Sunday, March 1, 2009

St. Mary's Lab 2


Observe the interaction between St. Mary’s students and Cortland students.

1. Observe the St. Mary’s student(s) as they participate in the activities. Describe the variability of the movement patterns you observed in your students. Be sure to note with whom you worked, what grade they were in, and any differences in age, gender, or ability.
During lab at St. Mary’s, we specifically observed Casey, a 5-year old, female kindergartener and Shamus, a 6-year-old, male kindergartner. My observations of Casey and Shamus’ running, galloping, and hopping are documented in the chart on the following page. While running, I noticed that Shamus exhibited all of the performance criteria, but Casey ran a little flat-footed. While galloping, Casey exhibited all of the performance criteria while Shamus did not bend his arms and lift them to waist level (Note: they were not instructed to lead with both feet so I’m not sure if they had the ability to do this). While hopping, Casey exhibited all of the performance criteria while Shamus’ nonsupport leg did not swing in pendulum fashion to produce force. In summary, Casey was slightly better in performing the gallop and hop, while Shamus was slightly better in performing the run.
Aside from working with the kindergarteners, we also had the opportunity to work with and observe the 1st graders for a period of time. I did not notice any difference in movement pattern variability based on gender. Both the boys and girls seemed to run, gallop, and hop similarly. However, I did notice a difference between children of different ages. In general, the 1st graders exhibited better control and overall performance in the locomotor skills of running, galloping, and hopping. For kids who struggled with running, I noticed that their biggest deficiency was not placing their feet near or on a line. Instead, they appeared to be running flat-footed. For kids who struggled galloping, I noticed that their biggest deficiency was not bending their arms and lifting them to waist level. Instead, their arms kind of looked like they were flailing in front of them or out to their sides. For kids who struggled hopping, I noticed that their biggest deficiency was swinging their nonsupport leg in pendulum fashion to produce force. Instead, their nonsupport leg remained rather stationary and thus, they didn’t hop with as much power. Another observation that I made was that many of the children sacrificed quality for speed. Instead of performing the locomotor skills to the best of their ability, they just tried to move as fast as possible. This was especially evident during a tag game we played with the 1st graders. To avoid being tagged, many of the children started running when they were supposed to be galloping or hopping because they realized that they could move faster by running.

2. Describe the effective “teaching strategies” that you observed. What were they and on whom did you use them? How were they used? What was the effect? Were there any strategies that were more effective than others? If so, why?
One effective teaching strategy I observed during lab was bending down while interacting with the kindergarteners and 1st graders so that you are at the same eye level as them. This was much more effective that standing at normal height while talking to them. When you bend down, you are putting forth more effort and the kids feel that they can relate with you better. It just seems to make teaching more personal. A second effective teaching strategy I observed was smiling and teaching with enthusiasm. I think that smiling is contagious. When someone smiles at you, it’s hard not to smile back. When you smile, the kids see that you are friendly and are there to have fun. In addition, when you teach and play with enthusiasm, they can physically see that you are enjoying yourself and as a result, they become more enthusiastic as well. If your body language says that you are taking part in a fun activity, then they will perceive the activity to be fun and it will make everyone’s time more enjoyable. A third effective teaching strategy that I observed was compromise. After one group was finished playing Chinese Temple Tag with 1st graders, they were trying to decide on another game to play. About half of the kids wanted to play one game and the other half wanted to play another. To ensure that all of the kids would participate, the group was able to get the kids to agree to play one game for a while and then switch to the other game.

Additional Observations:
I noticed a huge behavioral difference between the kindergarteners and 1st graders. It was almost painful trying to get the kindergarteners to pay attention and follow directions. During our activity, many of the kindergarteners were going under or jumping on top of the parachute when they weren’t supposed to. When one of us tried to reason with them, they just continued to do it throughout the activity. When I tried to be friendly in asking them to stop, it didn’t work. When I tried to be more serious in talking to them, that didn’t seem to work either. On the other hand, the 1st graders had much longer attention spans and were much better at following directions. They listened when instructions were explained and followed directions throughout the activity.

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