Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Taking a Deeper Look into Anxiety

We all get anxious at some time in our lives, but most of us are able to move past it and continue functioning. Well, what would happen if you became so anxious and so worked up that instead, you shut down. Well this happens more often than you would think. Anxiety is a disorder that affects more than 60 million people here in the U.S. and it can potentially have devastating effects on people’s daily lives.

Since the beginning of this semester, I began a new job as the Lead swimming instructor at a fitness center here in Syracuse. Doing this, I have met all sorts of different people from the community, as well as many of the young kids in the area. One thing that stands out to me often is the increased anxiety of new swimmers and putting their faces under the water. This is something that can and does hold back young swimmers from learning to actually swim without any flotation devices. This sense of fear has the power to literally cripple people and this has sparked my interest in learning more about this subject.

This has driven my decision to do my research study on anxiety and its effect on Physical Education. Being in a few different physical education classes for different observations and to teach, I have seen this first hand and it wasn’t a pleasant scene. I want to learn more about this subject, so that I can potentially help students who may be dealing with this disorder in one of my future classes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Field Experience Day 6 3rd Grade 3/22/12

Reflection of the Lesson
This lesson was the one the validated all of my hard work and perseverance. I have never had such a good overall lesson in my life, and it gave me such a good feeling when I was done that I have still not stopped smiling. Once again I was in charge of the class and my master teacher was merely acting as an assistant. We did a lesson similar to the one that we did with the kindergarten group, except we added in different objects as targets, such as rubber chickens and pigs, large dinosaurs, and a giant stuffed bulldog. To build further on the lesson, each target and object was given a point value, and the students were required to run to a back board and add up their point totals as they went. This was an easy modification that allowed us to bring in their regular classroom materials and incorporate them into our lesson.

After the first round of throwing, the students were sent out to reset all the targets and pins, as well as to gather as many objects to throw. When all the targets and objects were reset, the students waited in their lines and I walked by to see how many objects they had retrieved. Upon walking by I noticed a set of girls who had very few throwing objects in their barrel and asked the class if anyone with a lot of objects would be willing to give them some extra ones. Another group readily volunteered their equipment to the other group would have a better chance to earn points.

 I took this opportunity to stop the class and talk about character virtues. I talked about the virtues that I live and that were taught to me by the Marine Corps, and those virtues were: Honor, Courage and Commitment. I explained what each stood for and how living by these virtues and having these characteristics makes you a better person. The students were extremely responsive to this and I felt that it was an important message and the perfect time for these students to learn it. When I was done talking we started right back into the activity and proceeded to the end of the lesson. While this discussion lasted a few minutes that the students could have been being active, it was such a powerful moment for myself as well as the students, I felt it was perfect. The master teacher even stopped me after the lesson to tell me how great of a moment it was. He also said that it was a great thing that I felt comfortable enough to stop the class and do something like that, and even better that it came so naturally. These are the moments that I live for, and it further instilled that this was the best lesson of my life.

Field Experience Day 6 Kindergarten 3/22/12

Skill Themes and Student Abilities

Today was the start of our Frisbee/throwing unit in the kindergartener class. We had a main activity that was geared towards having the students get as many possible different throws in in the period as possible. There were lines marked off for the students to be paired off and a line that they would be throwing behind. Instead of having just one target, there were over 50 pins/targets set at different distances and of varying sizes. Also to add spice to the lesson, there were different objects set up top of the flat pins that the students could aim at.
While the children enjoyed being able to try and knock down the different targets, this gave the master teacher and I the ability to assess their different throwing abilities. Each set of students had a barrel in front of them with many different sized balls and Frisbees to throw at whatever target they chose. Through this activity we were able to give corrective feedback to each and every student as they threw the different objects. This was good, because while there were some students who could throw the balls, they might have had trouble with the Frisbees or vice versa. The individual attention allowed for specific corrections while not singling any students out. I thought that this way of assessing and correcting was absolutely perfect and there wasn’t a single thing I would change. Overall it was a very productive and fun lesson.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Field Experience Day 5 3rd Grade 3/15/12

Knowledge of the Students

I have been given the reigns of this class, and with great pride I am making my best attempts at becoming their teacher. I feel like I am steadily getting to know each and every one of my students on many different levels. I am learning names, backgrounds, abilities and attitudes. This is making things much easier and effective when deciding who should be working together, and which students are going to perform stronger in different activities. Since this class does a lot of working with partners and groups, knowing how to quickly choose teams/groups makes transitioning between tasks much smoother.

