Friday, November 20, 2009

Next Point Wins !!

Zone B was the name of the game, and it was definitely intense. This week we were with the older kids in the cafeteria to start, then went outside to the playgrounds. It was a pretty nice day outside, so a bunch of the kids were playing kickball, or playing on the playground. We started playing kickball, and the teams were pretty lopsided so we got some of the other Cortland students to even up the teams. Unfortunately they game ended pretty quickly due to a kid kicking the ball on the roof, but it was still fun. After that I went to the playground where it was mostly girls, and got most of them to play tag with me. After about tagging two people, and getting tagged twice, it appeared that I was the only one the kids were tagging, and just wanted to run away from me. All the bricks were safe zones, so it made it really hard to tag them running through the little play area. After everyone got all sweaty and tired, the teacher brought everyone into the gym, where we started our activity.

By the time we got into the gym, most of the girls already started playing and didn't want to be involved, but mostly all of the boys were willing to participate. The first game we played was with a basketball and the rules were pretty understandable, and the kids got it quickly. The rules were you can only take three dribbles and any direction then it has to be passed off. I told them that they want to stay spread out so that it makes it easier to pass, but that didn't work out so well. The goal area was marked off by cones at each end of the gym, and the object was to move the ball down the court, by passing and dribbling, without getting it stolen. Then you want to pass it to your own team in the goal area, where he touches the wall with the ball and drop sit for the other team. This game is similar to wall-to-wall football, but it can be used for Lot's of games as well. We had an even 5 on 5 game going on for awhile, and once the kids started to really grasp the concept of the game, it went very smoothly. One thing I noticed when working with this age group is that, yes, they can dribble good, but they are not that good at keeping their head up while dribbling. This cause a lot of turnovers, and kids to pick up the ball and get trapped by the defense. The score was 8-8 and we called time, to introduce a new game with the same concept except with a soccer ball. We called time when it was tied because the kids were so into winning, so we figured if we said same teams for the next game, and same score, they would still be very into it and willing to play. The soccer activity was very hard, because we had to use only a quarter of the gym for 10 kid game, making it impossible for them to spread out, and even score a goal. Once the game started to get really crazy, we decided to end it, and let them play something else. To end the day, we did a modified version of the chicken dance, and made it the Turkey Dance. Unlike last week, their were still a bunch of kids their, so it went very well, and they were very into it. All the kids has smiles on their faces, and were having a great time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Circus and Carnival Day

Last wednesday at St. Mary's was another fun time with the kids, even though I didn't get to play that much. In the beginning however I did help out a group during their gym time, and helped the kids with this activity. Their game was a modified version of handball, making the kids use big and small sized balls while throwing them up against the wall. There was four taped boxes on the wall, and four lines of kids standing behind each other. At first they were using a tennis ball, which the kids were throwing pretty hard, but not too accurate. The object of the game was to throw the ball in the box and go to the back of the line and let the next person catch it. With these small balls, the kids had a hard time catching it when it was coming off the wall, causing a lot of commotion between the lines. When they started using the bigger, rubber balls it appeared that they couldn't use just one hand, and had to use both to hit the wall. With the bigger balls, it was easier for the kids to catch it, and they threw it more accuratley. After this game was over, they switched to another game which was good for the kids throwing skills, to see how accurate they could be.

The object was to use the balls given to hit the target in the middle of the line, and have the person on the other side to catch it and do the same. While I was working with one girl, she was a righty, but threw with her right foot forward, making it awkward to throw. I showed her to put her left foot forward, stand sideways and try and follow through. The girl showed a big improvement after learning which foot to put forward, and ended up hitting the middle object around 10-15 times. This activity was a good way to see how kids throw when they are younger, especially when they have never been taught before. After all the activities were over, it was time for my part of the lab, which was the pe equipment room. We started out in the gym, counting every piece of equipment in each bag, crate, or closet, and marked it down on a sheet of paper. After counting just the items in the gym, not including all the other closets full of stuff, it's obvious that St. Mary's is fully equipped with a variety of toys, games and balls for all types of kids. During our wrap up time with the kids, their was only a few of them, so we had to adjust. Our radio unfortunatley was not playing loud, so everyone had to stay on one side of the gym. Our song for the day was the chicken dance, which mostly all the kids knew how to do, and all the SUNY Cortland students definitley knew how to do it. Overall, the closing song was slow to get started, but once it got going, everyone was having a really good time dancing to the chicken dance.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Morning at St. Mary's

