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

Taken From
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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Friday, April 20, 2012


So in today's class we were given the opportunity of participating in "mock interviews." These interviews imitated ones that we would receive during a real life situation. The questions that were asked were based on Physical Education theory, as well as our philosophy on Physical Education.
The days preceding this interview I was quite nervous. I always tend to become nervous whenever I am being questioned, I do not know why, but it happens. Last night though I was thinking to myself, "why be nervous?" Physical Education is something that I love doing, and I have been immersed within it for a large portion of my life. Their was no need to be nervous anymore, so that realization greatly helped me. I dressed up as you would normally dress for a real interview, and off I went, with this newly found confidence. The overall interview was not as intense as I thought it would be. I was only asked two questions. The first dealing with behavioral management, and the second with motivating a student that did not want to participate. These were basic questions, and I feel as though my answers were up to par. I had the basic understanding of what I wanted to say. The smaller details though was were I was lacking. I knew what I truly wanted to say in regards to the behavioral management, but I did not want to sound rude. My interviewer told me after to be honest, and she thought my honest answer was actually much better than the one I constructed. This told me to have more confidence in my thoughts, and to not be afraid of judgement.
This confident way of thinking is one that I will take with me for my "exit interview" that is occurring on Tuesday of next week. This has to do with my time here at Cortland, and my Professional Portfolio that I constructed. I know things will work out. I just need to "Keep Moving Forward!"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Quest to the Core

For some time now I have been reflecting upon the system of education, and wondering to myself, "Is this truly visible?" The standards for learning are written down to promote education, and the ability for students to ascertain this information in the best way possible. Sadly though what I have noticed is that this thought process has been either totally blown out of proportion, or only half followed. This is especially so in the realm of English-language arts and mathematics. Our countries lack in ability within these areas have caused many districts to focus all of their attention upon these subjects, and abandon others, especially Physical Education! The problem though is not the lack in attention, but the way in which these subjects are presented to the students. Now this thought came to my head quite recently after observing different schools, and the way in which students are taught. The saddening part though is that this very same problem was addressed to the nation over a year ago. So it seems as though some areas still have yet to fully understand these implications. 
The "Common Core" was developed to try and put an end to the "Do more, Learn More" mentality, and instead focus on "Do Less, Learn More." This means, do not overwhelm the students with subject matter, but instead simplify the curriculum and focus more upon each unit of that curriculum. In math many students are made to memorize numbers, and answers to problems. How does memorization lead to application during a real world problem? The answer is it does not. What students must know is the simple process of the subject at hand. If students know the process that is performed in order to obtain an answer they can solve any problem, even if they have never seen those numbers in their entire life. This is a simple idea that is easily overlooked.
Within the area of English the Common Core is trying to focus on information that not only enhances the students ability to succeed in college, but also the enhancement of other subject areas like social studies, and science. They are making it mandatory that fifty percent of text read in the K-5 curriculum should be information based. This I find to be so beneficial, because it allows for the alignment of the curriculum within the whole school.
The Common Core standards I feel will cause a great change with the way in which students are taught for the positive. I hope soon that this way of teaching will be shown to all, and implemented in the correct manner.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Secondary School Movement

St Mark's Boys' Secondary School (converted) T...
St Mark's Boys' Secondary School (converted) This secondary school was opened in 1897, and was closed after World War II when the Lakenham Secondary Modern schools were built. The building is now used for Youth Service offices, School Meals service, and school transport. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Public schooling was on its way to full development across all grades during the beginning of the nineteenth century. A great success in the public school movement of elementary schools was established by this time, as well as state supported universities. The issue was the gap in education between the two. This called for an increase in the accessibility to free and appropriated public secondary schools.
The first public secondary school was established in 1821, and it was called the English Classical School. This later became the Boy's High School, because it was an all boys school, but soon after similar schools arose for girls. By the end of the Civil War six thousand of these schools had spouted within the nation. The focus of these schools was either based upon general curriculum, or college preparation. Now many people were not in favor of these schools due to the fact taxes were raised in order to fund them. The Kalamazoo Michigan case though was one of many court cases that put an end to this idea, stating tax money could be used to fund schools. Also as the country moved from rural to urban, and agrarian to industrial a need for a higher education was increasing. This increased the popularity of secondary schools as well.
From this ides for furthering education secondary schools became a way of life, later sprouting the idea of Junior High Schools for individuals not quite ready to make the leap from elementary to High School. This is the basic evolution of secondary schools with the United States.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Exit Interview Possibilities

Q: The major problems facing education today is?
A: Well I would say that the overall problem that is affecting education today would be the current crisis brought on by low standardized tests scores. The main response from what I have noticed is to put more emphasis towards Math and English. This causes other subjects, including Physical Education to feel the after effects in a negative manner. I fell as though this lack in emphasis toward other subject areas other is no the answer. According to my philosophies I feel when other classroom subjects (Math, and English) are brought in to Physical Education it allows for that other information to be presented to students in a different modality. These reinforces what they are already taught, and allows for them to retain the information better.

