Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30th, 2012

I had another unordinary day at the Geneva School District. Due to the tropical storm that affected our region I was not even sure if school would happen today. All of the other districts were closed, and I cannot say that I agree with that decision. Much of the storm had already passed midway through the night. Even though the Geneva School District was not closed there was a two hour delay. This caused many of the students to unfortunately miss the second day of the Great Pumpkin unit. The first class I had today was so small in numbers. Eight of the students were missing because they did not show up to school, a pattern I would soon see in all my classes today. I was not teaching two classes either for this lesson, so having fifteen students for the Great Pumpkin activity was quite a new experience. We were able to get all of the students to be the Great Pumpkin, and I even was able to participate a few times. At the end of the class the students said I was the “best gym teacher” I do not really agree with the whole “gym” thing, but I took it as a complement and it made my day start off right. We can always work on grammar. The next class was a double class, and these were the two “off” classes of the year. I made sure I was extremely clear cut with these students and I did not let anything go. Unfortunately I had to sit a student out today for a few minutes. They did not want to follow my safety rules, and after repeated reminders they still did not follow me. They cried and I felt horrible, but that is what need to be done sometimes I suppose to get a point across. It was my first experience punishing a student, I did not like it. My last classes went much better. I had one of my favorite third grade classes, which listen so well, and after that was my A.P.E. class. That combination made my day end right. 

October 29th, 2012

Today was a good day. I taught the first day of the Great Pumpkin unit. Now this for me was not a traditional type of activity I am used to teaching. It is a type of tag game that does not really have any type of skills objective, but the one thing that it most certainly has is cardiovascular and muscular properties. I performed this activity with some of the students and I can attest for these properties in the severe burn I had in my legs and chest after I did it. It was quite the workout! The great part about it was that it was a workout disguised in a fun activity. The students did not even know that they were exercising until they left the gymnasium dripping in sweat. To start the day I observed my host teacher in the instruction of this lesson. In the later classes I taught every aspect of the activity. Now I was teaching two classes, one I barely knew and another I did not know at all because one of the teachers was not in. To say the least this made teaching today quite interesting. My host teacher had really big expectations for me at first and wanted every part of my lesson to be perfect, but it was somewhat difficult because I never taught the lesson before and I was teaching students that looked at me like I was basically a substitute, and in this type of atmosphere that is not a good thing. I felt as though I did well considering, and he soon came to say that I did good as well. At first though I was nervous my teaching was not up to par. Tomorrow though is another day and I have one more chance to perfect this lesson. My highlight of the day was my A.P.E. class. The student in that class always seems to make my day better, and it was a positive ending for an up and down day. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 26th, 2012

Today I felt went quite well. This far it was some of my best teaching here at the Geneva North Street School. My host teacher unfortunately was not in today due to personal reasons, but I really took this time to try and build a respecting relationship with the students. Every class I treated like a test. I would try new instructional devices and see how they worked with different students. I am starting to understand how some students work with others, and I really think this is an important concept to know. If students can work well it allows for more class time on task and less distractions to be had. I actually like the quick paced classes. It allows me to almost get a lot of reps in at teaching that subject. The only downfall is I do not have to to reflect and then respond. I almost have to respond on the go. I think this is almost a better type of action to have, and luckily I had many weeks to prepare myself for this type of thinking at the Victor School district. It is funny I find that when I am outside of the gymnasium the students find it to be the most exciting thing to see me in the hallway. I really enjoy this. It is something I did not receive at such a level when I was teaching middle school students. It is good to know you are appreciated. I am looking forward to the weeks to come. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24th, 2012

Today was quite a day. It did not start as well as I had hoped for it to be, but with the kids helped it slowly turned around. I feel as though I have brought that ability to adapt quickly to teaching situations with me from Victor. It was only my third day her, but I have already taught as many lessons here as I would in a week at Victor. I attribute this to the busier schedule and the shorter class periods. The students are somewhat reluctant I have noticed at first, but Mr. Lauer has reintroduced me to the importance of the anticipatory set, and the role it can play on the student’s involvement. I have found the more I say a lesson will be fun the more the students will be involved in it. Also I have been getting the students ready for the two “fun” lessons they will be performing which are the “tumbling obstacle course” and “the great pumpkin” lesson, which I have come to understand is a favorite traditional game for the students. Today with the students was great. To be honest they say some of the most hilarious statements that really make teaching great. All of the students seem to want to do all of the skills independently which I think is great, because it shows confidence. I attribute this to their environmental influences, and the mindset that is needed to grow up in a more urban type of environment. Along with this mindset I have noticed some students try to almost feel me out with how far they can get away with certain behavioral situations. I am being quite firm with the students, but at the same time trying to develop a positive relationship with them. I think that respect is gained in time. Respect of the students for me is my main goal along with educating them physically. If I earn that trust I feel as though I can be a more effective teacher. Only time will tell though. 

October 23rd, 2012

What a day it has been. For being only my second day here at the Geneva School District I have already taught three classes with my host teacher observing me, and two with a substitute watching me teach the lessons. I felt as though it was important that I step up as soon as possible and teach because this afternoon I knew my host teacher would be out and I did not want the students to fall behind in their tumbling lesson. I feel as though all of the lessons went quite well and the students really appreciated my teaching and what I was trying to teach to them. I think in every class I was able to get through all of the activities that I needed to get through. The first three classes I taught went well, but as each class went I tried to set a personal goal of bettering each lesson. I feel like I was successful in this personal goal, because my organization and transitional time decreased and my activity level went up in return. For my fourth class I observed my host teacher teach the second part of this lesson, because depending on the day you may teach two different lessons. I observed this because I would be teaching it when the substitute arrived. I took notes on each station and how to perform/teach them. The last two lessons of the day went well. The class I taught the new lesson to had some behavioral which I did not tolerate and took care of immediately. I do not think this was because of my teaching, because as I understand this class has had behavioral issues for some time now. The last class though was amazing, and did quite well at the first lesson that I had been teaching. I had no complaints about them. Unfortunately my A.P.E. student was not feeling well today and she did not come in. Today was a wonderful second day here at the Geneva School District. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22nd, 2012

Today was the first day of my second placement. Now this I found was a completely different experience then I thought it would be. I do not think this was for the bad at all. The students that I expected would be more tough and rebelling against Physical Education. To be honest I have heard almost horror stories about teaching students that live within large cities. What I found was what I believed in the first place, kids are just kids. I found that the students were extremely well behaved, and that they really enjoyed being in Physical Education class. I observed for most of the day, but at the end of the day I taught a few parts of the lessons I observed. I taught some of the tripod, and the cartwheel in the gymnastics tumbling unit. I was really enthusiastic and the students responded well to this. My favorite part of the day I would say was the Adaptive Physical Education class that I had at the end of the day. My host teacher has a one on one student in Adaptive Physical Education with which we performed a modified tumbling unit. The student was so amazing and just really made my day even better. She would say some of the funniest statements, and was smiling the whole time. I am really looking forward to working with her more. I hope to bring in some of the A.P.E. ideas that I learned at Cortland. I feel as though she would benefit from these greatly. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 19th, 2012

I walked in to the school today with a somber note I looked around the campus trying to take in everything with all of my senses. I knew this was my last day to be a student teacher at the Victor School District. The fact is though I do not feel like a student here. I have been here since before the beginning oft the year, and at first people within the school were some what wherry of me, but now I am more close to an equal. I feel at home here. I drive in the morning in to the school with out any thought, just my body guiding me there, I come in and prepare for the day without a thought. It is all a good thing though  because I am comfortable and into the routine of how a teacher should be. I truly enjoy it, for I am not one that goes into situations so comfortably, but here it has come so easy. When I prepped for the days classes I had a smile on my face, but inside it was masking the sadness I was feeling. My joyful talk, and smiles were just a front for the emptiness I felt inside. The students, like always helped to lift my spirit. Many of the classes today were eighth graders, and they new I was a student teacher because they had been in the Middle School the year previous. They were surprisingly sad to see me go as well. One student shook my hand as he left and under his breath as he turned he said, "You shouldn't go, you're a good teacher." The surprising part of this was, the student that said this had been a student I did not think liked me at all for these past couple weeks, but in the end he was the one to make a comment like this. It got to me, it made me feel somewhat sad. Later though when I thought about it, I realized I truly had an impact here at the Victor School District for the positive. I was truly blessed to be allowed to be part of this program.