This past Thursday, I got the chance to go in early to St. Mary's and work with the pre-k kids during their morning routines. Throughout the hour I was their, I noticed a lot of changes in the students, compared to when we go to the after school program. As all the kids came in I introduced myself, and gradually started playing with the kids. It's a lot different from when I went into their classroom after school because most of the kids are still waking up and not as hyper. Most of the kids came in and sat down around the table, and either started coloring, playing with play dough, or were on the carpet playing. Of course their is always one or two kids that are very hyper in the morning and are running around, and trying to show me how fast they can run, but for the most part, the kids were very relaxed and followed the teachers instructions very well. One game I played with some of the kids was a twenty piece puzzle, which they had a lot of fun with. While they were trying to sort out the pieces, it took the kids a long time to actually connect the pieces once they had found the two that connect. A lot of the times they would turn the piece in a 360 degrees direction a couple times before they found out how it goes in. Also since the kids were having a hard time finding which pieces went together, I would give them hints like, "well since this is a crayon, and so is this, then.." and they would be able to figure out they they connect, due to a little hint. After we completed the puzzle, the teacher called clean-up time, and everyone had to do their own share and put something away. One thing I thought was very interesting was when they had to line up, their was a leader and a caboose, at the front and end, and all the kids wanted to be them. They all lined up to go to the bathroom, and they sang a song as they got close to the bathroom, while they waited online, and while washing their hands. The song that helped them wash their hands was very important as the teacher was telling me because it helps them use the soap, get in between their hands on top and bottom, and to wash them completely. A big problem is pre-k is sickness' being spread, which prevents a lot of the kids from attending school, especially during the swine-flu era. After going to the bathroom, everyone lined back up and we went back in the classroom and sat down in a circle on the rug. At this point the line leader, grabber her show and tell, and showed the whole class her stuffed elephant. After, she helped the teacher with the days date, the month, and the weather of the day. One technique that the teacher used while doing all this, was saying the days in English first, then did it again in Spanish, which all of the kids were surprisingly very good at. Even when the teacher switched it up and started talking about colors, some of the kids knew which colors were which, in Spanish which was very impressive. After a little over an hour went by my time was up for the morning. One thing i recognized with the kids in the morning compared to after school, is that they listen much better. Whether it is because they are more tired in the morning and don't really feel like talking, or because at the end of the day they are more than ready to go out in the gym and run around. Either way it was still a fun time, and another great experience for me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Are YOU ready for the SPOOKY Halloween MAZE!?

It was Halloween time at St. Mary's last week, and it appeared that everyone had a great time. This week I was working with the pre-k kids, in the classroom, and in the gymnasium. My day started off, introducing myself to the kids, and playing with them for awhile. Many of the kids were coloring and playing Lego's, while other were on the floor running around and using their imaginations to make up games. After snack time, and reading, we took the kids into the gym for our activity. Since the kids were extremely talkative, we had to calm them down, to gain their attention for instructions to our activity. To start off, I tried to make our game seem as cool and interesting as possible. I asked them Who likes mazes, real loud, and they all responded with a 'YEA' scream. I then asked them, who likes SPOOKY Halloween mazes, trying to make it sound more interesting, and that led the kids to screaming and even louder 'ME' or 'YEA'. It seemed that by projecting my voice, and asking question to start, the kids were more focused, and wanted to start the activity. I noticed that hyping the kids up, made them want to play, even if they were so interested in the beginning.

To explain our activity, we had the kids line up single file right before the start of the maze, and explained to them how to leap, horizontal jump, and slide. By explaining the skills right before the start, it helped the kids stay focused on what they had to do at each part of the maze. I feel that if we were to explain the rules and skills first, then try and get the kids excited for our game, it would cause them to forget everything we just explained to them. Once we finally got started, the kids were having a fun time, and everybody was staying on task, which was a surprise. The kids had the hardest time with the slide, especially the really younger kids. Most of them were clicking their feet together, or just trying to slide to quickly and it turned into a gallop. However, when i got the chance to work one on one with the kids and lead by example, they tended to show much better results than if they did it themselves. Along with sliding, many kid had trouble with leaping far distances. Most children didn't use their arms to gain momentum, and tended to use their other foot for more support to leap, which really looked like a jump. The horizontal jump was definitely the best done, because the kids know how to do this, and have done it several times in their life. The thing they didn't do while jumping, was swing their arms; many kids had trouble jumping forward and trying to balance themselves when they land.

To end our lab, we gathered all the kids, and used a huge parachute to play some games with. At first we had all the kids grab a handle, and had the SUNY Cortland students get in between them. Our first game was popcorn, which involved moving the parachute up and down to get the balls in the middle popping up and down. Our next game was the 'turtle', which the kids enjoyed a lot. Basically we threw the parachute up in the air, and everyone laid down on the ground and stuck their head underneath, while their body was still outside. While looking around underneath, all the kids had huge smiles on their faces, and were having a great time. Lastly we did the 'mushroom', which we threw the parachute in the air while holding it, got underneath it, than sat on it as it came back down. Ending the day like this really, made the kids extremely happy, and everyone wanted to keep playing. Overall, I learned a lot this week, whether it was learning how to gain the pre-k kids attention, or a strategy on how to keep them focused for a longer time, either way, I walked out of their knowing one more thing I didn't know when I walked in.