Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lab 3

Select one of the locomotor skills and create your own set of teaching cues.

I chose the slide, and the cues I would use would relate to scissors. By that I mean that I would use the motion of opening and closing of the scissors, and my cues would be slide open, and cut shut. This paints a visual for the students to slide open and slide closed.

Identify the specific pathways used in each of the low organized games presented in the lesson focus.

We used straight, zig zag as well as curved pathways during the activities. They are straight forward as far as what the pathway is. That being said, the straight pathways are going to move in a straight line, forward and back. This is a simple movement with easy to follow boundaries. Zig zag is simply a straight pathway with an abrupt turn in either direction. A curved pathway is obviously going to move in some sort of circular manner, this being a much more free flowing pathway.

Select a topic for a class talk and outline the questions and key points that would help you guide a class talk.

Topic: Respect

How do we show one another respect? What sort things can we do to show respect? What happens when we don’t show each other respect? What is the importance of respect? What have you done to show respect to someone?

Make a checklist of performance points to look for in one of the locomotor movements.

For the hop, you are looking to see if they are taking off from one foot and landing on that same foot. You are making sure that there is air time as well as keeping the knee pointing towards the ground. You don’t want the students to have their knees coming up. Also you want to look and ensure that they are using their arms to help propel them forward.

Timing is everything

Time in a classroom should always be spent wisely. This means little time wasted with trivial things, and yet still be engaging so that you aren’t losing the focus and interest of your students. While some subjects are more interesting than others, we as physical educators have a secret weapon. Movement. We are movement based, and while some classes will attempt to use movement as a means to bring students back or to mix up the monotony of sitting, we get to utilize it every day. We see from John Goodlad’s study that time is critical to a students learning, and yet we are focusing in on areas and leaving others out.

As Physical Educators, we know that our main goals are movement and activity as well as learning about why being physically active is important. We want our students to come away from our class with more than just the knowledge of how to kick a soccer ball or how to shoot a basketball. We are more than that, and we need to focus our time on showing the kids more than that as well. When you reflect on a lesson, you will often times look at time management and where time was wasted and how you can improve it. Since we want to maximize participation and activity, it would make sense that we don’t want to sped large amounts of time talking about what we are going to do, and instead just doing it.

I know that I am guilty of being longwinded and giving my students far more information than they actually need. Especially since they are going to instantly forget almost everything you said as soon as they start moving and doing something else anyway. While I feel that this study focused a lot more on the general education classes, we as Physical Educators can still learn from this. The time that we are wasting by talking and explaining extensive details that really won’t play a vital role any way, need to be cut out, or at least brought up during the activity or movement. We need to plan out how we can incorporate the information into the activities rather than stopping action to talk about it.

While we are still the gatekeepers, but instead of directing who is talking and for how long they will talk, we need to be the gatekeepers of movement. We need to make sure that we are keeping a tight grip on keeping the group active and learning the skills and concepts we are trying to teach them. This doesn’t have to be done in an overbearing manner, but instead with proper planning and strategizing, we can work these gatekeeper duties right into an activity where the students feel like they are the ones in control.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Diverse Classroom Experiences

Far too often we generalize people, thinking that we already have all the answers and know what to expect. When in all actuality, people are so different and so diverse that it is impossible to create a blanket statement r plan that is going to cover or work for everyone. The same goes for our students, and how we teach them. Not all students are going to learn in the same manner, and surely not at the same rate. Therefore we must learn to adapt our teaching styles to our students different learning styles. Some are going to do better with hands on, some just need to hear it. As physical education teaches we often fall into assumptions about our students and how they learn the skills and concepts in our classroom.

With all of this diversity in our general education population, it must be even more diverse in our special needs population, right? Of course it is, but as educated and motivated educational leaders, we are up to the challenge. The old way of explain briefly and demonstrate doesn’t necessarily work for all students, especially those with these special needs. We need to do more to stimulate their learning and find new inventive ways of getting the information to them. We need to be choosing equipment carefully, and taking even more care in our planning. If we know that students are going to need extra care in a certain area, then we need to be planning ahead with how we are going to tackle the challenge.  Just coming in and rolling out the balls is not going to teach our students anything, so we must steer far away from that concept.

