Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Idance", You Dance, We all Dance (other exergames)

I had a great opportunity to see Idance up close and personal. I was able to see how it functions and how interactive it is. I think it would be a great piece of equipment for a physical education class. It really captures the attention of the participants. It could also be a very strenuous workout. There is much cognitive functioning with identifying patterns and it would really force student to think on their toes. There is also so many different skill levels that it gives everyone a chance to play it. It will also never get old because you keep advancing skill levels so it stays challenging. Above all it is fun. Dancing to the music is a blast. I felt it did something to me afterwards too. I was more relaxed. The rhythm component is powerful. And the fact that so man people can participate at once against each other is amazing. I was also able to help out with an experiment. I worked with some graduate student to help them punch in data. They seemed like awesome people and it was an honor to work with them. I also was able to get my photography skills up. Mr. Yang had me going around and taking pictures of people from different angles and using different methods. To top it off I was able to interview some of my classmates on what they thought of Idance. I was also able to see some other exergames equipment. Someone set up punching bags and a DDR platform and ghetto rigged an Xbox to make a street fighter game virtual reality. That was mind blowing. It seemed like it was a ground breaking invention that has a lot of potential to see success. I could not believe it. Well any how I guess it was just another day at Cortland?

In the Classroom at St. Mary's

What a way to start off my morning. I was half a wake and sick but still managed to drag myself to St. Mary’s. I introduced myself to the teacher and she put me to work giving the kids name tags. It gave me a chance to interact with the kids. I played around with them about spelling their names and it was fun. The pre K kids are so adorable. The teacher seemed very nice and smooth with how she managed the classroom. I think it was morning free time because the kids were participating in different activities all over the class room. Some kids were doing finger paints, others were playing house, some were playing with Legos, and others sat attentively well the teacher read a book to them. I was able to remember a bunch of names for a chance. One of the girls was begging me to play house with her so I finally gave in. It is not my favorite activity but I managed to stomach it for a little while. I then started to read a book to them and before I knew it was potty break time and then I had to rush back to Cortland College for psych class. One thing I noticed about the experience was that I saw a different side of the kids. They were not as riled up in the classroom. I got to hear input from the teacher as well. It seemed like they were calmer and more focused. At the same time being in a class room all day I could see how they may get a little rambunctious. I actually witnessed them sitting still and concentrating, normally when I am there they are constantly running around. It was a great experience and put me in a great mind set for the rest of the day.

The Masterpiece Portfolios

It was an honor to attend the portfolio showcase. I had a lot of work to do and studying to do for finals but I still took some time out to attend. I got a chance to see some of the awesome work my peers have done. I am right about to start my portfolio so it was a perfect time to get ideas. The idea of making a portfolio is daunting and overwhelming but I will take it one step at a time and I am sure I will do well with it. It was also nice to converse with some of Cortland’s elite. I congratulated them on how nice their portfolios were and all their work that went into them. I was able to pick their brains a little about their time at Cortland. It is always good to be surrounded by people who are passionate about physical education because it rubs off and makes me more passionate. It also gave me a different perspective on where I am at because they are all about to go out to student teach and were sad that they are leaving Cortland. It is only my first semester here but I could imagine being involved and living at a place for years, there is bound to be an attachment forms. It was nice how they were all dressed up and looked so professional. I was able to flip through some of the portfolios page by page and get an idea of the format. I also got a good glimpse at what awaits me down the road. I saw a lot of their work from the 300 and 400 level classes. I was able to talk to them about their experiences and what it took to build such an amazing portfolio. I was also able to talk to a personal friend Brandon Herwich who is in the picture with me. Some of the activities that he was involved with are amazing. He is truly inspiring and a great role model for PE. It got me thinking of things that I could do to help build on my portfolio. It was a great experience to be a part of and I am glad I got a chance to attend it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

North Pole recruiting at St. Mary's

I arrived to lab in a reserved, stand offish mood. I was sick, finals were coming up, and I felt burnt out. My group was assigned to go down to the cafeteria. I ended up playing chess with some of the kids. I really did not know how to play very well so I had them teach me. It seemed like our roles were reversed as Sage, Melinda, and Herald explained the game to me. I learned how to play and at the same time they were forced to think critically. I believe this type of social interaction helped them to grow socially and cognitively. It was a lot of fun playing and interacting with them. It was amazing how the free spirited nature of the kids took me out of my stressful and tiresomely dazed state. After playing for a while it was time for us to go upstairs. When we got up there we started to toss the football around. I jumped up to catch it and one of the students ran under me and I came down on her. I felt so horrible about that but my fellow classmates kept ensuring me that it was not my fault. It helped me see that if we have our guard down for a minute and lose our vigilant awareness than an accident can occur. Luckily the girl was not hurt but even though it may not have been my fault I vowed to myself to be more cautious in the future. We then set up a game which consisted of a series of activities. The first activity was the students rolling on scooters, then the kids jumped through hula hoops, and then last they kicked balls at posters that our group created. The students were getting off task so I had to interject my enthusiasm into the activity in order to keep them focused and excited. It was a fun game that gave them a cardiovascular workout, helped them with their manipulative motor skills, had some mild competition woven into it, and had a variety of components to it. One of the ways I used to motivate the kids was since we all had elf hats and Santa hats on and it was a Christmas theme, I told them that we were recruiting for the North Pole and this was their tryout. I asked them to see how many times they could hit the poster, with only kicking it 3 times per run through. We then used modifications to keep the game fresh. Instead of hitting the poster with the balls they had to score on me. I was the goalie and we used the giant mats as goals. It was fun to challenge them to score on me. After awhile I started to block all their shots and forced them to come up with a strategy to score. I helped them to come to the conclusion that in order to score two of them had to kick the balls at the same time. Nick and sage where the first ones to catch on and then the rest took heed. Then another group came in to the gym so we switched activities and just played knock out. It is a famous game to play at St. Mary’s and we always have fun playing. Again I would actually be trying and sometimes they would still get me out. For those who didn’t want to play or when people got out in knockout we went to the side and tossed the football. We wrapped the day up with a great dance that one of my classmates conducted. Then we took a group picture, first with just the Cortland students and then with the kids too. After Mr. Yang gave us a debriefing and brought closure to the end of our motor development labs at St. Mary’s. I am really going to miss it. From the bottom of my heart I truly cherish my experience at St. Marys. It really helped me come out of my shell and interact with kids in such a lively, joyful, and rewarding way. It contributed to my professional as well as personal growth in ways that cannot be measured. I am truly grateful for the opportunity