October 18th, 2012

Today was the first day of the third lesson in badminton. Since it is my last few days here at the Victor Central schools I decided to allow the students to have a little freedom, and have fun myself in the lessons. When I did this I noticed something amazing. My attention from the students increased, and the impact of my instruction was greater! During this lesson the students were performing peer assessments on one another in badminton skill related stations. The assessments worked in a rubric type form with the cues to the skills right next to rubric. What this did was allow the students to teach their classmates how to perform new skills, and what they needed to do to correct previously learned skills. This I thought worked out great. At each station the students were allotted three minutes to do the skill between them and their partner. I used the score boards to measure the time, and allow the students to check themselves and manage how they would like to space out their time at each station. Also I decided to use the stereo system that is used with the Adaptive Physical Education classes to play music while the students were at the stations. The music is a tool that I really love to use. The beat gets the students active,and it is almost like a trigger for movement as soon as the students walk in the gymnasium. I wish I had thought of this earlier in the year, because it was such a great hit among the students. It was sad to tell the students I was leaving them, and this would be my last class being their teacher. Many of them were surprised I was a student teacher. I have been teaching since my first day there, with input and modeling from my cooperating teacher, and I did not let on that I was a student. Some were really let down by this. I will miss them as well. They were a great bunch of students.

October 17th, 2012

Today began as an amazing day. I was finally bale to come in early and exercise before class. This week has been quite hectic. I am trying to prepare everything for next week when I go to Geneva, and wrap up all of the different obligations I have here at Victor. I am sure I am over thinking the whole situation, but I do not mind doing so, because it allows me to be properly prepared. My first class began with enthusiasm and at the same time some sadness. Due to our three day block schedule here at Victor today will be the last time I will be able to see these students. It is somewhat hard when realizing I will more then likely not be able to teach these students again. I tried to give these students my best lesson thus far to ensure that I gave them everything that I had and leave a positive mark on the students when I left. The first lesson went well and I really put a lot of emotion in my teaching to try and liven up the lesson. This worked and the students loved it. Also when I told them I was leaving and this would be my last class with them they became quite upset. I did not know they appreciated me so much, and it gave me a good feeling to realize this. The class after this I felt did not go as well as the first. The students were off task and did not understand the topic, I attribute this to the substitute that they had because I chaperoned a field trip the week before. This class left a bad taste in mouth. I really felt as though I failed them in not being able to help them understand the skills, and relay the benefits it could have for them in life. The last class though I knew I had to do do well in. The athletic director was coming to observe one of my classes. I began the class with an assertiveness I have only felt before during my portfolio interview. It was almost to the type of focus that you only get before a big athletic event. I felt as though I performed amazingly. My host teacher and the other teachers around me thought this was the best lesson I had ever performed. The students were on task and we were able to get through all the pieces because my organization was amazing. Over all it was an amazing day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16th,2012

Today I thought was an average ordinary type of day. Nothing eventful really occurred. My teaching was clear concise and I was bale to get through my lessons efficiently. My host teacher, who I also coach with told me about a volleyball team that he had that were so good they would always win. Due to the fact that they always won the only way for them to measure their progress was to set small goals within game play so that they could measure if they were increasing in ability or not. I felt like that today. My lessons were well organized, and I felt like I was becoming somewhat monotonous with my teaching. So in order to come up with a way to measure my teaching I set goals within my lesson. Now I am not saying that I am amazing at student teaching, it was just a way for me to keep me "moving forward" in my teaching. For my last class my goal was to get into an application of the skills during gameplay. I had to focus on my time management in order to be successful with this goal. I was teaching three new skills, luckily though I was teaching these to eighth graders which most of this information was review to. We got through the classes with around four minutes to spare. This was just enough time to get into gameplay. So I reached my goal for the day. This does not mean I am going to stop though. I wish to keep this goal and build upon it in my last day of this lesson block tomorrow.

October 15th, 2012

Today was an interesting, but extremely busy day. From the start of the day I was moving around in preparation. I was preparing for the day, preparing for the lesson, preparing for the game, and preparing for my supervisor to come and observe me during two of my teaching lessons. For the first class I observed my host teacher. This acted for me as a model I could work from in order to better instruct students, and also many of these skills were new to me, so I was learning just as the students were. My first lesson I thought did not go as great as I wanted it to go. Many of the students were off topic, and my instructional delivery was not as efficient as I wanted it to be. I was trying to model what I saw in the first lesson, but this just caused me to forget key parts of  my lesson. The next lesson I promised myself would be much better. In all I thought the second lesson was an amazing leap in teaching. I was able to get the students excited for class, and motivate them to perform the skills to the best of their ability. In all the corrections I made in the second lesson saved me during my supervision. My goal is to increase every lesson and better myself, and I most definitely proved I can do this.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 12th, 2012

Today was another first for me. It seems as though each day is a new learning experience, and because of this I always have to stay on my toes and try my best to be successful.  It started like an ordinary day. Me prepping for class, and then teaching the lesson. This lesson though I would have to say has been my best thus far. I feel as though the students are really starting to enjoy me being their teacher, and I can tell in their dedication to the lessons. Well what was different today was that I was chaperoning a field trip. Now I have been told this is quite out of the ordinary because I am only a student teacher, and to give me the responsibility of a group of students on a field trip is somewhat unheard of. I guess this goes to show that the Victor School District has a lot of faith in me. I am glad that this is so. I walked in to the meeting room where the students were at before we went on the field trip. I heard at least five voices from different areas yelling my name, asking if I would be their chaperon on the trip. It was good to hear the students say that, because it means they really like me as a teacher. We went to the cemetery across from the lilac festival. It was a scavenger hunt for history, and I just love history, so it I think I had just as much fun as the students. The trip went well, and we successfully made it back to the school. After we got back not much time was left for class, so I just taught the final half of last period, and coached volleyball after that. In all it was a successful and learning filled week for everyone.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October 11th, 2012

For being only the second day of the unit I felt as though the classes I taught went quite well. Many of these classes today were eighth graders, so these skills in badminton were mostly review. Even though they had a background in these skills I still took the time to explain to them the different parts of history, and scoring rules. I did this in a reasonable amount of time, and we were able to get in to game play for about fifteen minutes at the end of class. The seventh graders on the other hand I took more time to explain the rules, history, and techniques. They had some background of this sport form other Physical Education classes in different grades, but as in depth as this. We were only able to perform maybe five minutes of true game play with application of skills at the end of class. Today also was my big opening debut as the stand in head coach for the Victor Junior Varsity Volleyball team. The night before I had scripted all of my rotations, and the possible tendencies of Canandaigua who were our opponent for the evening. I was completely over prepared, but I need that in order to function in high stress situations. The kids caught on well and responded to my coaching. I do not know all of the details of the sport, so I put a lot of pressure on the kids in the sense they had to remember where they were in rotation, and when they should be subbing out. The first game began as a disaster. we were down 11-21, I thought we were done, because I have never seen a deficit like that be overcome. I called a time out, and it seemed like something out of the movie miracle. I gave them a speech, and normally I stutter, but the words came out clearly. I could see the kids eyes get big and light up with focus. We came back after that and won 25-27! I felt like I was going to drop after that game, but we still had two more left. The second game we came on strong, and we were up by many points in the beginning, but slowly we fell behind, and lost 21-25. Our third game would decide the fate of that match, it was the tie breaker, where our grit and determination would be tested. The score went back and forth through the entire match. We slowly started to get behind toward the end of the game, but somehow we got a good dig and scored tying at 21-21, and we got the ball for a serve. One of my back row players was rotating front and the front row player had to substitute in for them, because the back row player was only a specialist for that position. Well the kid that plays front was not paying attention, and when I had noticed it was too late, and he ran in after the referee had blown the whistle for service. This of course caused us to be out of rotation, and lose our serve as well as a point. I thought at that moment we had lost the match , and it was my fault as head coach not realizing this rotational error. I had put too much faith in the kids to keep track of where they had to be. I was devastated, but only for a moment. I re-focused and put my thoughts to the next play. We dug another ball and scored, getting the point and the serve back. The rally went back and forth again, points being put up on both sides. We battled back for the victory, winning 26-24. It was an amazing feeling. Wins like that are the ones I feel are true wins. The ones you have to battle for, and earn. The kids did well, and I feel as though I gained a little more respect from them tonight. It was an amazing experience and I thank my host teacher for allowing me to do it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10th, 2012