Dealing with the behavior issues in this class takes more effort than anything else that goes on during a lesson. As I have stated before there are a handful of students in this class that are known to try and poison the group through misbehaving. This week I used my knowledge of the students to strategically place these certain students in certain groups where I know they will be surrounded by positivity and other students who are going to keep them on task. Since we did a stations style activity today, the knowledge of the students was vital in the lesson going as effortlessly as it did. I now fully understand the importance of learning as much about my students as I can.

Field Experience Day 5 Kindergarten 3/15/12

Curriculum and NYS Standards

The kindergarteners today were finishing up with our basketball unit, and while they have greatly improved their skills over the past few weeks, there is still a long way to go. Most have grasped the physical aspect of the game, but today we worked on the mental side. We did partner activities as a way to build affective skills amongst the students. The first activity after the warm up was partner shooting, where each time a group was called one of the partners would run out dribbling to the short basket in the middle and see how many times they could get their colored ball into the basket. While they were doing this the other partners were counting the number of baskets made in the allotted time. This kept both members involved and created a sense of cohesion amongst the students.
The group was then split up into groups of 4  with 4 areas already set up around the gym with a trash can filled with basketballs in each area. The game was squirrels and nuts, and the object of the game was to have the first student in line run to another groups “nest” and steal a nut, dribbling it back to their nest and putting it in the can. When they returned the next squirrel could run to any nest and so on. This game, while simple, created such a great sense of community amongst the students and many other good attributes. The teacher even commented about the standards and how we are meeting them to some of the students. I thought that it was great that the teacher was informing the students why we do what we do and how it benefits them.

Hooping Around the Pond

Explain three important benefits of hoop play.

Hoop play helps to develop hand eye coordination as the students maneuver the hoop around their body. It also works on developing their foot eye coordination. The main benefit in my eye’s woud be total body awareness, because they are forced to coordinate their entire body to effectively move the hoop around.

Give an example of how hoops can be used to reinforce cognitive concept linked with classroom learning.

Hoops can help younger learners to learn and master colors, by having multiple different colored hoops set up around the gym, calling out a color and the students would have to run and stand in that color. You could also put a number in the middle of the hoops and the students would have to find the corresponding number that is called out by the teacher. The teacher could then take this a step further and have groups of students use the numbers in the hoops to do addition and subtraction problems. i.e. if they are standing in a one and then move to a four they would then have to find the number 5 and stand in that hoop.

Describe how hoops can be utilized to promote growth in the affective domain.

Cooperation and teamwork are easily worked on through hoop play. If there are 3 yellow hoops out on the floor and the teacher yells out yellow, all the students would have to work together to fit into that colors hoops. At first the teacher could start out with multiple different hoops of the same color and then slowly remove certain hoops making fitting into the hoops more difficult. This will create a sense of teamwork by having the students work together to figure out how to get everyone in the hoop together.

Utilize the internet to gather information about ponds and related ecology to use in you field experience teaching or future teaching.

Having a vast amount of animals and organisms living in the same space creates a sense of balance as well as give and take. Using the analogy of students “living in the same pond” could teach them about cohabitating. This sense of sharing is vital for any child to use, and tossing in animals like frogs and fish would make creating games and scenarios easy around a pond theme. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Imagination lab

Identify a fitness theme and design appropriate fitness stations to enhance various health skill related components of fitness.

For this situation I would choose a superhero theme, with the first station being the Incredible Hulk area where students would work on powerful strength movements. These movements could include a box jump, to work on the powerful leg muscles. Another could be medicine ball throwing.