Q: How would you facilitate collaboration between school and home?
A: This first week of classes when the school would have open house I would insist on meeting all of the parents of my students. During this time I would tell them about the Physical Education website that I have developed where everything a parent would want to know about the class would be held. I would constantly promote parental involvement in the many extra-curricular activities we would performing. I am a strong believer in community involvement within the schooling system.

Q: What would you do to improve students achievement?
A: Well first I would perform an authentic assessment to obtain a base measurement of my students within the three domains (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor). Using this baseline I would construct units developed to enhance the areas of concern. I would use teaching by invitation, and intratask variation so that all levels of achievement could benefit and progress throughout the unit.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Answer, or the Problem?

Seal of New York.
Seal of New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This year New York State has implemented a new Annual Professional Performance Review. This does not eliminate the original standing APPR brought about in 100.2 of the Commissioner's regulations, but instead builds upon it.
This new APPR is based upon the fact that standardized test scores are not at their best, and in order to fix this problem the state wants change. They have decided to do this by making it mandatory for all classroom teachers, and school principals to be reviewed on their teaching methods/effectiveness. From what I have researched, this program was designed, and initiated quite quickly resulting in frustration from many professionals within the education/teaching community. This is because there are many unanswered question pertaining to this evaluation, and the impact it can have on a school district. 
Within the first few minutes of my research I have found a few un-discussed areas of this performance evaluation that I find quite alarming. This APPR is set in place to evaluate "classroom teachers, and principals." Individuals who are exempt from this evaluation are school attendance teacher, school counselor, school dental hygiene teacher, school nurse-teacher, school psychologist, and school social workers. So this makes me ask the question, "where does the school Physical Education Teacher fit into this new APPR? Their is nothing that I have read pertaining to this area thus far. Also what about teachers who teach inclusive classes? If they are evaluated on their overall ability to increase academic performance within a certain time period for an inclusive class they will most likely be considered ineffective. Inclusive students learn at a different pace, and different methods need to be taken in order to develop change in academic performance. A different standard needs to be put in place for this scenario in the evaluation of teachers.
These are just a few of the problems I have found while quickly learning about this new APPR. I am for teachers being held accountable for their actions, and am a strong believer in always developing your teaching methods to be a more effective teacher. I think though that this program was implemented too quickly, and many crucial areas of student development and learning were overlooked. 
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Completed Rough Draft

The Impact of Concussions

        Each year it seems as though a new topic unveils itself within the area of health. This is especially so when the topic of health is interconnected with that of sports. Usually these ideas have to do with ways in which athletes can gain an edge on their competitor, or how new equipment has been designed to protect an athlete. The one topic that is usually under discussed is what happens when these programs and equipment fail, and the real impact that this can have on an individual’s life. As to why this information is “swept” away is unknown, but these thoughts and ideas need to be discussed in order to save the well being of individuals in the future. This particular area of injury within an athlete is probably the most overlooked, and under exaggerated injury that can occur. It effects close to 500,000 children up to the age of 14 each year, with 85 percent of them occurring within the realm of sport

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Paper: Beginning of Second Impact Syndrome

What happens though when an individual acquires multiple MTBI before the post concussive symptoms of the first MTBI have enough time to dissipate? This is called “second impact syndrome,” and as stated previously within this paper the severe consequence of death makes this occurrence quite a concern within the realm of sport.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rough Draft: Cumulative MTBI

So the severity of a MTBI has been discussed in great detail thus far in the aspect that it can alter a person’s life for the negative. The physiological effects, as well as the determining criteria have also been explained, but what are these effects that have been alluded to throughout this paper? Well a MTBI can have a profound effect on an individual’s cognitive functioning for up to thirty days. This though is just for an individual who has no previous history of MTBI. Those individuals that have in fact suffered the effects of multiple MTBI spread throughout a lifetime have a greater chance of complications.

Conclusion of the Initial Assessment

When first making their way onto the field the individual performing the assessment should first make note of any life threatening injuries. The primary concern with any injury involving the head, especially a contact sport injury is whether or not the neck and spine have been damaged. Once this is determined that responder must then determine if immediate medical transportation is needed. If a MTBI is suspected a series of steps must be had.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Final Paper Continued

.....Along with this type of assessment before return-to-play could be had the “Prague Concussion in Sport Group” outlined six levels that should also be followed before return-to-play can be followed. This procedure only progressed if only at each level the athlete remained asymptomatic, or free of any MTBI symptoms. The first level is the most basic, involving absolutely activity and complete rest. The second if level entails light aerobic exercise such as simple walking or the use of a stationary bike. No resistance training shal be performed though at this time due to the increased risk of heightened blood pressure, which as previously stated can be attributed to MTBI symptoms.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rough Draft Continued!