This was the first day of the badminton unit. I have never taught badminton before, and I believe the last time I have even played the sport was five years ago when I was in high school. The first class I just observed my host teacher teach a class of seventh graders. This for me was an opportunity to observe and learn, giving me a platform to base my lessons upon. My host teacher is an experienced teacher who demonstrates great control over the students. Watching him teach is a great opportunity. I have not had many of these though, because of the odd scheduling of this semester. The next class I volunteered to teach the entire class. It went somewhat well, but their is always room for improvement. I felt as though I could have calmed down and explained the rules and history a little more in depth. My host teacher noticed this and allowed me to observe him once more with another seventh grade class. This helped because it allowed me to see what I had forgotten to explain to the students in the previous class. The last class I felt was an amazing class, because I was able to calm down and explain everything that I wanted. The students were seventh graders, and for some of their first times playing badminton I felt as though the did a great job. Next time though I will have to work on explaining the service rotation rules a little better. Every class though is a learning experience and my goal is to progress each class.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9th, 2012

Today was a superintendent's day here at the Victor Central School District. What was discussed today was the creation of the SLO's, or student learning objectives based upon the pre-assessment performed a few weeks prior. It was agreed upon that the goal for the students was that 75% of the students would increase their score by a point. This I believe is a reasonable goal for the students. I was not able to help much during this time, but I was able to help with the excel spread sheets that held the students scores, so in this way I was able to participate in the SLO process. Also today once the meeting broke I was able to find out about the other side of being a Physical Education Teacher. I had to repair equipment for the upcoming badminton lesson by raiding the janitors closet, and using material from there. I have found there are many different tasks a P.E. teacher needs to perform that is not quite taught in college. It is a little humorous but I enjoy working with my hands, so I do not mind it. Also to prepare for the badminton lesson I had to get all of the equipment accounted for, and set it up for tomorrow. I really want to be prepared for tomorrow, so the classes are organized and ready for activity. I find it amazing that I am able to perform all of these different activities that I have limited background in. Being here at the Victor Central School District has really helped me to expand my horizons.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5th, 2012

For the last day of the rugby unit the students performed quite well. This unit I have felt has had its ups and its downs. The students have made not only a development in skill, but a development in their characteristic as well. Students who were somewhat off task in the beginning of the unit have really matured, and grown accustomed as to how they should act during Physical Education class. It is an indescribable feeling to see students you have taught a completely new a foreign skill to succeed and apply your teaching. Many of these students I am sure have never played the sport of rugby before this unit, and to catch on apply the skills as quickly as they have is an amazing sight to see. Throughout this unit I have come to know the students, and I think many of them have come to know me as well. My time here at Victor is becoming shorter,and the ending of this unit has made me realize the ending of my stay here is soon. I will miss the family type atmosphere that is present here at Victor among the faculty and staff. Also the amazing acceptance of the Physical Education program within the curriculum. For a Physical Education teacher this would most definitely be a dream school to work at. I had a discussion with my host teacher the other day based upon this type of thinking. He explained how it would be great for me to get into a school with a program like the one at Victor. I though am not sure if this type of program would truly be a place where I would want to work. If an offer came I would take it, but I have always had this "hero" mentality. Ever since I was young I have always wanted to help others, and to go into a program that has everything, I feel would not suit me. I want to make a change, not for glory or any type of selfish idea like that, but to help the less fortunate and at the same time impact them for the positive. This I know is ridiculous thinking, but I would like to take the techniques and skills I have learned and apply them where I know they are needed and will be appreciated. This is just a though that has been rolling through my head lately, but who knows what the future will bring.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4th, 2012

Today started extremely positive, with me being ready for classes to enter, and as my host teacher says, "Teach some kids up!" The first class came in and were a little rowdy at first, but many of the students at the beginning of the year stood up and got the other students in the group to calm down. I have put a lot of pressure on these students to stand up and be leaders, and I believe it is starting to work. The students worked well together in games and applied all of the different concepts that I taught to them. This was extremely pleasing to see. Toward the end of class I asked the students to place all of the equipment back correctly. They did, but the students that I have been having act as leaders were there the entire time organizing everything. It was good to see this evolvement from the the beginning of the year until now. The end of the day went good, but not great. Due to a fire drill we were limited on time, and were only able to participate in only a few minutes of game play. This was alright because the students knew what to do, but I felt bad because if their limited time compared to other classes. Coaching today I thought was one if my better days. Normally I am only able to help with activities by being their in support of my host teacher. Lately though he has been giving me more responsibilities, and next week I will actually be running an entire week of practices. Then on the eleventh I will coach my first game. This I am extremely excite for. Today we had an odd number, and I was able to participate as well. It's was a learning experience for me for the skills we were performing. I found out I could perform them quite well. Over all it was another great day.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3rd, 2012

Today I thought began extremely positive. I came in early and was able to exercise before my first period class, and it really prepared me before class. I was able to get the students extremely excited for game play today, and they were really into applying the three different concepts of application in game play. These concepts were the application of skills, strategy, and game rules. The first three classs I thought performed these concepts in game play with extreme accuracy and every student I felt deserved a four in their grading for the day. this is the highest score that one can recieve. Also one technique that I used was amking every student touch the ball before they were able eto score a try. This caused every student to participate to the best of their ability and really feel part of the team. I saw smiles, and laughing today. This really made me feel great that I could impact the students in this way. My last class though struggled and all of the positive feelings I had almost deminished. I saw for the first time students arguing, and almost fighting over arguments that were in my eyes pointless. They were all based upon clear cut rules that I had explained in great length. i brought the students in about four times to try and solve this delema. Nothing I did seemed to solve this issue. I hope this is not a common occurence, becasuse if it is their will be some changes put in place.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2nd, 2012

The day I thought went quite well. I did not perfrom my usually daily routine of lifting before class. Normally this helps to get my body prepared for class, and teaching, but latley it has just made me tired. What I did today instead was use this extra time to prepare for my upcoming lessons, and to perform some research in to the kidnastics unit I will be performing when I go to Geneva in my second placement for elementary teaching. The book I found most interesting was actually written by an instruct of mine from SUNY Cortland, Eric Malmberg. This I found to be quite ironic. Classes today I thought went well in comparison to yesterday's classes. I really have been trying to decrease the time in which it takes me to get get re-adjusted each week to teaching. By my second class this afternoon I felt like I was back in the routine of teaching. Today many of the students really worked on incorporating punting techniques within their rugby game play. They were using this as a strategy if they were down to their third ruck, and needed a goal. In these lessons like I have said in previous entrys the main focaus of these last lessons is to incorporate game play with skill, strategy, and rules application. The last class I found today was the class that implemented these concepts the best. This class was the class I used for my teacher work sample, and they are somewhat smaller in numbers. This causes each student to touch the ball and perform the technical aspect of the the concepts taught. Overall today was a great day. I hope the progress of the students keeps increasing.

