Thursday, December 4, 2008

PED 201 Infant Perception

Here is our class presentation.(Joe, Eric, Britt, Julie).

Reflection of St Mary's PE Field Experience

During our lab sessions, I’ve learned a lot about young children in all aspects including personality, motor skills, mental capabilities and interests. It was difficult at first to go back to that level and relate to the kids on their level. It is hard to realize that they are just learning how to correctly function and understand their own movements. You always have to keep reminding yourself of their ages and reflecting back to when I was that young and remember what types of things I did. Tag games were the most successful all around. Also, if there were any props involved, they typically would become intrigued and want to play, regardless of what they had to do. Complicated games that took longer than 5 minutes to explain and had more than 2 concepts to them were generally too difficult for the children to follow and correctly perform the tasks. Once the kids lost interest it was pointless to even try the game; it was best to resort to a tag game at that point.

While working with the pre-k children, it was completely different than the older kids in that the level they were at was completely primary. Everything we did with them was kept to the simplest form so that we could relate to them and gain their interest. While playing outside with them, most of them wanted to play tag or hide-n-seek or just walk around. They liked chasing us and wanted us to chase them. One of the days, I was able to get a group of kids over by a pile of leaves and we got to make a large pile to where the kids were able to jump in. They were all excited and everyone helped to put the leaves into the pile. While indoors, we colored and read stories to the kids after they had their snack time. We generally just talked to them about their day or what they were doing. Sometimes I played number games with my hands to get the kids to intellectually involved. It was interesting how they still are getting used to how to use their hands and how to count on them. I personally enjoyed working with the younger kids because they love just having you interact with them and they are so eager to learn and do what you are doing that it is fun to work with them. The older kids tend to have more attitudes and want to do what they want and tend not to listen to instructions. It gets more frustrating to work with the older kids.

During the cafeteria time with the kids, the fine motor skills that were observed consisted of picking up their snack with their fingers, drinking their milk, looking around and chewing their food. I find that little motor movements such as these help to build the gross movements. Fine motor skills require more coordination and technique where gross motor skills are large movements that finesse is only needed for in a few activities. I do find that fine motor skills are needed in physical education because regardless of the size of the movement, it still requires movement. These are the basics for gross motor skills so to establish that foundation of the coordination of the fingers and hands will allow for better results when teaching larger movements.

Based on my reflection of my St. Mary’s experience, I find that my teaching style is being directly involved with each individual student as much as possible. I find that by showing interest in each child individually rather than a whole makes them want to interact with your games and ideas that much more. In terms of relaying information, I found that it is very important to listen to the kids likes and dislikes to be able to create a positive environment where the kids will feel directly involved. Also, I found it is very important to come in to the setting with a game plan of different options so that if one idea doesn’t work, there is always a back-up plan. I see that sometimes, when adults get too friendly with the kids and go down to their level too much, the kids do not respect them as superiors as much and tend not to follow directions. So I feel that it is important to develop a relationship with the kids to an extent, but always make sure that they remember you are their superior and teacher and that they must follow your instructions and rules to keep a calm and collected setting for everyone. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at St. Mary’s and it really gave me an eye-opener to the profession of education and I feel as though, with a little more experience and educational opportunities, I will become a very positive physical educator and make a difference in the profession.

Which Game is Appropriate?

The games we used so far have been for the most part, appropriate for the children. Most were easily relatable to them and they could understand what we were asking for. They also seemed to have fun while playing and that is very important, to make sure that we had the child’s attention. Some kids were not up for the games just due to long days but I feel the response we got from the children was a good one. A couple of games, however, were just too complicated for the young kids to comprehend. If the explanation takes longer than 5 mins at the most, then the kids are most likely not to understand the game. If you keep it simple, fun ,and to the point then the kids are most apt to be attentive and receptive of what you are asking. As a physical educator I realize that it is important to play games appropriate to ages in order to perform the skills correctly and the most efficient for that level.