            In 2001 a meeting was held to discuss the matter of mild traumatic brain injury, and as to how this occurrence could be dealt with. The "Vienna Consensus Group of Sports Professionals" was assembled in which they would discuss the revision of as to what constitutes a MTBI. Also during this time the stringent guidelines regarding the return-to-play procedure was developed.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rough Draft: Return-to-Play

So in what way is mTBI most commonly acquired? Well as stated before around 85% of individuals that sustain a mTBI and have been treated for it within an Emergency Room Setting have not acquired it through through an assault, or motor vehicle accident. This primarily leaves sport and recreational activities to be the primary cause for mTBI. It is estimated that between the ages of five and seventeen that over 30 million children participate in some type of organized sport. The chances for an individual witnessing a mTBI first hand is quite great. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rough Draft: What is a mTBI?

Skull and brain normal human diagram
Skull and brain normal human diagram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The theories of what causes mTBI vary, but through research it has been found that there is indeed some consensus as to the origins of mTBI. During the accident that results in the event the brain is thrashed about that skull. The initial site of the impact is known as the “coup,” but what many fail to realize is that this impact is absorbed by the skull, passes through the brain, and then causes the brain to hit against the backside of the skull. This is called the “counter-coupe,” so the brain in fact can receive two injuries from one impact.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rough Introduction of Final

Each year it seems as though a new topic unveils itself within the area of health. This is especially so when the topic of health is interconnected with that of sports. Usually these ideas have to do with ways in which athletes can gain an edge on their competitor, or how new equipment has been designed to protect an athlete. The one topic that is usually under discussed is what happens when these programs and equipment fail, and the real impact that this can have on an individual’s life. As to why this information is “swept” away is unknown, but these thoughts and ideas need to be discussed in order to save the well being of individuals in the future. This particular area of injury within an athlete is probably the most overlooked, and under exaggerated injury that can occur. It effects close to 500,000 children up to the age of 14 each year, with 85 percent of them occurring within the realm of sport.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Speaking Through the Fog

A rotating animation of the human brain showin...
A rotating animation of the human brain showing the left frontal lobe in red within a semitransparent skull. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is sometimes also included in the frontal lobe. Other authors include the ACC as a part of limbic lobe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Another aspect of my life that I have noticed a change in is my ability to articulate words in a meaningful manner when I try to speak. If I have ample time, or the ability to write down my thoughts I can organize them better, and I can actually convey the meaning of my thoughts in a coherent manner. The problem is though when I speak plainly, or am asked a question I sometimes have trouble finding the exact words I am looking for. I was never the most verbal individual, but I have found the ability to speak has been greatly effected since the accident. The months directly after the concussion when my symptoms were at their peak was when I noticed the prevalence of this effect. Some instances I would sit there struggling with what word I wanted to say, or the sentences I spoke would be long and drawn out because I was thinking about the words as I spoke. So I recently asked myself this question. Could this be due to the multiple mtbi's I have experienced? My quest for the answer gave me some un-easing answers.
The first article that I looked into was the effects of mild traumatic brain injury on the verbal portion of the adult mind. The conclusion that this article came to was that mtbi has a large effect on linguistic functioning, especially that associated with complex linguistic operations. The main reason that this effect was contributed  to was a dysfunction that occurs in the frontal lobe area of the brain, as well as some other minor areas associated with speech. The next article that I read dealt with this very subject, but the effects that it can have on children. Now their conclusion was primarily the same. The general linguistic skills were not effected in children, they attributed this to a child's ability to recovery from mtbi more rapidly than that of an adult. What they did find though was that as the child develops and comes into that more complex way of speaking in a delayed manner. The mtbi that they sustain effects their complex linguistic functioning in a negative manner.
So I have my answer, and I can say that some of my speaking problems may in fact be rooted in the multiple mtbi I have sustained, but their is no true way of determining this. I have almost fully recovered though, it just takes time. If their is anyone out their reading this with similar problems, it just takes time to heal. Their is hope, you just have to keep moving forward!
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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Concussions and Dementia

Taken From
So this topic has been one that has haunted me in the past months. I have always heard from individuals that living a life where you sustain multiple concussion(mtbi) can result in the development of dementia in your later years. Now I have seen the impact that dementia can have on individuals. I in fact have people within my family with dementia, so I know genetically I am predisposed to this disease. I finally though wanted to research whether or not the concussions I have sustained have in fact put me at a larger risk for dementia than I already am.
I was only able to find a few articles related to this subject. I am sure their are more out there, I just need to broaden my search. This one though gave me the answer quite abruptly, and had significant research to back up their conclusion. What the article stated was that yes, I am indeed more susceptible to the effects of dementia after suffering repeated mild traumatic brain injuries over the course of my life. They said that for the reasoning that dementia is more prevalent in mtbi patients is due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy(CTE), or swelling of the brain. Now the part of this study that ergs me the most is that a comparison was made between individuals that suffered mtbi in sports, as well as elsewhere like an accident. What they found was that receiving an mtbi during either avenue resulted in an increased likelihood of dementia, but he individuals that received them during sporting events had an increased risk of complications. These complications were quite severe, decreased motor control and seizures were among these effects.
So I now have my answer to whether or not dementia may be in my future. It is a scary fact, but unfortunately it is a part of life. This is why I feel as though I need to play a role in making this knowledge more available, to try an prevent others from making the same mistakes that I have.