Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lab Three: My Reaction

This lab by far has been my favorite. In this lab we were given the choice to dress up. The theme was superheroes. I decided to dress up as Superman. The children responded quite well to those of us that dressed up as superheroes. I noticed that the children were more willing to participate in our activities also.
In this lab we were instructed to observe two individuals from the kindergarten to second grade range. These two children performed the locomotor skills of leaping, horizontal jumping, and sliding. I noticed that both of the two children were having difficulties performing these skills. The girl tended to perform better, but only slightly. They seemed as though they were distracted from the task at hand. This gave them both poor grades in my observation of their performance during my initial assessment. Our Professor then pulled the two aside and instructed them to perform the three locomotor skills by themselves, away from all the environmental and social distractions. The two children performed the skills effectively. So this goes to show how outside variables can affective performance.
In the game that I taught the children were a little too old. I thought that I was going to be working with younger children and had built my lesson plan around this. Even though the children were somewhat reluctant to participate at first they eventually came around. I used many teaching methods that I thought were helpful. I made the children keep eye contact with me as I explained the game so that I knew they were listening, as well as understanding. My wrestling coach back in high school taught me this. He would use this method frequently while explaining moves. I also did a quick quiz at the end of my instruction to tell if the children understood also. Before I began the game I paused and made sure everyone was listening and attentive. Once I could see this I then gave the signal to begin. I felt by doing this I had more control of the class and it made my activity go by much smoother. In my group there was an extremely active individual that kept acting out during our lessons. Back in the beginning of the year our Professor instructed to ask the child nicely if they would please participate or we will get in trouble by our professor. I did not really believe this would work so I never used it before. That day though it was the last idea I had to get this child motivated. So I pulled him aside and said "Please help us out and participate, if you don't my classmates and I are going to fail." The child immediately was extremely concerned that my classmates and I were going to get in trouble because of his actions. He changed his whole attitude and did not act out the entire class. Obviously this is not a method that one can use all of the time, but in this instance it was quite affective.
My overall experience at St. Mary's this past week was a positive one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lab Two: Reaction

During my visit to St. Mary's my peers and I were instructed to observe two children that I have come to call Nicole and Andrew as they demonstrated the skills of running, galloping, and hoping. The two students performed these skills during and activity set up by my peer Justen. Nicole seemed to demonstrate the movement skills more proficiently than Andrew. In fact I thought that she did quite a bit better than most of her class mates. Andrew seemed as though he did not quite realize how to perform these skills even though I believe they come from the same grade. I contributed this to the development stage at which each child is at. That possibly Nicole is just ahead of Andrew when it comes to these skills. This though is just an inference and cannot be known for sure; there are just too many variables.
The teaching methods employed by my peers were quite good. I noticed while teaching especially in Justen's game he knelt down to get on the children's level and explained the game a term that the children were able to understand. Dressing up also helped gain the children's interest. I noticed this predominately in Bree's group. Her and her peers dressed like pirates and the children seemed to magnetize toward them.
The experience I had teaching had ups and downs. I felt as though I had a strong beginning, which my professor seconded, but as the game went on it began to fall a part. I did a simple tag game that I modified for a pre-k environment. Teaching pre-k can be quite frustrating for a beginner teacher. I found that my flaws were that I took little things for granite. An example of this was that children that young do not understand the concept of running in a straight line is the simplest way to get to one point, or that once at that point is reached they are now safe. Once I realized this I immediately stopped the game and explained these little instructions that I left out. This helped the students understand the game better. Also during my game many of the parents came to pick up their children. This immediately destroyed the number of children I had in my game. My teacher said that he could tell I was let down by this and told me to keep a positive outlook on things, because children pick up negativity.
This was a great learning experience for me, I wish to keep on learning and by doing so better myself as a teacher.