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.