October 1st,2012

Today was not a great of a day as I would have hoped for. While I was teaching for some reason I was not able to articulate the message that I wanted to get across to the students. We have been performing gameplay for quite some time now and I feel as though the manotomy of the lesson is starting to wear thin on me. it is not bad, but I do enjoy change, and teaching new ideas. the students today were somewhat off task, but they tried to erform the activitiy to the best of their ability. The understanding of the activity, and the different concepts we are implementing are starting to come together quite nicely. The idea of spreading out the defense, and apply taught skills correctly is starting to come about. there is one more lesson of full game play left. Hopefully during this lesson all of the students in all of the classes will understand how to apply skills, strategy, and the rules of rugby during gameplay. I have noticed some of the students are taking this activity too seriously. I mean that they are getting to the point where their emotions are so strong that in some cases I have been afraid fights will break out. I find this odd becasue it is a non contact activity, and I try to break the teams up as evenly as possible. When I notice an event like this I bring the students together and remind them about sportsmanship, and how they are held to personal and social responsibilities for a grade. Other then these few and far between events the students are doing well, and it is nice to see them progress in something that I have taught them.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 28th, 2012

Today was an interesting, as well as a long day. For today it was the first day of my lesson five in the rugby unit. We expanded on the application of skill in game play, as well as adding new grading concepts. The first concept that was added was the application of strategy. The entails the students ability to spread out on the field, using the entire field to their advantage. The second was to apply the game rules in a meaningful and correct manor. Many of the students were able to do this, and I have to say that their was a drastic improvement form the first day of game play up until now. I think that every student within my classes today earned a score of four on their application of all three of these concepts. I was even able to have a normal class with my "sample class." Normally I am not able to do this because of assemblies and different scenarios that keep presenting themselves, but today was actually an amazing class for them. Also today we started implementing the final unit quiz on rugby. Now the scores on this I found varied quite a bit. I can tell many of the students did not take the study guide that I gave to them the class prior seriously. This was unfortunate, because it does count toward their overall grade. I believe once they see these scores they will take the next unit more seriously. On a positive note though, all of the scoring, and rule application portions of the test went well. It was just the history that they had trouble with. Also today I was able to coach a practice. We had both varsity and junior varsity practicing in the same gym today. The varsity coach was their observing the junior varsity practice because my host teacher had to leave early. The varsity coach let me run the JV through drills and such as he was their watching me do so. This let him focus more on his varsity team too. Overall it went well, and I feel like coaching the athletes one on one allowed me to understand the activities better. Over all it was a good day.

September 27th, 2012

Today started off kind of on a sad note. We had an assembly in which a father of a student that had killed himself due to bullying came and talked about his story. These types of stories seem to really get to me, and it started the day on a different type of note. Due the assembly though the class period for the students was cut drastically for the first half of the day. I had to quickly explain the rules to the game of Rugby, and how the application of skill was important to the students within only a short five minute window. For this much information, that was a task! The students though, again did great with it, and were able to somewhat catch on to what was occurring. I had three classes today, so the last two classes were of normal length. The class that I had before lunch I felt did fantastic for the activity. This was kind of my modeling class for the last class of the day. It seems as though all of classes I have had during this lesson have been modified due to off scheduling. The last class I had was the class I had chosen for observation. now the funny part about this though is I told the students we would be have a special guest this day the week prior. That was all I had told them. Now before the class began some how rumors had begun and a story formed that this person was here to grade them on their behavior! The students were all nervous before class, one student looked like he was about to have a panic attack! I told them before we went to the turf that they had nothing to worry about, that this person was a Professor of mine from college, and that they were going to do fine! It was quite funny to see their relieved reactions. Overall the lesson I thought went well. I was somewhat nervous, which I guess is normal, other then that it was great. I did well on my observation, and my goal is to do even better on the next.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26th, 2012

Now today was a somewhat rushed day. It is a half day, which is the reason as to why i am writing this so early in the day. The class periods were cut down to about thirty-two minutes of class time. Once instruction, organization, and miscellaneous items were attended to, we were lucky to get in fifteen minutes of quality activity time in. I felt as though many of students did quite well with the limited instruction, and freedom to develop their skills. This was the first time for many of them that they had the opportunity to actually play the game of rugby. Now the students may be playing a game, but the main focus of the lesson is the application of skill, and how effectively they can do this while at the same time, being safe, and adhering to all of the specified rules. One strategy that I have been trying to implement for two reasons, is splitting up the teams by ability level. Now I am not segregating anyone, or judging them, but what I am doing is trying to make it so that all of the member of a group participate to the best of their ability. Usually within each class their are students that catch on to the activity a little better then others. I take one of these students that can grasp the situation better and I put them in a group of students that need further explanation. This I found works out perfectly. It causes the students to actually teach each other during the activities. I feel as though student to student teaching can really help those whose ability level is not quite there yet, because a peer can explain the activity in terms that they understand, and in turnothers would understand better. Now I am not leaving the teaching solely to the students, but instead giving them the framwork to build off of. This worked out great today, especially due to the short class periods. The second reason is to do this was to separate the off task students from individuals that would make them more off task. When they are in groups of students they can just perform the activity with, and do not have to worry about "being cool," they get a lot more of the activity. I am going to keep expanding on these ideas. I want the best for the student.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Septemebr 25th, 2012

Today was the beginning of lesson four. Lesson four has to do with the application of the six different skills that have been taught during the previous lessons. These are the; flick pass, spin pass, lineout, ruck, punt, and conversion kick. In order to gain a four in today's class, which the highest grade the students can attain they must be able to take two of these six skills, and apply them effectiviely in game play. So even though they are in game play, it is still about the skills. The first few classes I felt went somewhat rough. These beginning classes or the first lessons always seem to be the classes in which I work out the problems, or put in ideas to improve the quality of the lesson. I feel like my learning curve is starting to get better when it comes to figuring out what I need to improve on, or how to modify an activity. By the end of the day I felt as though the class went quite well. It was a class in which the students needed to take a pre-assessment, so we had less time, but the students were able to work together, follow my instruction, and perform all of the activities with great focus and determination. Over all I felt as though today began not so great, but eventually eneded on a positive note with the students gaining a meaningful experience they can apply to life outside of the Physical Education environment.

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24th, 2012

Today was the last day of my third lesson. This lesson I have felt has been my best thus far. The students enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it as well. Station work for me at first was rough. I was so used to being in full control of the students, that to give them freedom did not seem like teaching to me. It was not until I took a step back and realized that teaching was in fact taking place. I gave them the initial information, and through psychomotor based activities the students were able to develop their skills in way that made since to them. I noticed many students begin to take leadership roles within their groups, and help others with skills if needed. This also in turn helped them to better their idea of the skill. Personally I feel if someone teaches a skill they learn it even better. Many of the students were able to see the fun side of my teaching, and I think that they respected me more because of it. I did not always have to be the disciplinary figure, but more of the teacher that I want to be. This coming lesson is the first time I have really designed a lesson based totally around game play and application of skill. Normally their are skills, then activities using those skills. This next lesson is all of the activity part. I am curious to see what my initial reaction of this will be, and if it will evolve as much as station work has for me now.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 21st, 2012

Today honestly did not start great, and I thought for the first time in my life that I would just give up and just leave. A lot of personal matters had happened the night before, and the last thing that I wanted to do was teach and deal with the stressors of thirty children misbehaving. I went to the gym earlier that morning like I normally do, I was barely able to lift because of my lack in focus. Then when I got ready for class my stomach felt as though it was doing back flips and it felt like I had a ton of breaks in my shoes and on my shoulders. I really did not want this today. I stood by the door to greet the students, and get attendance, and the first thing that happened was a student came in with the biggest smile on their face. They said "Hi Mr. Jones! I can't wait for class today!" That kind of made me feel better that a student really appreciated class, then it seemed like one after the other would walk in smiling and just so excited for me to be teaching them. Class went amazing, it had to be one of my best lessons I have taught. I was able to instruct, and at the same time put my personality in to my teaching. No one misbehaved, and everyone was so focused on the lesson. This happened throughout the day, and it really helped heal from what happened the night before. I find it kind of amazing how these kids can really make your day better no matter how bad it's been.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20th, 2012

