Monday, December 5, 2011

What I have Learned from my EDU 355 Field Experience

355 Observation Write up #1
Jamie Boldish
Hours Observed: 2
Total Hours: 2
Day 1

Today was our first day at Beverly J. Martin. We met Mr. Amato as soon as we got there, he seems like a really nice guy, well besides that he graduated from Ithaca, but that’s another story. After we met Mr. Amato we met the other physical education teacher Mr. Gino. Mr. Amato and Mr. Gino team teach together.

We had the opportunity to observe two classes today. First we observed a third grade class that was finishing up the end of their fitness testing unit. We went outside and they all ran/walked the mile. This ended up taking up the entire class period. Which was a surprise to me, I would have thought that they would have been able to do more than a five minute warm up two min stretch and run a mile in 40 minutes.

The second class we observed today was a kindergarten class. I have to admit that kindergarten is by far my favorite age group to work with. They are all always so happy and bubbly and fun to be around. This class was no disappointment. They were not in the gym for ten seconds before they were all asking who Billy and I were and wanting to know why we were there and if they could sit next to us on the circle. They ended up having a fun Friday class and the students all voted to play different tag games. They played every tag game from every body it tags to Chinese temple tag to TV tag and we even played tunnel tag. The kids had a blast and there wasn’t one of them that did not leave that class out of breath with a smile on their face.

355 Observation Write up #2
Jamie Boldish
Hours Observed: 2
Total Hours: 4
Day 2

Today was the second time Billy and I had our observations a Beverly J. Martin Elementary School with Mr. Amato, and Mr. Gino. We again had the opportunity to observe and assist with a third grade class and a kindergarten class, but they were not the same classes that we had been in last week. The way that the schedule for physical education at Beverly J. martin works out that there are two classes per grade and it alternates which class we have each Friday. Therefore one Friday we will have one third grade class and one kindergarten class and the next Friday we will have the other third grade and other kindergarten class, it is just the way that is works out.

Today was the last day of fitness testing for the third grade class that we observe. All they had left to do was the trunk life. Billy and I ended up being the two to run this test. Billy measured the distance between the student’s chest and the floor and I recorded the results. One thing that I did not like about this lesson was the fact that all the children were sitting around waiting for their turn. Considering the fact the Mr. Gino and Mr. Amato mostly team teach and Billy and were also there to help, I do not understand why the children were not up and moving around while they waited for their turn to complete the trunk lift test. If I were to be in charge of this lesson I would have the trunk lift test off to the side of the gym with one to two adults running it and supervising it, while the other students played a tag game or something along those line, that would be easy to switch students in and out of, so that they could just come and go as needed for complete the fitness testing.

355 Observation Write up #3
Jamie Boldish
Hours Observed: 3
Total Hours: 7
Day 3

I am now starting to become more comfortable at Beverly J. martin Elementary School. This is the third time we are going for our observations. Today we were able to get to the school early and observe for three hours! Today was a big day for Billy and I, we got to teach our pre-assessment lesson. In our first lesson we completed a pre-assessment on kicking in soccer, for the soccer unit that Mr. Amato was just beginning. We wanted to assess the students without them knowing that they were being assessed. We figured this would be the best way for their kicks to be as authentic as possible. For our pre-assessment lesson we created a few activities that we thought would best allows us to assess the students all while allowing them to learn and practice kicking a soccer ball.

Billy gave the introduction for our lesson and explained the first activity that the students would be doing. The activity that we chose was partner passing. One partner will stand on one side of the gym on the yellow line across from their partner who will be standing on the opposite yellow line. The partner on the right side will be the one that starts with the ball. They will place the ball on the yellow line and the teacher will tell then when to kick the ball to their partner. Once the ball is kicked the partner will stop the ball with their foot, and wait to kick the ball back to their partner when they are instructed to be the teacher.

While giving the introduction, Billy was able to maintain adequate attention of the class. The introduction was very clear and well explained except when it came down to the demonstrations, he had the students demonstrate the activity right off the bat. In reflection of this I believe that it would have been much more helpful if at first both of the teachers demonstrated the skill first and then if we wanted to have students aid in the demonstration that they would be a part of the second demonstration, after the teachers had clearly shown what was going to be expected of the students.

After the introductions we put the students into groups of 2 and then gave them directions on where to go in the gym. Once we had the student’s attention and in the correct sports, that is when we finally handed out the equipment, one soccer ball to each group. Billy went to one end of the gym and Jamie went to the other end so that we could both participate in the assessment and helping students with their performances in kicking.

All in all I believe that our lesson went well. The objectives of our lesson were met. The class overall did much better in the first activity where we had them trap that ball and wait for the teachers instructions to kick the ball to their partner, then when they kicked the ball back and forth continuously. I was however surprised at the level of skill of the students. I went into the lesson thinking that the students would be at a higher level than they actually were.

355 Observation Write up #4
Jamie Boldish
Hours Observed: 5
Total Hours: 12
Day 4

We were able to get to Ithaca first thing this morning, which is awesome considering the students do not have school on a few Fridays when we are scheduled to come and observe. Last visit we did out pre-assessment lesson. Today just taught warm ups and instant activities. We only observed in the first three classes we saw today, but when it go to our regular class we normally see we taught warm-ups and instant activities.

