Today was food lab day, where we made up games that had a central theme of throwing and catching with food involved. My group decided to do a pizza chef/cook game where one side of the gym was full of pizza topping that the kids had to throw over the "oven" to the cook to put on a big pizza. In order to be able to throw, the kids had to answer a question about healthy eating and exercise. Halfway through the game we switched the throwers and catchers. I thought it was very successful as a way to evaluate the stage at which the children are at for throwing and catching, as well as a cognitive game with questions about physical education. We used small rubber chickens, tennis balls, hockey pucks, and fish to represent the toppings. This offered a chance to evaluate the ability to throw and catch objects of different size and weight.
1. Reflecting on your experience so far at St Mary’s, what do you think have been some difficulties or challenges you have faced? Consider all areas – environment, children, etc.
One difficulty that I have faced is getting the undivided attention of all of the kids. At some points, most of the kids are looking at me and listening but the 2 or 3 that aren’t become very disruptive and attract the attention of the kids who were listening. Giving clear directions is hard when you have to say “listen up,” or “eyes of me, please,” after every couple of words. Another difficulty is coming up with a fun, engaging, and beneficial activity. Sometimes the games we have do not keep the interest of the kids and we can tell that they are bored or not enjoying it. Lastly, a difficulty I have noticed is finding gym space when we have all the kids in the gym at the same time. I was playing basketball this week with a 1st grader and we had to use a hoola hoop as a basketball that I had to hold up high in the air. Eventually, a basket opened up but we ran the risk of accidentally hitting the surrounding kids with our ball.
2. What ideas/suggestions do you have to resolve the difficulties or challenges that you wrote about in #1?
One way to resolve the attention issue is to use a whistle or have a loud enough voice to get everybody’s attention. Once we have their attention, we have to speak clearly and have important things to say so that the kid’s stay engaged and focused. Having one speaker/leader at a time has proven to be very effective as well as using a clear, loud voice while making eye contact. When it comes to activities, we have to make sure we have age appropriate games that everyone can get something out of. The games have to be well thought out, we have to be prepared and bring the right equipment, as well as have a plan if we need to change something or offer a variation. Lastly, I think that the gym space issue can be resolved only by making due with what we have. Adapting to the environment is part of being an effective educator and is a great quality to have if there is little money in the budget for equipment or a large group of students with a small gym or field.