I thought that today went quite well. It was the first day of lesson three as well as the first day of teacher assessments of the student’s ability in performing the spin and flick passes. Also new today I introduced the skill of punt and conversions. This I found would soon become the most favorite unit for the students, because they love to see how far they can kick the ball. Of course I focused on the technique of the skill, but I allowed a few good kicks for each student. Almost every student I had in my class received a four on the spin and flick pass during my assessment, with only a few getting threes, and no one getting below that (four being the highest). The attitude of the classes I found to be quite focused today. It is surprising to see how much the students increase their listening skills once they know they are going to be assessed. One student today I was quite proud of. At the beginning of the year I felt as though this would be my "problem student," but watching him in class, and during one of my daily lunch duties, I have noticed a change in his demeanor. He pays attention more to me, and I can tell he is trying his best to keep himself under control and on task. During the stations he took charge organizing his group and helping the students that needed it. I hope that this behavior is not a one time occurence, and it continues all year. Today was a great day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19th, 2012

So today we were able to finally go on out to the turf and perform the circuit stations that I had planned for the students in my rugby unit. So far the unit is going ok. I feel as though I want the students to know everything right away, but I have found that not every student is going to understand right away every aspect of a skill. This just allows me to have more one on one time at the stations in order to help these students. Other than a few students the majority of the students understand how the game works. This I find quite good, because I remember how confusing rugby was when I first played it back in high school. I found out yesterday that I am going to be coaching an entire match in volleyball as well. When I heard this at first I was somewhat hesitate, then as it all began to set in I started to become quite excited. I have found that watching the sport and actually participating with the athletes in some of the activities in practice whenever there is an odd number has really helped me to understand the game. I honestly wish I had participated in this sport because back in High School I feel as though I would have benefited from it greatly. Also I probably would have had a few less mTBI's. It is a great sport, and it always makes my day end on a positive note.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18th, 2012

So today was quite an interesting day. Due to the rain we had perform today's lessons within the gymnasium. This totally stopped the circuit training lessons I had planned for the day and caused me to think more outside of the box. I therefore split the gymnasium that was already cut in half to halves again. I used large groups to perform our new skills, the ruck and lineout. I was able though to make these more game like due to the increase in numbers that I now had within each group. This plan worked out well. I also was able to observe other teachers today during my off periods. I observed how they taught their lessons, and after tried to incorporate the techniques into my own. I sometimes think of how amazing their attention to detail is and their fluidity while teaching the activity is, and compare it to my own. The thought is not that great of one. I just have to realize that these are teachers that have been here since I was the age of the of the students we're teaching. Everyone says that I am doing a great job here and that my lessons are improving, but I want to more, I want to be better then great. My goal is to be fluent and concise with all my teaching by the end of my time here at Victor.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17th, 2012

Today was the second lesson of the rugby unit I am teaching. The first two classes I felt went quite rough. I started implementing circuit training for the students, having one station be a certain type of pass, or parts leading to a ruck, things of that nature. This type of activity is great because it can maximize the amount of time the students have interacting with each other as well as the activity. I though felt it to be so taxing! I love to teach, and to just be able to go around from station to station was not too stimulating for me. This made the first two periods quite rough for me. My host teacher said that can happen during circuit training so I should just loosen up and try to make it fun for myself. The last two periods I did this, and it was like teaching an entirely new lesson. I enjoyed the circuit training, and it seemed as though the students enjoyed it too. I am starting to feel really comfort ale with the students here. They are a great bunch of kids, and I can tell some are starting to respect me more. This is a great feeling. I have noticed those students who respect me have taken initiative with their classes, and have helped me maintain the class discipline. It is great to know that the students respect me enough to help me out with that.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 14th, 2012

Today I felt was much better for me as far as teaching goes. It was the final day of my rotation through all of the classes, and I tried to use all of the techniques I learned in my other classes to really try and make these last few classes the best. I came in this morning and my host teacher told me I would be watching him teach the second class of the day. During the first class I would teach my class, and he would be keeping track of my instruction time versus my activity time. He would also be keeping track of the amount of appraisal and reinforcement I would give the students. I would then do this same thing to him in the next lesson, then I would see the improvements I could make to my last lesson. The first lesson I taught that day I thought went amazing. I have this one student that is highly respected by his classmates, and it was amazing, because at the begging of the class I reminded the students of their personal and social responsibilities and he took charge helping me to maintain control of the class. Without him the class would have went well, but I do not think it would have went as well. During the activities I really motivated the students to push, and communicate as one functional group. Overall I felt the lesson went quite well. Watching my host teacher was amazing. He had such control of the students, and his transition time between each activity was clean and precise. He allowed the students to challenge themselves during the activities by giving them options, and he had the students analyze one another in an almost peer assessment type of situation. I did not feel so good about my lessons after this, he assured me though I was doing fine. In the last class I tried and use many of the techniques I observed from my host teacher. During the lesson I tried to challenge the students, and when I was showing them the skill I would have them tell me exactly what it was I was doing. I felt as though this made them pay attention more, and understand the skill better. Overall I felt as though this was one of my bests classes. Next Monday I start my second lesson, and I hope that is my best yet. "Keep Moving Forward!"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13th, 2012

Today was the second day of my lesson, and I feel as htough each class is better then the previous. I learned a lot from yesterday, and I feel as though my transitions between each activity have become much better, and more efficient. My first class today was probably the one in which I have the most out of focused students. I have been trying techniques like taking those students and using them during demostration, and trying to get right into the activity by shortening my instruction. Now this worked somewhat, but I had to take a lot of time out of the lesson for behavior management. This resultede in not being able to teach the entire lesson. At the end of class i brought the students that were not focusing in class and I asked them what grade they should recieve for themselves. At Victor the students are held for 20% of their grade being Personal and Socail Responsibility. The students in question were obviously not following this. The students were much more hard on themselves then I would have been, and I found this quite interesting. I explained to them the grading system and told them that we are now wiping the slate clean, and that they should act as role models to the other students, trying to give them a responsibility in the clas to try and steer them away from trouble. I am not sure if this will work, but I will keep trying to rmind them before class about their Personal and Socail Responsibilities. Other then that the classes today went quite well, and the students were quite cooperative.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12th, 2012

Today was the first day of my Teacher Work Sample. I am constructing my work sample around a rugby unit. I chose my first class, also my smallest class of the three day cycle to be my sample class. I performed a true pre-assessment on the spin pass, and flick pass, video taping the students initial attempts at the skill, and then later when I had free time I graded the students in accordance with a four point rubric system. I then gave the students a cognitive assessment in the form of a quiz, which is exactly like my post assessment, this way I can see if learning took place. Affective assessing was done in the form of a four point grading system dealing with question that had to do with teamwork, self confidence, confidence in others, and how much confidence they believe the other students have in them. This class went well, and after the main paperwork of my teacher work sample was complete I did the task I love the most, teach. With this class I was only able to get through about half of my lesson, but the students were quite attentive during the entire lesson, and I believe they enjoyed it. The next two classes I taught the beginning part of the class, and my host teacher came in and helped me teach the last two activities, which were line passing, and 5 to Glory which is a "keep away" type of game. This helped me better understand the activities, and gave me model to work my lessons upon. The last class was now my time to break out and perform an entire lesson on my own. The first part went quite smoothly, the teaching of the two types of passing, spin and flick. This class was my largest with thirty students, so the time I had to take with them was somewhat larger then the rest of the classes. We were able to perform the line pass activity with great success, and the students loved it. We unfortunately ran out of time for the 5 to Glory activity, but I will most likely use this as a type of instant activity for the students in the next lesson. Overall it was an amazing day, and I feel I am impacting the students for the better.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012

