. For my final class I observed and assisted with another day of floor hockey. Unfortunately the class was very similar to all of the other floor hockey lessons I have seen thus far. The regular warm up of jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups and laps led into game play. The warm up lasted around 5 or so minutes and game play took the rest of the class. I wish that the students had more of a chance to learn lifetime activities like badminton because I doubt that any of the students will ever play floor hockey after they graduate from high school. I think that sports have their place in physical education but they should not be the only thing that is in the curriculum.
Today I observed a sixth grade class that focused on floor hockey. The warm up that was used was the usual warm up of push ups, sit ups, laps and jumping jacks. There does not seem to be any variation in the warm up coming anything soon. Assessment should be an important part of every physical education curriculum. Without assessment how can a physical educator show progress for their students and really evaluate their students? Up to this point, I have not seen any type of assessment that will be used. The teachers spend their time mostly managing the class, explaining game play and refereeing the game play. I think it would be very easy to accomplish an assessment within this unit and lesson. If you wanted to assess the students ability within game play you could create a rubric that describes what you expect for different levels. Your rubric could have 4 different point values each with different criteria. Each point value would have specific criteria that would leave little room for subjectivity when deciding which point value a student observes. You could also perform an affective assessment during or after the game play. If you wanted to do it during the game play you could create a checklist of different affective behaviors you think you should see while the students are playing. You could check yes if you see the behaviors or no if you do not. You could do this for every student individually or for the students as a whole. Also, at the end of the lesson you could do a cognitive assessment in which you give the students a written quiz on what you have taught them. You could do a pre-test first to establish a baseline for the scores for each assessment and domain. then you could teach your lesson and during that lesson you could post-assess and see the progress, or lack of, that the students made. Unfortunately, I did not see any sort of assessment nor did I see a lot of student learning occurring in this lesson.
Today I observed another class at Cincinattus. The class that I observed was a sixth grade class and they were working on floor hockey today. The students started with a warm up consisting of push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, suicides and laps around the gym. The students had a large amount of trouble completing the assigned amount of push ups which was 10. The form during the push ups was incorrect and most students could not complete more than 1 proper push up. I do not believe that this warm up was very effective because the students disliked it greatly and there was poor form on everything but the jumping jacks. The suicides are never fun for anyone and I know I would hate having to do them for a warm up. I think warm ups should get away from the old PE way of doing things and try to incorporate fitness inside of a fun activity. Also, although the students were working on fitness during their warm up there were not learning what benefits the different activities gave them. They did not learn about muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility or body composition. These 5 factors are very important in health based fitness and should be incorporated and taught in every lesson in some capacity. I think that if the teachers worked on proper form on the warm up activities the students would receive significantly more benefit. Also, I observed that the teachers did not check on exactly how many and if the students actually completed their warm up. The floor hockey lesson itself did not consist of much learning either. The teachers taught basic cues to passing and just had the students passing in lines. Just passing in lines does not transfer into a game like situation and is not authentic. There were no tactical concepts involved and I do not believe that future game play will be effective without more authentic practice situations.
I observed another class on this day that was a sixth grade class. The students were continuing with their floor hockey unit. To my surprise, there was no skill practice before jumping into gameplay. The teachers did not go over dribbling/puck handling, defense, offense, shooting, passing or how to play goalie. The only thing that the teachers did before gameplay was a warm up. The warm up consisted of several laps around the gym which had a big safety hazard for me. In order to separate the two halves of the gym to use for game play, the teachers put mats down the middle of the gym. This may be a good barrier to separate the two different games, but the students were jumping over and messing with the mats. I think that at any point, although no student did, a student could fall and seriously hurt themselves. Also, on one side of the mats there was all of the equipment like gloves, hockey sticks, goalie gear and pucks laid on the ground. The students were stepping on or jumping over these as well. The teachers gave the students a verbal warning but did not correct the source of the problem. Luckily none of the students in the class were hurt by this gym set up. After the laps the students had to do 10 or more jumping jacks, sit ups and push ups. The jumping jacks were good quality but the sit ups and push ups were done with poor form by all of the students. I did not see one student correctly execute a push up properly out of all the students in the class. Push ups and sit ups may not be the best warm up to have because they are not fun to do and most people do not like them. Additionally, without correct form there is a limited amount of benefit to either exercise. After the warm up was complete the teachers organized the students into separate teams and split them up between two gyms. One teacher took some of the students to the small gym and the rest stayed with the other teacher. Tom and I refereed one game and the teacher refereed the other. The students switch opponents after each game of about 5 minutes length. Although there was a lot of activity there was little to no learning involved in this lesson. But, the students did not some concept of offense or defense. There was one student on each team that played defense. But, I am not sure whether or not they wanted to play defense or they were put their by their other teammates.
