Sunday, April 12, 2009
1. Based upon observations and interactions with the St. Mary’s students, describe what you have learned about young children? Provide examples of activities you felt were appropriate. Why? Were there activities that were not appropriate? Why?
I have learned that young children are very impressionable. They like to tell you things about themselves and impress you by exaggerating their stories. Young children have ups and downs, but mostly they are full of energy and want to run around, screaming. Young children like closeness with people they like and they love to laugh.
I think many of our group’s games have been age appropriate. Our first game was “Zany Zoo” with the kindergarteners and 1st graders, which proved to be fun and challenging. Most of the kids could do the movements (or some version of it) and since there were tons of cards, they were engaged even when waiting in line. They all had the fundamental movement skills, but they still needed to practice them to develop more. Our first shot at improvising on a game for pre-k was somewhat successful. We set up an obstacle course that proved to be easy enough for everyone to do, until they got up to the scooter section and they had to push themselves along the floor. Most were very slow or could not do this, which led to traffic jams and the loss of interest while waiting in line. After we saw that the obstacle course was not working well, Emmie started follow the leader and all of the kids loved it. Next, the pre-k’s suggested a lily-pad tag game, which was appropriate because it was one of their favorite games and everyone played. In the “Super Hero” lab, our car game was very successful. The kids could do all of the movements, followed all of the directions and everyone had a smile on their face. I had a blast playing that game and was impressed because it incorporated all of the movement skills we were focusing on during that lab. Our food lab, in my opinion, was our best executed and planned game. We decided to make 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. 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. This game was the most appropriate, as we offered for the kids to read their own cards or have their college student read it to them, as well as put an array of different objects out on the gym floor for them to pick to throw. The Easter egg hunt as both age appropriate and school appropriate. I read Dora the Explorer’s Easter Egg Hunt to the pre-k students, who were all enthralled in the book and all loved Dora. Since St. Mary’s is a Catholic School, we can focus on the holiday and use it as a theme. Before reading the book, we had the kids color bowls and then staple strips of paper to make it an Easter basket. After we read the story, we went to the gym and the kids had so much fun searching through the area for the eggs. I thought it was very age appropriate because all of the kids have done an Easter egg hunt before and they all could do the activities leading up to the hunt. It worked fine motor skills as they colored and picked up small eggs, and they learned some Spanish words and practiced reading as I read the Dora book.
2. Based upon your interactions with St. Mary’s PRE K program, describe your experience. How was this different from working with the older age students? Did you enjoy working with younger age children? Why or Why not?
Working with the pre-k was very calming. At that age, they are in awe of you and seem to follow all directions and rules. Whenever you tell them something, they whole-heartedly listen and take in what you say. They are very impressionable and some have infinite wisdom way beyond their years. It was so different working with the older students because the older ones have their own opinions and have learned to rebel. Trying to give directions to the older students without any distraction is almost impossible, but the pre-k kids seem to give you their undivided attention and follow your directions. I really enjoyed working with the younger kids, first because they are so cute, and second because they were so interesting and respectful.
3. During your field experience, each of you worked with children in the cafeteria setting. Describe the fine motor activities you observed. Do you feel that working on fine motor activities is something we should work on in Physical Education.
The games that I observed that involved fine motor skills in the cafeteria included mancala, checkers, coloring, lego’s, mr. potato head, cards, and jenga. All of these games involved using you fingers to pick up small pieces and place them somewhere else. I noticed that everyone was successful in what they wanted to do, leaving the impression that their fine motor skills were developed. In physical education, we can work on fine motors skills but I think that gross motor skills should be the focus. Developing fundamental movement skills like hopping, skipping, jumping, galloping, running, throwing, catching, kicking, and dribbling should be the main focus. Of course, if somehow there were a way to develop both fine and gross motor skills then that would be very beneficial for the student’s development.
4. Reflecting on your growth as a future teacher, what have you learned from this experience that has given you insight as to your individual “teaching style”. Has your teaching style emerged based upon your experience and interaction at St. Mary’s. If yes, in what way. If not, how else might this occur?
From these 6 weeks at St. Mary’s, I have learned that I have to be confident. I know that I can be a really great educator some day, that I have interesting ideas, and that I have effective ways of passing on knowledge to my students, but I need to be more confident in myself. Lack of confidence and nervousness leads to my voice not being loud enough, as well as second-guessing myself. My teaching style reflects my personality in that I try to make everyone smile and that I try to get everyone else psyched about what we are doing, no matter what it is. Having enthusiasm and a positive attitude can be infectious and the students will pick up on how committed you are, making them want to participate that much more. At St. Mary’s, I noticed that when you commit to showing intense interest in an activity, the kids will follow suit and get even more involved in the activity. Also, when you give the kids positive feedback on multiple occasions, they will focus more and try to impress you with whatever they are doing. Not that “sucking up” isn’t annoying after a while, but that mentality of wanting perfection is good for kids to have and can even make other kids strive to do better. Overall, I think St. Mary’s was a great experience and that I got a lot out of seeing others teach, as well as having another opportunity to teach myself.