Billy began by teaching chuck the chicken to the third grade class. We split the class in half, once Billy was done explaining the game. I took one half of the class and he took the other half of the class. I don’t want to say that this game was not successful, but it was a tough one for this class. WE had a major problem with students not wanting to work together for the benefit of the team. Instead we had students fighting amongst one another about who was going to throw the chicken and who was going to run around the circle to score points. All in this entire lesson was a fail. If we had a chance to teach it again I would have to sit the class down and stress the fact that the point of the game chuck the chicken is to work together as a team not fight about who gets to do what. Also the class was spending so much time fighting that they did not even trying to use and strategy what so ever. They were so busy fight with each other that the team who was throwing the chicken would be so consumed in arguing that they would throw the chicken directly at the other team giving them a huge advantage in the game. To make a long story short we ended up ending the game early and Mr. Amato took over the rest of the class for that period.

On a better note this same day was the first day that I got to teach the game tail tag to the kindergartners. Tail tag was such a hit for the kindergartners they loved it and it worked well into the special awareness unit that Mr. Amato was teaching them that day. The tag game did take a lot longer to explain then I thought I would, but then again I have to remember that I was teaching the game to kindergarten aged students. All in all our success with the instant activity of tail tag with kindergarten made up for our less successful game of chuck the chicken with the third grade class.

355 Observation Write up #5
Jamie Boldish
Hours Observed: 3
Total Hours: 12
Day 5

Scooter games! Scooter games were such a big hit with the third graders today, but that’s not what I want to reflect upon. What I had in mind was talking about the routines that Mr. Amato and Mr. Gino have in place. The students get dropped off at the gym by their classroom teacher. The students know to walk into the gym quietly and sit down on the big circle in the center of the gym. Either Mr. Amato or Mr. Gino give the class a very brief introduction to what is going on in class that day. Then they check to make sure all the student have the proper footwear on and then have the students line up against the wall to being with their daily ten minute run. The students know to not start running until the music begins playing. They also know to freeze when the music stops along with placing both of their hands on top of their head. Once the running is over with the students meet back on the center circle for stretching. They go though the same exact stenches each class, legs straight touch your toes and count to ten, butterfly and count to ten, half a butterfly and count to ten and so on until then they do 12-25 crunches depending on the grade level of the class followed by pushups and jumping jacks. Once this is all completed then they being with the main focus of the lesson.

I understand the importance of have a set routine in your class. It makes the class operate smoothly. But by the time this routine is finished we are already half way through a 40 minute class. In my opinion I think that this is a little extreme, and I am all for the ten minute run and the fitness that goes hand in had with the run, but I feel that a 20 minute routine warm-up is a little unnecessary. I do not think that it leaves enough time to really teach anything thoroughly with only 20 minutes left in the class and from what I have witnessed Mr. Amato and Mr. Gino do not seem to be able to get through an entire lesson and I blame it on the 20 minute routine warm up.

In addition the routine warm up in used in every class that they have. It does not matter if the students are in 5th grade or in kindergarten; they all use the same warm up. I am not a huge fan of this because I feel that there could be a better more age appropriate warm up that could be used in each class, depending on their age, grade level and skill level. Also I feel that the warm up should either be age appropriate, or a lot shorter the 20 minutes and there warm up had both faults in my opinion.

355 Observation Write up #6
Jamie Boldish
Hours observed: 2
Total Hours: 16
Day 6

Today was the day that we decided to make sure our students are prepared for the post assessment that is going to take place next Friday. Before we prepared our third grade class we played a really fun game that Billy taught called Team bowling. The class is spilt into two teams with the basketball half court line separating the two teams. Each team has 10 pins on their side of the court and the objective is to knock over the opposing teams pins. In this specific activity we will incorporate soccer so we will have the students kicking the ball and aiming for the pins in order to knock them down. The thrid grade class loved this game.

Once we were finised with this game we worked on soccer passing and dribbling. In doing this we were prepaing the students for their kicking assessment that we were planning for the following class. The last activity that we decided to do with the class was a big game of soccer. We did this because we are plainning to put it in our lesson next week and we wanted to give it a test run before we assessed the students while playing in a large group game.

The game ended up being very successful. There are a few things that I plan o changing for next week. I think we should split the class into two teams instead of and have two teams playing while the other tow teams act as a live sideline. By doing this each student will have more oppertunities to touch the ball, thus making them much easier to asses for Billy and I.

355 Observation Write up #7
Jamie Boldish
Hours Observed: 2
Total Hours: 18
Day 7

Post assessment day! Today Billy and I completed our post assessment for kicking in soccer in Mr. Amato’s third grade class. This lesson went much smoother then our first lesson. The music worked great as our signal for attention in our instant activity of shadow shake. The students responded well to stopping when the music stopped and it was a great success.

For this lesson I gave the introduction, and did a really good job if I do say so myself. I was able to tell the students that it was assessment day, and did it in such a way that the children were at ease with being tested in physical education. This accomplishment of making the students feel at ease with an assessment is something that I am very proud of.

In addition we did include the continuous partner passing, and with the practice that the students had had in between our first and second lesson, made a huge difference. The students were much more successful the second time around. After we did our post assessment we had our classroom visit. The classroom is decorated with very bright and stimulating colors. All the posters and anything hanging on the wall are placed lower on the wall so it is close to the kindergartner’s level. The room was broken up into different sections for different activities. There was a reading corner, a corner for building with logos and black, and another section for cooking and one more section for arts and crafts.

The teacher got the students engaged in the lesson by being very enthusiastic. The more excited she got about reading the ingredients to the students the more excited they were to guess what was being made. She also got down to the students level which in my opinion plays a huge role with keeping younger child engaged. It shows them that you are friendly, it is inviting and it is a non intimidating way to present yourself to a child.

What I learned from my classroom visit that will help me better understand and teach kindergarten aged students is to avoid partner play, and games where they have to work together in a group. I think those types of games would be more appropriate for students a little bit older and more mature then kindergarteners. I am really glad that Billy and I had the opportunity to go into the classroom and experience all of this.

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