Another station would be the Superman station where kids would work to be faster than a speeding bullet. This station would be a sprinting station where kids can take the explosive power that they just worked on in the previous and put it into motion through running. The sprinting station will work on their anaerobic explosive power.

The final station would be a Spiderman station where the students would work with jump ropes. This station would work on their muscular endurance as well as be a fun activity using different jumps.

Identify people that are famous for use of imagination and creativity such as Einstein, Picasso, and Bach.

Steve Jobs is known for being a creative innovator, and he dedicated most of his life to pushing the boundaries of technology and thinking outside of the box. He created and designed products that were often looked at as awkward and strange, and yet over the years Apple has become a technology powerhouse with groundbreaking products.

Design a rubric for assessing the acting-out of inanimate objects by students in small groups as described in the activity close of this lab.

Students participation

4 – Student is actively participating during the whole activity.
3 – Student participates, but does so with little effort.
2 – Student participates, but fades in and out throughout the activity.
1 – Student doesn’t participate at all during the activity.

Movements and Sounds

4 – Student’s actions and sounds are both realistic and done with enthusiasm.
3 – Student’s actions and sounds are good enough to guess, but lack of enthusiasm exists.
2 – Student only performs a few actions with little or no sound
1 – Student doesn’t perform any movements or sounds

Cognitive and Affective involvement

4 – Student carefully thinks about movements as well as works well with other group members.
3 – Student thinks little about movements and works only slightly with other group members.
2 – Student doesn’t think about movements and rarely helps/works with group members.
1 – Student isn’t involved in the process or group at all.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Find information on the history of the parachute and how a parachute works.

The first sketches of parachutes date all the way back to 1495 when the great mind of Da Vinci drew them among his many other ahead of their time designs. Similar to Da Vinci’s design, a man by the name Fauste Veranzio created a similar contraption that he used to jump from the Tower of Venice. The design of a parachute works simply to slow the downward movement of whatever it is supporting as it falls. It creates drag against the wind and slows down the fall rate and is made of a light weight material that is meant to expand and trap as much air as possible.

Create a parachute routine composed of various parachute activities learned in class.

Getting the students comfortable holding and maneuvering the parachute is ideal, so to start we will start with the crazy whirlpool effect. Each student will shake their arms up and down as quickly as possible to create wild ripples across the parachute. Next we will create an air dome. The teacher will count to three and on three the students will raise their arms up quickly and then drop down all the way to the floor and sticking their heads underneath as the parachute creates a large dome effect overhead. They will do this again but this time they will jump underneath sitting their bottom on the edge. The next activity will be popcorn, where students will toss a few foam balls into the center moving as rapidly as possible to dislodge the balls from the center.

Practice a yoga routine for a week, and keep a journal of how you feel.

Doing yoga is a great way to relax and get a great exercise routine in. I have been doing yoga at my work for some time now, and I feel better doing this than spending extra hours in the gym. If you practice yoga regularly many people will claim a much more relaxed and overall smoother daily life, and from my experiences this is very true. You can build strength, flexibility while relaxing at the same time.
Use pictures to diagram each pose in the salute to the sun yoga routine.

Teaching Reflection

Reflect upon you lab teaching experience. Describe your teaching strengths and weaknesses for teaching this lab.

Each and every time I am given the opportunity to lead a lesson, I relish the chance to further improve my skills. I take every chance to further my skills in hopes of becoming the best teacher I can be. This very brief teaching opportunity was no different, because it still has the same make up I strive for in every lesson; minimal time wasted and maximum time practicing/playing, but not just that. It must be FUN, because if it isn’t fun than who wants to do it? I think that this lesson, though short was still successful. The students seemed responsive to my directions and when asked, they said they enjoyed it as well. I did a good job of keeping my directions and expectations simple and achievable, but I need to work on my hook more. I wasn’t able to create the excitement I was looking for, and I will say that this is due to a lack of planning priorities. I spent more time thinking about the actual activities rather than the lead in.

Identify one of your most effective teachers. What teaching behaviors did you admire most in the way he/she taught?

