Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Portfolio Showcase

I attended the porfolio showcase last Thursday to get some ideas for my portfolio. I got some great artistic ideas to add a special touch. One of the ideas I really liked dealt with layering pieces of construction paper to add color to the portfolio. I talked with a girl named Brittany that had a very nice portfolio that I admired. She had layers of paper behind her resume that added a little something extra. She also made very nice cover pages for each of her sections. The page had the Cortland seal, the Cortland logo, the section name, her name and a picture of her. All of the elements that I saw at the showcase will help enhance my portfolio and make me even more marketable.

iDance Dances It's Way Into Cortland

I attended the iDance workshop last week in Park Center. The workshop consisted of a 3-5 instructional session and two 8-10 testing sessions. The 3-5 session taught us how to use the equipment of iDance and what we would need to set it up in a school setting. iDance is very cool and fun to play because it allows a large amount of people to play on one screen. It is played on a game pad that is similar to the one of Dance Dance Revolution. The pad is hard, and apparently indestructible) and has four arrows for each direction. The screen can show the statistics of 32 people at one time. The statistics show the percentage of correct steps hit, how many steps were late and how many steps were early. It also shows you the amount of steps that you have taken all together in that session. All of this information can be recorded and saved to see progression. During the 8-10 session, 18 people were hooked up to heart rate monitors and put through different levels of iDance. There was a monitor that went in between the rib cages and also a watch on our wrist that showed our heart rate at all times. In between some of the levels, surveys were given that recorded how we felt about the activity as well as our fatigue level. Hopefully this information and statistics will be available to see because I'm very interested in seeing mine!

"Successful games are ones that are fun and promote one's competence, autonomy, and relatedness. iDance is unique in that it does support all four of these elements all within a physically challenging dance game."

Dr. Stephen Yang, M.S., PhD-ABD
Assistant professor at SUNY Cortland

Turkeys Trot into St. Mary's for Thanksgiving

Our fifth lab at St. Mary's was a fun Thanksgiving theme! It was a good day for me because I got to interact with students that I never had before. I got to shoot a ball with a boy in third grade and teach him how to shoot a one-handed shot. He didn't know that he was able to complete the task, but with a little guidance he was making all of his shots in! Along with basketball, I played jump rope for a long time. The girls taught me a lot of the jump roping songs that I had never heard before. They also knew how to do things such as double dutch and move different ways between the rope, I was impressed! At the end of the lab, my group did the song "The Turkey Dance", which was a spoof off of the chicken dance. The kids loved doing this song because they knew the actions and it was familiar to them. The hardest part of this lab for me was trying to find out how to incorporate a Thanksgiving theme into my attire. I took a head band and stapled some feathers to the top and wrapped a scarf around my hips. The kids are so entertained no matter what you do as long as you show that you put forth some effort! Some of the girls took my head band and wanted to wear it themselves!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Children make you want to start life over. ~Muhammad Ali

This morning I went to St. Mary's to observe the pre-k daily routine from 8:00 to 8:50. The hour went by so fast! For the first 20 minutes or so in the classroom, there were stations set up in the room for the children to play at until the rest of their classmates arrived. They had stations such as coloring, blocks, and other little play sets. While the students and parents entered the room, the teachers greeted every person with a warm welcoming hello. I noticed the individual attention the teachers gave to each of the students and how they were able to make every one of them smile. When almost everyone had arrived, the students lined up to go to the bathroom and wash their hands. There was an assigned leader for the day who led the line and would help with the morning meeting. Today they had two leaders because Sophia, the girl who was supposed to lead yesterday, was absent on her leader day. The two girls shared the leading spot at the front of the line. In the bathroom, each child used the restroom then washed their hands. While washing their hands they sang a tune to help them remember how to wash properly. To the tune of Frere Qacques: Tops and Bottoms, Tops and Bottoms, In between, In between, All around your hands, All around your hands, Makes them clean. Makes them clean. The song is very cute and catchy and is perfect for making washing hands fun for pre-k students! Some of the students loved the water more than others. Lily washed her hands for the entire time everyone was in there, she loves the water! The children lined up and met on the rug for their morning meeting. Everyone sat in a circle, including me, and sang a good morning song that went something like "good morning lauren, how are you you? shake hands with brandon who's sitting next to you". The whole class sang and went around the circle to everyone while everyone shook hands. After the greeting, the leaders shared the daily activities such as looking at the weather, putting the date on the calendar and helping count. One thing I noticed was that they integrate spanish when the teachers talk to the students. The students could count to ten in spanish and knew simple phrases such as "hola". After the morning meeting, the students had another choice time, but I didn't get to stay because it was time for me to leave. :( I wish I didn't have class in the morning every day so I could go every morning!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Superheroes Train Students for Top Secret Mission

Up, up and away we went with Wednesday's lab! The kids loved the Superhero theme for the lab and it's a great feeling to be able to trigger their imaginations. I was Supergirl!! My lab, the Powerful Pop-tarts, organized the game "Zaney Zoo" for the Pre-K students. The game was great because instead of using the "zoo" theme for the game, we said that we were training the kids to become super hero helpers and that we needed to train them to make sure they could be come super heroes. The children LOVED this idea!