Physical Education has many different limitations when using game and activities when trying to assess students. At St. Mary's, the limitations are within the children themselves and their own motor capabilities for their ages. Some kids are not able to understand the skill we are describing or what time of skill they should be doing. Some are too young to think about what they are doing but would rather just have fun and play. Other limitations are with how we relay the information for them to understand on their level and the games we choose. Some games are just too advanced for the kids we work with and we have to recognize that and be prepared for some less challenging more simple games so the kids are interested and have fun. Also, the fact that the kids have been in school and are just tired and want to do nothing with instruction is also a huge limitation.

Staying Engaged in PE

While working at St. Mary’s with the after school program, I have realized a lot about physical education that I had not realized prior to this experience. The biggest challenged that I have faced is keeping the children’s attention and have then understand what you are trying to get them to do. Most of the children we work with have been pre-k to third graders and most of them just want to play and run around since they’ve been in the classroom all day. I’ve learned that the best way to keep them interested and wanting to play with us is to keep the games unique and interesting. They have to appeal to the kids in order for them to even listen to what you have to say. Another challenge is to keeping the games and concepts very simplistic and easy to follow. If the instructions and concepts to the game you are presenting causes the kids to go into a stare or daze, then you should realize that it is too complicated for them to follow. Basically, the instructions should take maximum 5 minutes to describe. This way it is simple and the kids can start playing. Sometimes, the children really do not want to listen as well, and this can be challenging when you are trying to get a game going. The environment is not too bad at St. Mary’s in terms of available resources for games but there is no variation for the kids. This is a problem that really cannot be resolved in terms of structure of the establishment but can be changed in terms of creativity with activities for the kids to do. All of these issues have been eye openers as to hard it can be, relating to the kids, and getting their attention. Yet, when all of this goes better than planned, it just shows how rewarding it can be to be a physical educator.

In order to resolve the issues stated above, it is important to know what the kid’s interests are. That way you can make their interests the themes of your games or activities. It is important to understand each individual’s ability to know how challenging to make the game. Understanding that they had a long day of school, it is important to keep all activities simple in concept and interesting enough to keep their attention. Try to do something different with the kids every time that the lab sessions occur. That way the kids look forward to whatever game you have for them the next week. Basically, in order to be a successful physical educator, it is important to know your students, their likes and dislikes and be able to relate that into what you are teaching. If you can keep the students attentiveness and intrigued, and they complete the tasks that you had instructed them to do while having fun doing the game or activity, then it was a successful day.

Leaping, Jumping, Sliding

For lab today, we observed little stevie who was a boy, the age of 4 in pre-kindergarten. Also, we observed little suzie who was a girl, also the age of 4 and in pre-kindergarten. The skills that were focused on were leaping, jumping horizontally and sliding. For the leap, little stevie could really only get his feet off the ground, whereas little suzie could take off on one foot and land on the other and a period where she had both feet off the ground. Neither stevie or suzie were reaching forward with opposite arm. For the horizontal jumping, stevie did quite well but was unable to extend arms forcefully reaching for full extension. However, he was able to flex arms and knees with arms behind him in the preparatory phase; he could take off and land on both feet and arm were brought down during landing. The only thing suzie was able to do was take off and land on both feet at the same time. She did not show any other characteristics the way stevie had. Sliding was our last skill where stevie was able to complete all the criteria. He was able to turn his body sideways to the direction he was going; he also slid his foot after stepping; both of his feet were off the floor and he could slide right to left. Suzie was not as coordinated as stevie at this skill. She was able to turn her body sideways and both feet were off the ground at some point. She could not slide trailing foot or slide to both left and right.

This lab demonstrated to me how children develop differently. I realized that as a physical educator, that I have to be able to adapt to each individual's abilities and to have a positive impact in their development. I should be prepared to work with all children on advancing their capabilities to help them advance. Creating and incorporating games that do not single out individual skills would be positive at this age so that everyone is working at their own individual pace while still having fun and keeping interest