Since I didn’t have the best of examples when I was going through school, my most effective teacher is one that I have had in college. While I won’t name him, he has been by far the most influential person in my teaching and learning to date. He has such a passion for learning that it is almost infectious, and he couples this with such a professional knowledge that it boggles my mind. He pushes the limits while still maintaining complete control over the class. When looking at him as a whole, there are co-workers that think he is crazy, but his effectiveness as an educator is hard to argue with.

What goals will you set for yourself as you prepare to teach in the Education 355 Field Experience?

My goals for this experience, as well as any other experience is simple, to be effective. I want my students to take something away from every lesson. Whether this is a newly learned skill or a new tip or trick to make them a better mover anything is better than nothing in my eyes. This could mean simply making a student feel better about themselves after receiving some positive feedback or encouragement, I just want my students to feel important and that they are able to do and learn anything they set their minds to.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fitness Themes

Cardiovascular Endurance

Muscular Strength

Muscular Endurance 


Body Composition  




Reaction Time  



Friday, March 9, 2012

Field Experience Day 5 3rd Grade 3/8/12

Management Strategies:

This third grade class tends to have a handful of students that are known to either have great days, or not so great days that can ruin the class as a whole. Today was a not so great day, and the students tested my abilities to manage behaviors. Again I was the lead teacher and my master teacher was merely there assisting me and trusted in my abilities to lead the group and manage behaviors. I am glad he did, because today was a major learning lesson for me. We had sat down prior to the class to plan the lesson I would lead, and while the activity went as planned, there were a few students that weren’t cooperating. 

The master teacher and I had already talked about which students to be mindful of, and sure enough today was the day that they decided to show these negative behaviors to me. One student in particular was very vocal about how he didn’t want to play with a certain ball that we were using, and proceeded to try and spoil things for the rest of his group. In short, he shut down and proceeded to put out no effort thus bringing his teammates down. In my attempts to bring him back into the lesson, I felt myself becoming frustrated with his behavior. There were no major issues that occurred because of his behavior, and the other students in the class still enjoyed the activity. After the lesson, my master teacher sat down with me and we discussed what I could have done differently to bring him back in mentally, and things I will try next class. Overall a tough lesson was learned.

Field Experience Day 5 Kindergarten 3/8/12

Knowledge of Students:

By now I feel like I am really getting to know the students in my class, and they surely know me. Every time they come in now, they are saying; “Hi Mr. Jones, are you our teacher today?”. This is such a good feeling, because while they know me, I know am learning the students, and their abilities as well as their normal behaviors. My master teacher has mentioned multiple times that the classes that I work with are by far his most difficult students. Our talks normally revolve around the management aspect of teaching, and I feel that this is an area that I need to continue refining.

The kindergarteners like all kids their age are absolutely full of energy, and they surely feed off of the teacher leading them. While we keep the enthusiasm up, we also know which students we need to keep a handle on, because they tend to be the ones who are getting off task, or have a difficult time staying still and quiet during the instructions. I am starting to understand the importance of knowing your students, because it makes setting up the lessons and groups much easier. For example, this week we were setting up groups for a small shooting game, and knowing which students could be paired together and which ones couldn’t made things go so much smoother. There was hardly any off task behavior and zero arguing or complaining. I think that if I hadn’t known the students as well as I do, then things would not have gone as well as they did.

Field Experience Day 3 3rd Grade (2nd Class) 3/1/12

Communication with Colleagues, Others:

Our final lesson of the day was a group of eager and well behaved 3rd graders that were even more excited that I was going to get to be their teacher.  Since I did such a good job with the large group of mixed grades, the teacher asked me if I wanted to lead this lesson as well. I was more than willing and excited for such an awesome opportunity to further my skills. Before the lesson even began the classroom teacher came in and spoke with myself and the master teacher about one of the students who had recently lost his father. He told us that the student‘s mood and demeanor was still good, but he was really looking forward to our class, because it was his favorite time of the week.
This news and the teachers concern pushed me even more to make this class as much fun for the student as I could. The lesson went as planned, and the students worked on their dribbling as well as their shooting, but this wasn’t the most important part of the lesson to me. Instead, the amount of enthusiasm and energy I put into it was what made the lesson stand out to me. After the lesson, the students were all smiling and the teacher thanked me for my hard work. It was a nice feeling knowing that I can help a student just by putting in that little bit of extra effort.

