Monday, November 22, 2010

CHAMP + Franziska Racker Center

Dr. Tim Davis has started an after school mentorship program for Cortland and Homer students, CHAMP. At this program, students complete their homework, engage in physical activity and eat a healthy snack. I teamed up with the Franziska Racker Center who provides opportunities for individuals with special needs. Through the Racker Center I teamed up with a young lady, named Deanna, who has Down Syndrome. I took Deanna to CHAMP where she was a mentor to the younger students. She assisted them with her homework, played games on the turf with them and read the students stories. Many of these students have not interacting with individuals with disabilities and it was extremely interesting to see the students react to Deanna. On the other end of the spectrum, it was interesting to see Deanna interact with the students and assist them with their
homework. On the turf, she was able to play with the students and work with them to accomplish a common goal. Deanna and I have attended this program once a week for the past six weeks for a two hours each time. On the days that we do not go to the CHAMP program, we volunteer around the community and learn new ways to be physically active. Some things that Deanna and I have done is ice skating, miniature golf (when the weather was nice) and various sports. One of Deanna and my favorite things to do was volunteering at the local SPCA where we were able to walk dogs. This is a great activity for us to do because it helps out the community and provides physical activity. Deanna and I also have been attending an adapted dance class at the Cortland YMCA. Here, she is able to socialize with other individuals with disabilities and once again, engage in physical
. Throughout the semester, I averaged working around 6 hours a week with Deanna. After learning about the special olympics and becoming Track and Field coach certified, I would love to get Deanna involved. She is an extremely active and thriving individual who impacts the life of everyone she meets. While working with her, I have learned of different activities to engage in and different opportunities around the community. I plan on continuing Deanna's involvement in the CHAMP program so that children are not only exposed to individuals with disabilities, but are learning and working with her.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SUNY Cortland Mini Conference

Every year SUNY Cortland hosts a mini conference for students and physical educators all around. At this conference, professionals are able to attend mini conferences to learn the new and innovated strategies and activities. This year, I had the opportunity to present Wheelchair Sports at the conference. During my presentation, students and professionals were able to get acquainted with the wheelchair and engage in a track and field game and basketball. The individuals who attended learned the rules of games and how to play them. We also incorporated scooters into the program to provide different options for schools who do not have as many chairs as Cortland was able to provide. I personally enjoyed presenting wheelchair sports because it opened educators eyes to ways to incorporate physical activity with a disability into their classroom. Many times if a child is in a wheelchair, their physical education experience is ineffective and useless. By learning new ways to incorporate them into the classroom, it provides them with new opportunity and options. Additionally, it provides students without disabilities the chance to experience what it is like to be in a chair and the different challenges they may not acknowledge without being in one. Surprisingly, by presenting in the conference, I educated myself more than I had expected. I was forced to look into specific rules of wheelchair basketball and explored different opportunities for chair users. I attended two Thursday night wheelchair basketball games which are held at SUNY Cortland. I was shocked at how good the athletes were and how they used the chair as an advantage. Overall, presenting at the conference was beneficial to not only myself, but to others who hopefully will pass it on to their students.

Monday, December 21, 2009

NASPE Beginner Teacher Standards

Standard 1: Scientific and Theoretical Knowledge 
Physical education teacher candidates know and apply discipline-specific scientific and theoretical concepts critical to the development of physically educated individuals.

As a physical educator I was required to complete Anatomy 1 and 2. In these courses I learned different theoretical concepts critical to the development of physically educated individuals. The class tested my knowledge on the bodily functions and how activity correlates with development. I apply these concepts in the classroom by understanding the benefits of activity to my students health.