Today the students played soccer for the entire class. The teacher split the class into two separate teams and allowed me, and herself, to play because there were several students absent that day. There was one goalie on each team and the rest of the students took a position, but there were not defined positions like offense or defense. As usual with younger kids, (grades 4-5) any time the ball would go in any direction, every student would flock over to the ball. 10 students around one soccer ball does not lead to a large amount of goals or game flow. The skill themes that can be found in soccer are dribbling, running, kicking and shooting. I found that soccer was not as activity that the students in the class were particularly high in skill in. None of the students dribbled the soccer ball at all. They chose to kick the ball high into the air and tried to get it as far down the court as they possibly could. When shooting on goal the students had low success and rarely made it near the goal, let alone in the goal. As i said earlier, the students would all run to wherever the ball was on court regardless of if they should have been there or not. The teacher tried to get them to spread out and use the space of the gym, but it is difficult to teach tactical concepts in the middle of game play. The lack of tactical concepts and skills was a big problem during this lesson. The students did not know the different positions on the field and were not separated into offensive or defensive positions. Overall, the students had a low level of psychomotor abilities as well as cognitive and affective.
Today was my second day at Cortland Christian Academy (CCA). Today there was a kindergarten and first grade class that I had the chance to observe. I was surprised to see a fellow Cortland student there teaching the class so that was a pleasant surprise. The Cortland student taught a lesson on basic jumping, almost if not the same lesson we did on one of the first days of 355 lab. The tasks and activities in the lesson were very good and seemed to be very effective. Some of the students already had the ability to jump rope, but some of the students in the class made good progress in their ability to jump rope. The management of the classroom was pretty good, but the students were still off task at times. I believe many of the behavior management issues stemmed from the lack of structure in the classes up until this point in the year. The students do not always listen closely to the teachers instructions so it can be difficulty to keep the students attention and they tend to be off task. Overall the lesson went very smoothly and one thing that I thought was great was the Cortland student had set up an activity for the end of class. The students already knew what they activity was and as soon as the Cortland student said the name of the game, the students went right to where they were supposed to be. I think an end of the lesson activity can be good incentive for the students to cooperate and be good during class or else they will not get their reward of the activity.
I was placed at a new school today because of some circumstances that came up. I was placed at Cortland Christian Academy (CCA). Compared to Cincinnatus, CCA was a much smaller school and different than any school I had ever been in. On my first day I received a tour of the school and found out that CCA was K-12 in a very small building. They had small class sizes compared to what I had been used to. The physical education program was not particularly developed and was just getting their legs under them. CCA does not currently have trained physical educators teaching their classes. But, the teachers that have taken responsibility for the classes are great people and try their best. The physical education classes are more of an extended recess than the typical phys ed class is. The students have a high activity time and are playing more or less for the entire class. High activity time is something every physical educator aims for in their lessons. But, like I said the classes are more of an extended recess. Today the students played kickball for class. The boundaries of the gym and the fact that they students also eat lunch in the gymnasium made the game difficult. The kickball flew under or over the lunch table multiple times and the students ran after the ball with little regard for safety. The rules of the game were not explained ahead of time and the students seemed to have difficulty picking the game up and following the rules they were supposed to follow. The teacher did a good job in controlling the class and the game flowed as smoothly as possible. I am looking forward to more time here at Cortland Christian Academy.
Today in class was a continuation of the kidnastics/gymnastics unit. In physical education there are standards that help guide a teacher on how they should do things in their lessons. NYS Standard 1 is personal health and fitness. In this lesson students were working on different balances and jumps. The students had to perform the skills presented over and over until they were told to move to the next station. NYS standard 1 states that students will attain a competency in a variety of physical activities. I do not believe that this was accomplished during this lesson for a couple reason. First, there was no criteria on whether or not the students were doing the different balances or jumps correctly. Second, there was not a teacher at every station to keep track of how the students were doing. Additionally, physical education is not just amount completing a movement or practicing skills the entire class period. The standards for physical education also say that the students need to understand what they are doing. I did not see any learning in the lessons and I do not believe the students gained any knowledge of the different activities they were performing.
In most every school there will be students with special needs. Having been at Cincinattus Elementary for close to two weeks now, I have not seen any special needs students. If there are any special needs students, they are either separated completely from the physical education classes or are incorporated in the regular classes without any special accommodations. I was surprised to see that there were no accommodations for any of the students in the classes I have seen thus far. In my schooling experience there have always been at least one student that had some type of accommodations.