My first class today was quite positive. I truly thought today was going to be a rough day for me, because the exhaustion of all these long early days is starting to wear on me. Even though this may be the case the first class went quite well. This was a rambunctious class, but I found that if I was stern, but at the same time fair the students respected me. I normally try and talk loud and clear so that everyone can hear me, but instead today I decided to talk softly. This made the students really listen to exactly what it was I was telling them. It worked quite well. I used this technique throughout the day. I found that the students learned more from the video, and actually behaved better. Like I've said  before here at Victor classes are run on a three day cycle. My host teacher told me that every class you should reflect and improve upon the next lesson. I feel the same way about this, because that is the only way to be a successful teacher, by reflecting and improving. My last lesson for the day I thought was the best, and was in true form of this idea.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10th, 2012

Today I mostly taught the classes by myself with little interjection from my cooperating teacher. The classes thus far have not been too in depth. Due to the three day cycle we have here at Victor it takes quite a while to introduce the program, and perform beginning of the year tasks like handing out lockers. I have found that the once scared and hesitant seventh graders have now become quite comfortable with classes, and are starting to become more open. This is good for some, but not for others. I have had many "helpers" the past couple of classes that get to be near me for the duration of class. I am trying to be stern, but fair for the first couple of classes, especially with the seventh graders, because it will set the tone for the rest of the year. I am starting to become comfortable with the routine of being a teacher. I find it funny, because I know in many jobs I have had before I lose interest, and it becomes almost a task for me to go into work everyday. This feeling though has not hit me, and honestly this is probably the most effort and work I have ever put into something. I think being a teacher truly is my calling. I do not have superpowers, like I have wanted since I was a child, but being a teacher allows me to be a hero in someones eyes. That for me is the greatest gift in the world.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 7th, 2012

I am writing this daily journal today because yesterday was quite a long day for me. We had a home game against Spencerport in volleyball. I felt like watching the sport in a game setting helped me to understand the "ins and outs" of it all much better. Our Junior Varsity team did quite well, we had a few errors, but in all our communication was much improved eventually leading to our victory. The Varsity though did not do so well. The amount of errors that they performed was unacceptable. Many people were out of position and of course when that happens, plays tend to break down. I never knew how intense of a sport volleyball can be, and I actually have found that I enjoy coaching and being part of that sport tremendously. Teaching went quite well. We showed an overview of rugby and assigned to the students lockers for the year. Now videos are usually not the best way to teach, but in the way that we did it I feel it was quite effective. For the first class my host teacher went over the video with the students, pointing out scrums, rucks, and line outs. After a while the students would start to recognize these and point them out themselves. This helped me to get an idea of what I should say. Toward the end of the day I ran an entire class. My host teacher was right there with me, but he did not do anything, not because he refused, but because he did not have to. I did not realize this until after I had run the entire class beginning to end. It was quite an amazing feeling. I have no background in rugby, and when I was going through the video I found myself relating the different techniques back to other sports like soccer, football, and wrestling, sports I know about. The students actually caught on better this way as well because now they had a reference point to work from. During the video I tried to incorporate math problems that had to do with scoring, and the students caught on quite fast. Overall it was a long, but good day.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6th, 2012

During today's experience we essentially performed the same tasks that I have done for the past two days. The scheduling was quite similar to yesterdays', except for the fact that I taught an 8th grade class at the end of the day. I was able this time to teach/review the entire syllabus on my own, with no help from either cooperating teacher. I feel as though I am starting to become quite comfortable with the students, as well as the other teachers within the building. My oratorical ability is progressing quite well. I have found out that if I just slow down my speaking I am then able to properly convey to the students the message I want. My interactions with the students today during lunch duty I found were quite funny. Today was "pizza day," the "most" popular day for food according to the students. Seeing them interact with friends and teachers outside of the Physical Education environment I feel is going to help me better instruct the students when it comes time for teaching because I will know how to instruct them according to their needs, or relate a skill to something they would understand and be able to compare it in that manner. I have already found this so with some of the students I coach. They are completely different outside of the sport environment, and I thought it was an interesting observation. I was talking with a group of students today, asking them what they like to do for fun, like sports. One said that he plays football and baseball, me being a wrestling enthusiastic I asked if he wrestled. He replied, "No, it is not physical enough for me." I thought this to be funny, because in my opinion wrestling is the most physical sport that one can do. I told him that I wrestled in High School as well as College. When I said this his eyes lit up  and he said that, "I think I will try out for wrestling after football." This to me was great, I felt like a true role model to the students. It was a great day over all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5th, 2012

Today's lessons consisted primarily of the same material as yesterdays'. Victor's Physical Education cycle runs on a three day plan, in which the same lesson is taught three days in a row. This means at most I see the students twice within a week. Yesterday we went through the rubric of the class, and the expectations that we had for the students, and the expectations that they could have for us. Now I do not know the policies of the Victor School Districts too in depth, so for the first day my host teacher and the other cooperating teachers mostly went through the course syllabus with the students. While they were doing this I listened and became quite accustomed to the policies. This morning I came into the school with a great mood. I was able to exercise before school, and my mind was focused. My host teacher saw this and asked if I would like to bring the class through the syllabus. I eagerly accepted the offer. I thought this was a great honor, because usually the first interactions with the students sets the tone for the entire year, so this must of meant my host teacher had some sort of faith in my instructional ability. At first I was a little shaky with my instruction, but later it began to all come together. Their was one part when I noticed I was instructing the student straight from thought, not reading from the syllabus, and I was talking with such authority that every eye within the gymnasium was fixated upon me. The feeling was indescribable, for when I realized this I was almost taken back by it, startled even. It was only for a split second that this feeling overcame me, but with it came a sense of accomplishment, because these students respected me enough, and felt confident in my instruction that they held onto every word that I spoke. It is most definitely a tool within my teaching I wish to expand upon and bring to all my lessons.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 4th, 2012: First Day of Student Teaching

Today I felt was quite interesting in the respect that it gave me an inside look at the other side of teaching. Being a Physical Educator entails many roles. During the first day we were responsible for making sure the students fully understood the responsibility that they now had being in the Middle School. We went over with the the "Code of Conduct" for the entire school, as well as the course syllabus. The course syllabus for P.E. within the Victor School District is quite in depth, and holds the students responsible for showing each of the domains of learning(psychomotor, cognitive, and affective). What I found interesting was the grading style that is used by Victor. They start the students off with a zero in the class, this is unlike many areas which start their students with a one-hundred. At first I was not sure what to think of this type of grading, feeling it was almost a "glass half empty" approach to teaching. Soon after though it dawned on me how ingenious this method was. By the students starting with nothing it causes them to work for there grade, instead of just meandering around holding on to that initial grade of a one-hundred. I found this quite interesting and will most likely adopt this type of grading in some form. Another highlight of my day was done during my coaching placement. I have been helping my host teacher with Junior Varsity Volleyball. Volleyball I would say is my least familiar sport, but my host teacher has been quite good to me, giving me the chance to learn the sport form him, and how it should be properly taught. He is a great teacher, and is quite knowledgeable of the game. This afternoon he looked at me and gave me the practice lesson plan for the day and told me to run the opening of practice. I was quite nervous at first, but I accepted. I taught the first half of practice, and it was quite an uplifting experience. One student who is a first year volleyball athlete has been having a hard time serving the ball. He hits the ball quite timidly and his timing is somewhat off. I went over to him during one of the drills and I adjusted just a few things in a way that makes sense to me, "no volleyball lingo," and the first swing he hit the ball with perfect form. He looked at me with an astonished look, and said "Wow that's easy!" It made my day knowing I helped a student for the better, and I am looking forward to more experiences like this one.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Part 3. Corporate Sponsorship