Field Experience Day 3 Kindergarten/1st Grade 3/1/12

Students with Special Needs:

Needing to make up a day after falling ill, I decided to stay for the remainder of the day, and the next group I was able to work with, was a much larger group of mixed grades. The 48 student class was made up of kindergarteners as well as 1st graders as well as a few students with disabilities. Since the group was a mix of students who had been exposed to the sport, and students that hadn’t, the teacher decided to start everyone back off from the beginning. He did this, because even those students who had already had a basketball unit last year, his experience taught him that the students would still greatly benefit from the review.

This class was different, because since we had already done this lesson before today, he wanted me to lead this class and he would observe and assist me if needed. While this was a surprise, I was excited and up to the challenge. I started off with the simple ball manipulation skills on the ground, the same we had done in the previous lesson. I then moved into the dribbling cues that we had previously used. Once I had the students moving around dribbling, I went over and focused more attention on the students with special needs. This individualized attention was fantastic, because the students who were getting frustrated completely turned it around after I helped them one on one. Once the students had this extra attention, they really shined and their skills improved dramatically.

This was a truly great experience, not only because I had a great time, but also I felt honored that the teacher had enough confidence in my abilities to give me the reigns of his class. It was a great learning experience, because while I have led many lessons at many different times, this was the first time that I was on my own in a public school as the sole teacher in charge. This motivated me even more to keep striving towards my future career.

Field Experience Day 3 3rd Grade 3/1/12

Skill Themes and Student Abilities:
Today was also the beginning of the basketball unit for the 3rd graders. Since these students have already had two years of basketball units, we were able to move more in depth on skills for their first day. We started with ball handling and dribbling, as these skills themes are critical to moving with the ball. We used the same cues as we did with the kindergarteners for dribbling and this was a good refresher for the students, because we had a lot of the students slapping at the ball rather than pushing it to the floor.
After allowing the students to practice dribbling around in the general space we brought the students back in to start working on shooting. We used the acronym B.E.E.F. for them to learn the cues for shooting properly. There were 11 baskets set up all around the gym at varying heights from 5’ all the way up to the standard 10’ basket. This gave students the opportunity to challenge themselves, yet have targets that were very attainable. The student’s abilities varied greatly, because there were students who were able to accurately shoot at the 10’ basket, while some struggled on the shorter hoops. We focused more on the students shooting using the proper technique rather than simply getting the ball into the hoop. I stressed the cues and this seemed to really help students to improve their shooting.

Field Experience Day 3 Kindergarten 3/1/12

Skill Themes and Student Abilities:
Today with my kindergarteners we were starting out the basketball unit. Our focus with this lesson was ball manipulation; to include dribbling while being stationary as well as moving through the general space. We quickly learned that some of the students in the class had never handled a ball before, and this really shocked me. I figured that at this point in the student’s lives they would have some experience with balls, but multiple students told me that they had never done anything like this before. While I was disturbed to hear this, it only motivated me further to help them strengthen their skills. We started on the ground just rolling the ball around their bodies on the floor as well as moving it around their bodies by holding it. This helped to familiarize them with the weight and feel of the ball.

After they became more comfortable moving the ball around we began with 3 simple cues to help them start dribbling. The cues were fingers, push, and waist. The cues really helped the students control the ball when dribbling while stationary, and while some still struggled they all slowly became more proficient. We then had them move around the gym dribbling and trying to maintain control while moving. This lesson taught me to never assume the abilities of the students, because you can never really know where they are in their ability level, or what sort of exposure they have.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Such a great analogy

No Dentist Left Behind

My dentist is great! He sends me reminders so I don't forget checkups. He uses the latest techniques based on research. He never hurts me, and I've got all my teeth.