Our classes are already a completely different environment than a typical classroom, so we need to make sure that we are taking full advantage of our time and space. We need to mold the environment to our goals. If we know that our students have difficulties with crowds or distractions, we need to plan for that and look for alternative places to teach rather than in the hectic loud gymnasium to ensure that we are setting them up for success.  Then after they have grasped the concepts or moved closer to mastery of the skills, transition in distractions and people in order to ease them into the more difficult situations. While I fully understand that relocation isn’t often going to be a realistic option, having students practice the skill facing a wall or the bleachers rather than the crowds may be a way to eliminate some of the distraction.
image from

If attention span is a battle that you face constantly, look for new ways to bring the students in. Since our culture is so consumed by technology already, why fight the current? Bring in new pieces of technology that are going to get the kids interested, and make your life even easier. It is becoming a more common sight to see classroom teachers using technology every day, so why not a Physical Education teacher? While we don’t have a large projection screen or smartboards, we can use tablets with videos to show specific clips for demonstrations. This is something that is so simple yet is going to net huge gains in attention by many students. Further on in my studies this semester I plan to go far more in depth with how we can utilize technology in our gyms to benefit our students.


Anyone in the physical education/health related field should know about what the president’s wife, Michelle Obama, is trying to do for American’s youth. She wants to see healthier, fitter, more active children who are given the right options to make healthier choices. In February of 2010 at the launch of the Let’s Move Campaign, Michelle Obama made the statement "The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake."   This should ring true to anyone who has seen the current state of our nation’s health and obesity rates. We are fatter and lazier than ever, and there are many factors that are included, but one of the biggest is our diets. We eat much worse food, and with that we are eating it in even greater quantities.

image via: umami.typepad.com
One place that Mrs. Obama felt we could improve our children’s health was at school.  And most everyone will agree with her, including myself, because I know firsthand that my school lunches were far from healthy. For example, we were told to choose a vegetable with our lunch, and we were offered carrots, peas, etc., however also included in these vegetable options were French fries. Since French fries are made from potatoes, they were considered an acceptable option for our daily vegetables. Now being that I as a normal kid, I ALWAYS choose the fries over whatever the other vegetables were every day. Does this sound like an acceptable option for a kid? Well, it shouldn’t. Now I am in no way stating that kids can’t have French fries, but eating them every day in conjunction with greasy pizza and corn dogs, breaded chicken patties, and burgers is not a healthy lunch. These options I just listed were what I ate every single day of school from the 6th grade and on. We always had choices, but the thing was I never once chose the healthier options. The problem is that kids are given menus filled with unhealthy choices that they have become victims of opportunity.

image via flickr
She has been pushing forward to force schools to provide healthier options and weed out those other calorie killer meals filled with breading and fried parts. Thankfully this message of healthier meals is not just a fad, but is starting to spread outwards to restaurants in our communities. More and more we are seeing establishments offer more options and healthier versions of their dishes.  Big names like Chili’s, IHOP, and Friendly’s are just a few big names whom have changed up their menus offering healthier options and noting it in the menus. One big hitter that you might not tie in as having healthy options is the Olive Garden. Well after a reported 5 quarter slump their parent company Darden is looking to jump on the healthy option bandwagon. Good news for consumers, because like children we are often victims of opportunity, so if a major chain like Olive Garden is going to revamp their entire menu, we can only speculate and hope that the healthier choices are more abundant than not.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

lab 2 reflection

Explain why exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups have to be modified for kindergarten and first grade students in the DVL 1 group?

These exercises must be modified for the students, because they come with the risk of injury if not done in the proper manner. If we fail to modify them for our students, and their form isn’t right they could potentially feel the ill effects much later on in their lives.

Why is rhythmic activity important for young children?