Taken From
Within the previous post the role of corporate sponsorship among schools was discussed. Corporations give much needed money to schools for just the simple act of advertising a product. Now this to many schools is a fantastic opportunity because of the lack in funds that they receive annually. Also as stated before this uneven distribution of funds to the schools in a state is due to the flawed system of government that the United States has instilled when it comes to providing sponsorship of public schools.
To run a school takes quite a bit of money. Having a corporate sponsorship can mean the difference of having a program, or having to cut it. Now this type of corporate influence can be either small, or large. This can range from simple logos inserted in text books, or on school material to large billboards on a sporting field. Now this to me sounds great, because schools are able to get money that they normally would not have been able to otherwise. The one issue that I do have is when these sponsorship's start to influence the type of curriculum that the children are receiving. I have read that some major oil corporations that sponsor schools have in fact insisted on their product being involved in the education of the students. When students learn about nature, they are taught that one way they can appreciate it is by driving their jeep full of that certain gas out to state parks. This to me is influencing a young mind in to believing that one product is the best, and only that can be used. Also I have learned that some corporations have even used the textbooks that they provide in an effort to rebuild their reputation. Exxon did this after the Valdez oil spill. They depicted the Alaskan wildlife to be flourishing, and vibrant right after the spill in their provided textbooks. This made the reader believe that their were no long term effects to the ecosystem. In reality though this was just a way for the company to save themselves.
I also feel that even though the extra money can be beneficial to schools the negative influence upon the children can outweigh any positives. As a future Physical Education teacher it is my job to provide students with the knowledge of how to live a healthy life. The promoting of candy and soda I feel goes against this. California caught on to the idea and band corporate sponsorship within any textbooks. Later the Better Nutrition for School Children Act disallowed soda companies from providing free soft drinks in school.
If corporation do want to help out schools then they should do so in a voluntary manner. This I feel is the only way that political, or business based influence can be avoided. Their are no down sides to this, because it is a charitable donation given by the companies. The only problem is they do not receive advertisement., This type of situation I feel has to be looked at carefully before it is agreed upon. The allure of money should not outweigh the potential negatives.
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Part 3. "Follow the Money"

Taken From
Does money seem to talk? The answer most would say is yes. To have money within our society seems to bring a type of stigma along with it that others look up to. For some reason money goes hand in hand with social status, and if you are rich you must go to a prestigious school. Why though is ones personal economic status linked with a public schools economic status, or the fact that it may be any different form a school in the mid-west?
The answer to that question is the way in which schools are funded within the United States. Most schools receive funds based upon the property tax associated with the district it resides in. This is because of the type of government that we have. It is run across three levels; the local, state, and federal governments. The two major entities responsible for the providing the school system with any type of funding are the local and state governments. The federal government is only responsible for under ten percent of all money given to a school. Now the system of getting money for schools dates back to the colonial era, and is quite out dated in today's modern society. The unequal division of money to students, with some getting almost twice that of students in other districts caught the attention of many people. Some court cases were even brought about trying to divide money across districts. This though soon failed because tax payers were afraid of increased taxes. This though is not the only way in which schools are funded. The state government makes their money in a multitude of ways. Mostly through taxes on certain goods, like regular sales items, and excise taxes on tobacco, gasoline, and liquor.
The reason the federal government is not fully responsible for school funds is because education was ruled not a "fundamental right" and is in turn left up to the states to run. The federal government has though found a way in which they can be influential. This is through categorical and block grants grants. Categorical grants were issued to specialized programs within schools, and block grants were just large sums of money given to states with which they could spend as they saw fit. DOE grants, or PEP grants are issued to schools by the states department of education in this sort of manner if the school is qualified. This qualification is if the school falls below a certain test percentage over a course of a few years. This type of funding I have seen first hand helps to drastically change the demeanor of a school for the positive. Now an issue arises when this type of funding is unavailable; where to find money? Some schools turn to corporate sponsors, like large pop, or candy companies. This brings the money that is needed, but it has been found to hinder students development. The messages that are being sent to students goes against any type of nutritional idea that is being taught, and it also influences how students purchase their food items. It causes them to not be careful consumers.
Money will always be an issue within schooling if this type of decentralized funding is allowed to stay in place. Sometimes I feel as though we as a nation should not be so head strong and look to others as role models, or at least for some type of influence. I know many would disagree to this, but I feel as though it would indeed be to some benefit in the long run.

Part 2. Common Core

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The Common Core movement is a collection of standards that have been brought about by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. It has been approved for New York State in early 2011 by the New York State Deportment of Education. Now this grouping of standards was brought about to better suit the needs of teachers, and parents. The subjects that are effected by this movement are Mathematics and English.
The low grades seen by standardized testing within these areas has shown that teaching of math and English to students has become ineffective. The mentality of the United States "do more, learn more" has actually been the total opposite of what is shown to be effective. Doing less and focusing on fewer subjects with more depth has actually been shown to more effective as represented by other countries. What the Common Core standards focus on is improving the general knowledge that students can attain in these subjects. In math the goal is to teach processes, and not just have students memorize equations. This will lead to more real world application of math. Within English something that I find interesting is that one of the goals is to increase their knowledge of other subjects like science and history through literature. What was found is that students leave school with a centralized point of view, and do not have much knowledge of outside subjects. This is a problem I have witnessed first hand. The way in which this similar to "No Child Left Behind" is that the best interest of the student is in mind. The need for the student to be able to learn in a more efficient and meaningful manner is essential to both of these programs. The difference though is that with "NCLB" only the final outcome is being measured, and there are not too many programs set in place to make sure students are learning in a meaningful manner. Now this assessment of the final outcome of teaching can be associated with the APPR.
The Annual Professional Performance Review is a new program that is being put in place to evaluate teachers and principals within the school district. This has been put in place by the New York State Department of Education in an effort to hold teachers accountable for their teaching. Now this idea to me is good, but I am not sure if this plan was thought out with respect to teaching. The teacher is being assessed by standard test scores of their students.This though does not account for students with different abilities within inclusive classes. Their test scores are averaged with everyone else. Improvement may have been made with these students that is quite significantly, but the final grade on the test may not be representative of it. This is one flaw with the program. Also in no part of the program are the guidelines for Physical Education outlined. All classroom teachers and principles are required to participate in these program, but where does P.E. fit? No answers have been given for this. I feel as though a teacher has been truly effective when the knowledge they have taught can be applied within the real world. This is something that you cannot really measure, unless the test given consist of actual real world questions. To evaluate learning is extremely difficult. Learning is a concept, and it is hard to assess a concept. Maybe an assessment of the teachers ability, and not the students ability would be a better way of evaluation. Students cannot learn unless they have an effective teacher.
This is a subject I am sure will appear more often, especially now that I am venturing into the Physical Education career.
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Part 2. Diversity