When I ran into him the other day, I was eager to see if he'd heard about the new state program. I knew he'd think it was great.

"Did you hear about the new state program to measure effectiveness of dentists with their young patients?" I said.

"No," he said. He didn't seem too thrilled. "How will they do that?" "It's quite simple," I said. "They will just count the number of cavities each patient has at age 10, 14, and 18 and average that to determine a dentist's rating. Dentists will be rated as excellent, good, average, below average, and unsatisfactory.That way parents will know which are the best dentists. The plan will also
encourage the less effective dentists to get better," I said. "Poor dentists who don't improve could lose their licenses to practice."

"That's terrible," he said.

"What? That's not a good attitude," I said. "Don't you think we should try to improve children's dental health in this state?"

"Sure I do," he said, "but that's not a fair way to determine who is practicing good dentistry."

Why not?" I said. "It makes perfect sense to me."

"Well, it's so obvious," he said. "Don't you see that dentists don't all work with the same clientele, and that much depends on things we can't control? For example, I work in a rural area with a high percentage of patients from deprived homes, while some of my colleagues
work in upper middle-class neighborhoods. Many of the parents I work with don't bring their children to see me until there is some kind of problem, and I don't get to do much preventive work. Also many of the parents I
serve let their kids eat way too much candy from an early age, unlike more educated parents who understand the relationship between sugar and decay. To top it all off, so many of my clients have well water, which is untreated and has no fluoride in it. Do you have any idea how much difference early use of fluoride can make?"

"It sounds like you're making excuses," I said. "I can't believe that you, my dentist, would be so defensive. After all, you do a great job, and you needn't fear a little accountability."

"I am not being defensive!" he said. "My best patients are as good as anyone's, my work is as good as anyone's, but my average cavity count is going to be higher than a lot of other
dentists because I chose to work where I am needed most."

"Don't' get touchy," I said.

"Touchy?" he said. His face had turned red, and from the way he was clenching and unclenching his jaws, I was afraid he was going to damage his teeth.

"Try furious! In a system like this, I will end up being rated average, below average, or worse. The few educated patients I have who see these ratings may believe this so-called
rating is an actual measure of my ability and proficiency as a dentist. They may leave me, and I'll be left with only the most needy patients. And my cavity average score will get even worse. On top of that, how will I attract good dental hygienists and other excellent dentists to my practice if it is labeled below average?"

"I think you are overreacting," I said. "'Complaining, excuse-making and stonewalling won't improve dental health'...I am quoting from a leading member of the DOC," I noted.

"What's the DOC?" he asked.

"It's the Dental Oversight Committee," I said, "a group made up of mostly lay persons to make sure dentistry in this state gets improved."

"Spare me," he said, "I can't believe this. Reasonable people won't buy it," he said hopefully.

The program sounded reasonable to me, so I asked, "How else would you measure good dentistry?"

"Come watch me work," he said. "Observe my processes."

"That's too complicated, expensive and time-consuming," I said. "Cavities are the bottom line, and you can't argue with the bottom line. It's an absolute measure."

"That's what I'm afraid my parents and prospective patients will think. This can't be happening," he said despairingly.

"Now, now," I said, "don't despair. The state will help you some."

"How?" he asked.

"If you receive a poor rating, they'll send a dentist who is rated excellent to help straighten you out," I said brightly.

"You mean," he said, "they'll send a dentist with a wealthy clientele to show me how to work on severe juvenile dental problems with which I have probably had much more experience? BIG HELP!"

"There you go again," I said. "You aren't acting professionally at all."

"You don't get it," he said. "Doing this would be like grading schools and teachers on an average score made on a test of children's progress with no regard to influences outside the school, the home, the community served and stuff like that. Why would they do something so unfair to dentists? No one would ever think of doing that to schools."

I just shook my head sadly, but he had brightened. "I'm going to write my representatives and senators," he said. "I'll use the school analogy. Surely they will see the point." 

He walked off with that look of hope mixed with fear and suppressed anger that I, a teacher, see in the mirror so often lately.