Music and rhythm helps to engage the students more and gets them into the activity. As we learned in 255 last semester that there needs to be some sort of hook that draws interest into a lesson. Music and songs are a good way to do this, and if there is a message in the song, the music will help the students to memorize the information.

Define laterality and explain why tracing giant letters helps reinforce cognitive learning?Laterality is taking a concept that humans prefer to use one side of their body for a task over the other. Drawing the large letters stimulates the students cognitively, because it is taking their handwriting and reading skills and having them do them on a larger scale and out of their normal comfort zone, i.e. paper and pencil. This also will allow for those kinesthetic learners to build their skills and take more away from the lesson.

Why are educators concerned about young children not being able to keep an internal beat?

When children sing and dance around it is natural for them to be slightly off beat, however they will still be maintaining their own personal beat going on in their head. This beat is one that we cannot hear; this is because it is in the child’s brain. If the child has no inner beat, this could potentially be a sign that something is going on in the child’s brain physically preventing this natural beat.

Define homo-lateral and cross lateral movements?

Homo-lateral movements are movements that involve using only one side of the body to do the action. An example of this would be raising your right arm and leg simultaneously; similar to the motion of a lay-up. Even though in a lay-up you are jumping off the other leg, the action of raising the arm and the leg at the same time is the homo lateral movement. Cross lateral movement will involve action on the opposite side of the body. This could be alternating planks where you stick one arm out and the opposite leg out.

Regardless of your political stance, I feel that everyone should be watching the state of the union address. There are always those who are instantaneous to shoot down or deface anything that the other party says, but those of us either in or going into the education field should always be active listeners to what is going on. We need to be informed when important topics are up for discussion that could have dramatic effects on our lives.President Obama addressed the issue of students dropping out of school. He raised the issue that all states should take a firm stand and adopt a universal policy that students wouldn’t be able to remove themselves from school, A.K.A. drop out until they were 18. While I’m sure this topic will be followed with scrutiny and rebuttal from politicians as teachers we should be fighting for this.

Having family members who decided to drop out of high school early on in their educational career, I see the ill effects it has on future career choices and salary earnings. Also as anyone who has worked with adolescents, we know that they are not mentally capable of comprehending what sort of repercussions dropping out will have on their future.  Teenagers think that they know it all and have all the answers, which is normal, but they shouldn’t have the option to make such an important decision until they are at least old enough to vote. Regardless of your political stance, as a person who values education we should all be standing together on this issue.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reflecting on Lab 1

1.       Why do classroom management and effective teaching go hand in hand throughout every day of teaching? The two go together, because the only way to be an effective teacher is if you are able to manage your students. If your students are running around out of control and not paying attention to your directions and rules, you are not going to be able to get the information to them. Also it can’t be a one day thing, because you must have control every time you interact with your students to make sure that they are staying safe and learning the material.

2.       Why should your class rules be short and positive? They must be short, because if they are too long and wordy than you run the risk of losing students attention as well as their grasp of what you are trying to convey to them. You want to keep them positive, because your rules and expectations are going to set the tone for the class. If you do this in a negative tone/manner your students will feed off of that and may not be positive in return.

3.       List three reasons why students enjoy the squad square structure as well as three reasons why teachers benefit from employing the squad square structure for management. Students like the squad square might include the ability to sit with their friends, being part of a team gives a sense of unity that students enjoy. Another reason that they like it, might be because they know where they are supposed to be and there is a sense of security in knowing where to be when in doubt. Teachers will like it because, they have a visual confirmation of all students, taking role is very quick, and behavior issues are limited, because no one is able to hide in the back behind everyone.

4.       What common elements do all of the activities in this management lab share? They all share a sense of space, whether that be personal or general space. The students learn the boundaries that are both physical and personal.

5.       How is the affective domain addressed in this lesson? How is the psychomotor domain addressed in this lesson? How is the cognitive domain addressed in this lesson?