Standard 2: Skill-Based and Fitness-Based Competence 
Physical education teacher candidates are physically educated individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to demonstrate competent movement performance and health-enhancing fitness as delineated in NASPE's K-12 Standards

As a student at SUNY Cortland I am undoubtedly acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to demonstrate competent movement performances and health-enhancing fitness. I have taken a variety of activities ranging from badminton to ice skating to gymnastics, all of which I am able to perform a demonstration of control or proficient level. As I progress through the program I will build m
y skills and range of performance. The photo below is a demonstration of the backwards swizzle:

Standard 3: Planning and Implementation. 
Physical education teacher candidates plan and implement developmentally appropriate learning experiences aligned with local, state and national standards to address the diverse needs of all students.

In EDU255 I have been challenged to create lesson plans for teach lesson taught that address local, state and national standards.

Standard 4: Instructional Delivery and Management. Physical education teacher candidates use effective communication and pedagogical skills and strategies to enhance student engagement and learning.

In my lesson teaching table tennis I use effective communication and pedagogical skills and strategies that enhance students engagement and learning

Standard 5: Impact on Student Learning.
Physical education teacher candidates utilize assessments and reflection to foster student learning and to inform instructional decisions.

In my class Statistics and Assessment in Physical Education I was require to create a work sample (coming soon) that assessed students on the overhand serve. After the assessments I created a work sample that reflected and posted my data and observations. My group also had to hold a mock parent teacher conference that informed teachers and students on their performance and grades

Standard 6: Professionalism.
Physical Education teacher candidates demonstrate dispositions essential to becoming effective professionals.

Some key components to being a professional are proper attire and attitude. I always come to class dressed in attire allowing movement and participation. When I am teaching I dress professionally in khakis and a collared shirt. I always attend class with an excited attitude and am ready to learn. I enjoy the transition from being a student to teaching.

All of these Standards are crucial to becoming a physical educator and I look forward to being able to build on these Standards and be the best physical educator I can be!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Watch and prepare to be amazed...

I think Dalton has said it all...


After playing Pyramid Pile up and Munch Crunch (see blog below) I learned of computer games teaching children about their food groups! The problem with this is although children are learning and having fun, they are still SITTING at their computers! I came up with activities and lessons but had to assume students had a computer at home or were able to play the game before class. What if I could teach the lesson in the gymnasium, get the children active AND ensure they're learning?! Of course, that would be too good to be true...right?


A technology called footgaming is right around the corner! Unlike DDR or iDance, footgaming allows you to play any keyboard or mouse game while being ACTIVE! The pad is a specific footPOWR pad which cannot be substituted with just any dance mat. As a future physical educator I was weary of this technology - it just seems too good to be true! But after doing some researching I am a believer! Footgaming IS an option for fun, exercise AND physical activity!

I have just caught wind of this new technology and am still getting more questions answered but from the looks of it, they're onto something good here!

Taking It Back To The Cafeteria!

The games Pyramid Pile up and Lunch Crunch are two computer games that teach the essentials on the 5 food groups: Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Milks, Meats and Oils. The games are a great way for kids to learn their food groups while having fun. I enjoyed both games and even learned something new - Almonds belong in the meats category! The great thing about these games are they can be done in the privacy of your own home or in a classroom! The games have different levels which start easy and get more challenging as you go on to ensure children don't get bored. Even though children are having fun and playing a game on a computer, food groups are actively being taught and children are benefiting from them.

The first game, Pyramid Pile Up is especially helpful because it starts off with the basics of food and what groups they belong in. The first level you simply have to drag the food into the pyramid, the second level there are no color hints or words and the third level there are Chompies which can eat your healthy food. Not only are there different challenges in the levels, but different foods. You have to differentiate between light fruit syrup and heavy fruit syrup, pizza crust is included and even almonds are expected to be in the meat category! This is great because children get to know what common foods are healthier or what group they may fall in!

Lunch Crunch is similar to Pyramid Pile Up and teaches about food groups, but if an extremely different way. Lunch trays go by and you must fill the tray with healthy choices. You can throw away unhealthy food if you run out of healthy. This game also has different levels with different foods and variety. This game is also great because it is in a classroom setting where children do have the choice to pick their foods. With the congruent visual they will know what to pick next time they are faced with a choice in the lunch line- hopefully they will chose the healthier one!