State University of New York at Cortland
State University of New York at Cortland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When most people think of diversity they think of people that are of a different race. To me though, diversity is larger than just the color of ones skin. Diversity can be how a person thinks, or their moral/religious beliefs. It can be their occupation, or just how they hold themselves in the world. I feel as though everyone is different, and that is what makes humanity unique, and ever evolving. Without diversity the world would stay static, and everything within it would always be the same. Diversity I feel is key to life! Due to this statement it puzzles me as to why diversity within the world is such a looked upon subject, because everyone is diverse in their own unique way.
During my time as an undergraduate at SUNY Cortland and Monroe Community College I have worked in many teaching roles. I have taught students in a ll grades, kindergarten through high school, as well as many adapted Physical Education classes. My experience with diverse students has been fairly broad. These experience have been quite varied. I have worked with students from different cultures, who speak no English, students of different socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as students with different mental and physical abilities. I remember this experience I had during my Freshman year of college with an ESL student who was at the elementary level. I believe that he had recently moved to the United States from China, and knew very little English. The unit was Volleyball, and at this time in my career I was not quite into the teaching role, and was just helping/observing my host teacher. I remember the child looking at me with an almost teary eyed gaze holding the volleyball. He did not know what to do, because he could not understand the instructions. I went over to him and I demonstrated physically how to serve the volleyball. Without language or anything of that manner I taught that child how to correctly serve a volleyball with fantastic form. Some time later talking with my host teacher he said to me "language is not important in P.E. because everyone is equal in Physical Education." Now I know many may argue with this statement, because the role communication in team work, but if you think about it, if you are a good enough teacher you should be able to teach to all students no matter their ability. Another experience I had within my career was with a student who had suffered several strokes at birth. This lead to them not being able to use the right side of their upper body. Now this child was quite young, only six years of age, but I would notice her almost hiding her arm form the view of the other students as if she was afraid to show them. She was quite uneasy during my lessons, and did not want to participate too much. I wanted her to be more part of the group, so I devised a way of literally making her and the other students a part of my lesson. I used story books in which they would actually live out the story as part of a lesson, and in order to make the book go further the students would have to complete a task each time. This made her quite happy, and throughout the semester I noticed her ability to me more open with not only me, but the other students drastically increase. This in a way tied into my ability to bring in other subjects like reading, and even science. The students would act out these story scenes, and learn interesting facts from them. This to me is a crucial way of tying Physical Education to other subjects, and having the students learn in different modalities. I feel that the more ways in which a student can learn a subject, the more of a chance their is of them learning the subject indefinitely.
Technology, like that of exergames have been hit with the diversity issue when it comes to how one perceives themselves in the virtual world. What has been found in games like "Just Dance," and DDR, many people feel uncomfortable performing moves that are gender based. This meaning moves that are too feminine, or too masculine. What they did in order to combat this was allow the user to look over the moves before it is played, thus allowing them to make the just of whether or not that song is for them. Personally I feel as though the though of not knowing what comes next make the experience more exciting, and fun to play. 
Diversity is everywhere! As a teacher I will see more people than most in a different profession. I will have an impact on more people as well. It is my job to teach in the most effective way possible, to reach as many people as I can!
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Secret of the Ooze!

Today during class we had an interesting discussion. This discussion had to do with the school lunch program. Eventually though it evolved into something much more.
The question turned into what exactly goes into the food that the students of this nation are eating. The truth I discovered was quite horrifying. So as many people know the production of ground beef and chicken products can be somewhat unsettling. This is because many of the pieces of product "meat" that go into these are usually the left over pieces. These are just small pieces of meat that are too small by themselves for any type of meaningful consumption. What happens though to the unusable parts of the animal; the eyes, hair, tendons, bowls...the answer I received will forever change my outlook on processed meat.
I learned that these "unusable parts" of the animal, are actually being used within food products with a concentration of up to 15%, and are completely backed by the USDA. Also companies that use this product are not required to label it upon their food. So you may be thinking that is not to big of a deal, but the process that is performed to cleans this meat before it is allowed to be blended in other ground meat is! The process has given this product the name "pink slime," and is I feel completely unethical. The unusable meat contains many bacteria, and undesirables, like bone and tendons. For this reason the product is put into a centrifuge to separate the bones from the meat. Ones this is performed ammonia is added to the product as disinfecting supplement. Ammonia! After it is ground into a pink paste that is labeled as "fit for human consumption!"
This to me almost a violation of our rights. Not only are we being slowly poisoned by this product, but we aren't even warned if this product is within our food, and it is perfectly legal! People need to be aware of this product, and the effect that it can have on our overall health.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Moving Forward!

Cover of "A Smile as Big as the Moon: A T...
Cover via Amazon
So, today was the "big day" for me as some would say. It was the time for me to display all the knowledge I have learned throughout my years within the Physical Education program in the form of an interview. I was quite nervous, as is natural within these high stress situations. Something though turned in my mind as the feeling of nervousness came about me. 
I began the day going over my answers to the questions that had been given to me previously that week. These questions dealt with certain situations that would arise within the Physical Education setting. So as time drew nearer to when the interview would be occurring I began to talk with the other individuals within my group about questions on the interview, and joke about certain questions. This for me was a way to lighten the mood revolving around the high stress interview. But as time drew nearer I began to distance myself from the other members of the group. I felt myself going into almost that primal mode of thinking that I once would venture to the moments before a big wrestling match. My mind was focusing on the task at hand with such intensity I blocked out the others around me. I had mental images of Mike Kersjes, the Physical Educator in a recent book I had read "A Smile As Big As The Moon." The situations that he ran into, about having to pitch his ideas to governors and head people within NASA. All the focus and confidence that he had in that book came revolving around me. My mind was sound and focused. None of the stress mattered to me anymore. 
I went into the interview with shire determination, and in all the interview went quite well. I found something out about myself today that I did not know existed. In all this experience was one that I think I have learned from for the positive, and will be with me forever. 
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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Right's Stuff

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Over the years teachers have been held under a closer watch then most people within society. Many have been persecuted for ideas and thoughts in a more severe manner then a person of any other job would be. These persecutions go against many of the rights brought down by the constitution. This violation of civil liberties though was usually overlooked, and the teacher suffered greatly.
Now I believe that the principles this country was founded upon are set in stone and that no one should try to violate, or change them. So when the rights of a person are put into judgement I am greatly concerned. What though are the rights that a teacher is entitled to? Well a teacher has the same rights as everyone else. The freedom of speech, separation of church and state, academic freedom and teaching evolution, and the protection against sexual harassment are prevalent within the teaching world. Now though the teacher must keep in mind that everyone else around them has these same rights, especially  the students. A fine line needs to walked in order to reserve your own rights, and the rights of others around you. So it is the teachers obligation to protect the rights of the students they are teaching. This is mostly seen when a student is suspected of being abused in some manner at their home. The child does not want to confess to the situation, but at the same time you do not want to over step your bonds and accuse the parent. If an accusation is falsely given you believe that it can have long lasting and damaging effects. This though is a misconception, because if a teacher does not report any suspicion of abuse, the can actually lose their teaching license. So this is a situation where it is mandatory that as a teacher you report any suspicions you have.
The rights of teachers and students is a somewhat controversial subject. Each year it seems as though a court case makes itself known arguing these very ideas. It is an ever evolving subject, and is based mostly upon differing opinions.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

John Dewey

John Dewey at the University of Chicago in 1902.
John Dewey at the University of Chicago in 1902. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
John Dewey greatly influenced the education of the nation during the twentieth century. He founded a new way of teaching that put at its center the student. This way of teaching/thinking was named "Progressive Education." This new idea was said to have been the best, as well as the worse event to occur within education.
Dewey felt as though education was based upon social and interactive processes. That school should act as a grounds for social reform and a place where interaction with events related to the subject being taught should be allowed. Dewey felt as though knowledge should not only be taught in regards to facts, but the knowledge of how to live and interact within society should be taught as well. Also another principle that Dewey thought of in regards to education that I found quite interesting, was that he believed in order for material to be learned in the best manner possible that it needs to related to prior experiences. This allows for the material to have meaning for the students, and increases their likelihood of  remembering that material later on.
The progressive education that came form this included many components. It allowed for the broadening of the school curriculum to include health, community life, and vocational programs. Also this new way of teaching implemented newly found psychological based approached to educating individuals, as well as a democratic approach to teaching. This new democratic approach was the reason that many people disliked progressive teaching. This way of thinking caused individuals to question their teachers, and doubt ideas taught in the classroom. Even though many people were against it for this very reason, individuals who were taught in this manner were more apt to succeed when compared to traditionally taught students.
I agree with many of the principles that John Dewey instilled within his teaching philosophy. I hope to someday use many of these ideas within my classroom. This will allow for what is taught to meaningful to the students, and hopefully influence them for their entire life. 
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