The affective domain was addressed in this lesson, because we talked a lot about respecting other people’s space. This sense of respect is good to teach at a young age, so that students know what the acceptable behavior is for keeping a comfortable distance from others. Also in this lesson we worked in squads and getting back into our squads. While this is a stretch, the same concept of everyone working towards the same goal and encouraging your squad is a positive aspect of team building.

The psychomotor domain was worked on through the variety of different motor movements we worked on throughout the lesson. We did many different types of moving to include: running jogging, hopping, skipping, galloping, and walking. Also the freeze technique of hands on the knees was a good building block towards later teaching the athletic stance.

We also worked on the cognitive domain in a number of different ways. One of these ways was through the use of colors. We did this by having each student grab a certain grab a colored bean bag based on what color shirt they were wearing. The students then had to remember their color and run back to it during one of the activities. Using memory and other thinking activities stimulated more than just heart rate in this lesson. Figuring out how many ways to touch the bean bag was good, because it allowed the students to learn more about the body parts as well as working on counting skills.

6.       One of the activities that we did that was a demonstration of management was the squad squares activity. I chose this activity because it had the students work on all three domains and yet still maintained a sense of order when they all came back to their spots. The teacher also used a timer to time the students on how quickly they got back to their spot. The hidden message in this would be the quick and efficient way to get students back under control by teaching them to quickly get back into their spot in a game like activity.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Who's the Professional here?

Being a professional is more than just having diplomas hanging in your office and sitting behind a desk feeling important. It is more about being important and making an impact in your field, whether that is business, healthcare or teaching. The question arises of whether all teachers are considered professionals, and one would be quick to say that a math or history teacher would be considered a professional But what about  a physical education teacher, or better yet a “gym coach”? If you are looking at our predecessors, than you might not be able to agree that they should be considered equal. However if you look into the new era of physical education, than you will see that it is more than the warm up pants and dodge ball.

To first be considered a professional, we must first act as such. We must take the appropriate steps to show that we are more than just the guy/girl who wears a whistle and rolls out the basketballs. We are educated individuals who have a solid understanding of the science behind how the body works, and what is going on during movements both cognitively as well as in the psychomotor aspect. We need to take this understanding of the mechanics of the body and use that to create units and activities that are going to show growth and development in all of our students. We must stand up and fight back against the stereotype and show that we not only deserve to be considered professionals, but that we demand that same showing of respect for our field. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why would you ever become a teacher?

In today’s media there is a lot of conversation going on about teachers, and their roles, positions, and worth. This hot topic of conversation has spurred from the economic recession that we experienced, and the toll it took on public schools budgets. Every parent is going to argue that they want the best possible education for their children, the problem being that they aren’t necessarily willing to pay for that top dollar education. It’s the classic champagne tastes on a beer budget. This leads me into my first point about the pros and cons of becoming a teacher, and that is the salary. A lot of the public feels that teachers are way overpaid and rarely work, because of all the holidays and breaks. This is more than evident when reading any of the Syracuse.com stories about education. While some of the comments will drive you crazy, they are always good for a laugh, because they are so out of touch and off base.

These comments are generally made by individuals who have no idea what a teachers job involves, what schooling is required to become a teacher, and the amount of out of school hours teachers put in. When all of these factors are taken into account and then compared with jobs in the private sector, one could easily argue that teachers are drastically underpaid and surely underappreciated. One thing we can say is thank goodness that there are still intelligent and passionate people who continue to enter teaching, knowing well in full that they could easily double their annual salary by choosing another career path with similar educational demands. This is why we know that most teachers are in the classroom because they want to be there. Why else would you take such a massive pay cut, put in all of the extra planning hours, and put up with the angry unappreciative parents? Because you care about the kids, plain and simple.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are other perks that come along with the job. You do have paid holiday breaks, and in most cases, summers off (unless you choose to teach summer school). For those with children, like myself, this is a major draw because I know that for the most part I will be off work and at home when my kids are. This is different from a lot of jobs, because rarely will you get a break in the middle of winter and just get to spend time at home with your kids while they are growing up. You also are given a chance to be creative and try new things, as long as you continue to work towards the national and state standards.