Both games are helpful in their own ways and truly do teach children about food groups and what foods belong in which group. After playing both of these games I thought to myself how I could incorporate the game into my physical education curriculum and really expand on the unit with my students. I came up with a lesson plan and activity sheet that I could implement into my classroom. I would try to team up with another teacher (possibly health) and try to incorporate this game into the classroom so the students could play at school and if at home if they wanted. This way I could build a lesson off of them already had played the game on their own.To work off the game and in the topic of food groups I came up with an activity (see lesson plan) that would challenge the students to make their own pyramid with given foods. Depending on how knowledgeable or new the students were to the topic, I have task progressions so everyone is learning! The activity would involve students getting a blank pyramid and having to run around the gym to find different foods that they would place where they belonged (different obstacles could be placed in their way to ensure physical activity). After the students completed their pyramids they would then have to match their foods with characteristics as to why they are in a certain group.
As a final activity (see activity sheet) and to check that the students understand the importance linked to a healthy diet and physical activity, I came up with for the students to identify typical meals and what consists of each food in the meal. For this they will create a mock 3 course meal and be asked to identify each food within the meal. Each category should not exceed the proper amount (they will be able to refer to their pyramid for this). The students will then be asked to come up with a proper exercise for their diets. Depending on their meal their exercise must be congruent: the healthier a meal the easier their exercise. This way students understand why it is so important and how to stay healthy and fit. Everyone is entitled to have an unhealthy meal at some point in time and this gives them the knowledge of how to cancel out that meal. The activity will be followed by 4 questions and an answer key will be provided for corrections.

Eating healthy and staying healthy is something society is battling more than ever. Children may not have the knowledge of how to do this, or could simply not have the motivation to learn. Through Pile Up Pyramid and Lunch Crunch, children are able to learn while having fun. It is also important to connect it with the classroom because even though they are learning, they are still sitting at a computer. Some options to fix this could involve more activity engagement. Technology could come into play and the options would be endless. I have experienced excergaming (see previous blogs) and it would be the perfect option to get children off the computer and engaging in activity. A game may require the student on a treadmill running from Chompies (see pyramid pile up). Healthy foods could be bonus points while unhealthy foods may speed up or slow down the tempo. The options are limitless but unless we take initiative to get students informed and exercising nothing will get changed! Pyramid Pile Up and Munch Crunch are amazing games to teach food groups, but they are also just the beginning to something great!

To see more pictures of the games and me playing click here!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

From iDance to the ARC

For EDU255 this semester we had to do 10 hours outside of class where we applied theoretical teaching and communication principles in real world settings. To complete these hours I taught dance class at the Madison ARC Center through my Dancing with Individuals with Disabilities class. I have worked summer camps in the summer working with individuals with disabilities and this experience was perfect for me - I had a blast!!

Upon arriving we pulled the residents away from Wii bowling (which they could all beat me with their eyes closed) and got them into a light warm up. The warm up typically consisted of dynamic stretching and was our ploy to gain the interest in the residents. After we were all stretched and loosened up we dove into the lesson. At every class we tried to incorporate and teach one traditional dance (ie- macarena, chicken dance, electric slide...). The residents especially enjoyed this because they were able to learn and dance independently to well known songs! We also had a request hour which may have been my favorite :) the residents are huge country fans so we got along great! The most popular song was easily Shania Twain's: Any Man of Mine!

Unfortunately, due to legal issues I am unable to post pictures of these dance classes so you will have to take my word about the fun we had! Before every class I showed up prepared with a lesson plan and after class wrote reflections on how the lessons went. On my last visit the residents were sad to see us go and we have made tentative plans to return for a few encores!

This winter I plan on getting into an Adaptive Ski class at Greek Peak Mountain Resort where I will have the opportunity to assist individuals with skiing (or snowboarding in my situation). I'll keep you updated if I'm able to (hopefully) commit to the course, but first we gotta wait for the infamous Cortland snow :D!