The game is played with two hoola-hoops and around fifteen activity cards. We broke up the kids into four groups (2 groups to each hoola-hoop) and put seven or eight cards in each hoop. A child had to run to the hoop, pick up a card, do the activity specified to the opposite line, and pass the card to their partner who did that movement back. That partner would also pick another card, etc. These activities had to do with basic skills such as galloping, crawling, sliding, etc. This activity can be related to the NASPE Standard 1:Demonstrates competency in motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities. All of the children I interacted with could do all of the skills. The only confusion during the game were the pictures that the cards were describing, but once I showed them the movement, they were on-the-move!

When the first game started, I noticed there were two girls that were off to the side who refused to participate in any way. Many different college helpers tried to get them to participate, but no matter how fun we made the activity, they wanted nothing to do with it. I noticed another girl walk up two the two girls not participating and ask why they weren't playing. The two girls responded with, "because we don't want to!" The other girl got the idea that she didn't have to participate either and tried to sit down, but before she could I got her involved back into the activity. During the closing song, the same two girls were still not participating so I figured I'd try one more time to get them to play. The first time I asked them I got a straightforward "no" reply, then the second time I got a hesitated answer from one of the girls. While she was hesitating, her friend chimed in and said "no" for her. Both of the girls actually ended up participating and having a really fun time during the ending song.

Also during the closing song I noticed something that really brought me back to being a young child. I remember being in elementary school and feeling so mature for my age. I remember being in first grade and having a "boyfriend", which now looking at these children at this age, seems preposterous. During the closing song, one of the activities was to dance yet no specific way to dance was specified or that it had to be with a partner. I witnessed a young boy dancing hand in hand with a girl and twirling her around, even though no one else was dancing in couples. He seemed infatuated with her. As soon as the song ended the little boy leaned in and tried to kiss the girl on the cheek, which in turn she turned and walked away with out paying any notice. This situation really made me happy and reminded me why I love working with young children! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Speed Stacks Stack Up A Crowd at Mini-Conference

I attended two of the seminars during the APEM mini-conference on Friday. I attended speed stacks (seen above) and also a tennis seminar. Speed stacks really struck my interest because I never really thought of this as being a sport. After receiving my own cup set and trying to stack these cups repetitively, I can now see why it is considered a sport.
I actually broke a sweat! This fad is growing around the world and children as young as four and five are getting involved in this activity. The first picture above is a snapshot of the cups I received for going to the seminar.

They are official speed stacking cups, which online range in price starting at $15! It was neat to know that more and more schools are incorporating this program into their curriculum. Tournaments are having huge outcomes and the sport is growing before our eyes. We did many basic activities to help get the gist of the basic skills needed for this stacking sport. We started off small and increased up to ten cups.The instructor gave us neat tips to keep kids attention such as "one two three eyes on me" and the students must reply "one two i see you". She also gave everyone a clothes pin to put on their shirt, and whoever was being a "wallflower" got their pin taken away. This is a good way to make sure everyone is engaged and ready to learn!

Getting To Know You

Before we got to the school, I was having thoughts about how the students were going to be and made myself nervous. Once I got there and started interacting with the kids, I was fine within the first few minutes. Children are so happy and full of life that it makes it easy to be happy and want to be around them. I played with the girls in the house center in the first classroom I was in for a long time. We had a picnic and ate food together. It fascinates me the amount of interest children have in playing "house" at that age, even the boys. There was another group of girls I colored with and one girl drew me a very nice picture of a dog! I read the same book to a girl two times and had her interact with me by reading the book back. In the gymnasium, the students played red light green light, which only kept their attention span for a short amount of time. Not all of the students wanted to participate, especially a group of girls who insisted on only hoola hooping. We then integrated the hoola hoop interest into a race game where three students were inside each hoop and they raced from one line to the other. Although the kids thought they were racing themselves, there was always a college student holding onto one of their hoops. The closing end song was great and getting the sillies out was a great activity! Hopefully next week at lab will be just as succesful! :)

Lab One at St. Mary