These being only a few of the numerous reasons to be or not to be a teacher, I have already weighed these factors in my own life. After much internal debate, I gave up jobs that would pay me a significantly higher salary, requiring much less schooling, and little to no off hours work. While to some this may sound like a silly decision, but I chose to pursue a profession that I know I am going to be happy with everyday. While I may not drive a BMW to work every day, and jet set around the world, I do know that I will make a difference in many lives, and will be remembered not by my salary, but instead by my impact.

A little history and Philosophy of William Jones....

"Leading is not something to take lightly, and there are only a small percentage of people willing to take on this role and the responsibilities that come with it." I heard this upon my arrival into NCO (non-commissioned officer) training course for the Marine Corps. As intimidating as this was to hear, knowing that soon we would be leading our own troops, I took it on with an open mind and a positive attitude. It was here that I built my base of confidence and how the skills of how to lead.

One of these skills was teaching my fellow Marines how to do certain tasks. It encompassed everything from leading/teaching new P.T. (Physical Training) exercises, to repairing tilt-rotor air crafts. I began timid and uncertain, but as time went on I became a strong leader who was willing to take risks in order to benefit my group. Not all of these risks worked out the way I had hoped, but each failure taught me a new lesson. These different experiences were filled with multiple victories and failures, but each made me work harder to improve my skills to better myself and my group.

My moment to shine was during a squadron wide workshop with over 1,000 Marines in attendance to discuss training requirements and policies. While many followed in each other’s footsteps, basically repeating what their predecessors before them stated, and in all actuality this was no different than what was already in place. They were all taking the easy way out and in essence just “rolling the balls out”, but I was ready for change and was tired of the current outdated style of how things were done. Prior to speaking I had created a new training model that would revamp the policies and procedure, to something more relevant and substantial.

While I was quite nervous, and wasn’t sure whether or not I should brave this new trail, I decided that it was worth the risk. When I finished presenting this model, I stood there terrified of the responses I was about to receive, instead I was greeted with a standing ovation. This story took place very shortly before I exited the Marine Corps and entered school to become a Physical Education Teacher. I knew that I could teach people how to move, and how to think differently about the way they do things, so I set out on my new path. Having gone through the triumphs and failures of teaching and leading in the past, I took a different view on leading a classroom than many others.

One way I did things differently, was that I was constantly looking towards change. I wanted people to change their lives, but not for my benefit, instead for their own personal growth and prosperity. I firmly believe that as a future physical education teacher, I can and will have an impact on my students that will create forever change. I know that I won’t affect everyone the same, but I will strive to reach out to all of my students and push them to their highest potential and hope that they will reflect back on it later in life knowing that I helped to promote this positive change.

I will do all that I can for my students so that they will know that I am not here just to teach them how to play basketball or soccer, but instead that I am trying to help them to create a foundation of overall lifetime wellness. I will do this by teaching them about different activities that are readily available to them that will not only improve their fitness levels, but also give them a time to mentally relax and let go of their everyday stressors. I want us to break free from the stereotype that we are the swishy pants crew who only teaches in order to coach. While I love to coach, my first love and preference is to teach those non-athletes and get them excited about being physically active. I already know that the athletes like being active, so I want to reach out to all the others.

With that being said, I hope that I am willing to reach out and affect as many students as I can. If I am only able to affect a few of them, and possibly have a large enough impact to drastically change their path of wellness, than I have been successful. I am not going to rate my success on quantity, but the quality of attention and effort that I will give to each and every one of my future students.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Welcome EDU 355 Lab

I am originally from Seattle, WA and after meeting my wife in NC, we decided to relocate back to central New York. I am an avid golfer and spend whatever free time I have trying to make it to a near by course. I also snowboard during the winter, and last year I took the opportunity to actually teach snowboarding lessons at Labrador Mtn. This experience along with teaching swimming lessons at Champions Fitness in Cicero, NY has given me a the chance to work with many young children in a learning setting. From this class I expect to gain even more experience in working with the younger level students.