Monday, October 13, 2008
October 10, 2008: I sure am sorry I missed Dr. Passarini's keynote address at the 2008 SUNY Cortland Physical Education Mini Conference, but boy did I make up for it by attending his presentation. His presentation of his "Inclusion Cube" and his concept of "Nobody is disabled, we are all differently-abled", was captivating. Dr. Passarini explained the importance of inclusion for all student individuals, and the level of the how and the when and the what of the inclusion can be different for each individual case. He explained methodologies for building IEPs and goals and objectives for different students. He went on further to show how all students can participate, but it is the educator's responsibility to integrate the participation into the lesson plan through a technique he has built and named, "The Inclusion Cube." The Inclusion Cube contains five steps and a checklist system that help educators include all students, no matter what their ability is. This session was very informative, and Dr. Passarini concluded his presentation with some games that "removed" some of our abilities. One of these games involved playing catch with a gator skin ball while wearing safety glasses that had been coated with opaque scotch tape. Visibility was nearly impossible, and you were lucky if you could see shadows. Playing catch was very difficult and nearly impossible without any assistance. These games helped everyone to walk in another person's shoes.... a person that is differently-abled. If you wish to learn more about Dr. Passarini and his program, feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a great resource.
October 8, 2008: Today was the day I was supposed to present and lead my activity game to the St. Mary's kids in hopes of getting them to perform the activities of Leaping, Horizontal Jumping, and Sliding. I had dreamed up a game in my head a few days earlier and put it down in a lesson plan. My students were going to be frogs. They were going to do all of these motor skill tasks on "Froggy's Adventure Course", a simulation of a day in the life of Froggy the frog, accompanied by the song, "Froggy Went A' Courtin"..... The students were going to go through a three part course in "Froggy Land" where they were to jump from lily pad to lily pad (onto hula hoops), leap over floating logs in the marsh (over stretched out jump ropes on the floor), and finally slide through the trees on shore (cones zig zagging on the floor). The plan was set. I was ready.... or was I? I was shocked to see a group before me having the same students do almost the exact same course (the theme was a little different). WOWWWWWWW...... did I learn a valuable lesson in PE lesson preparation: YOU BETTER HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN........ ALWAYS. I rebounded with another game and it was successful in the fact that the students all had fun and all performed the required motor skill tasks for assessment. The downside was the unnecessary stress of scrambling for a game when I should have been more prepared with a back-up plan.
October 1, 2008: Today I observed two students: Nicholas, (1st grade, age 6, male), and Meghan (1st grade, age 6, female) in the skills of Running, Galloping, and Jumping. The biggest similarity I observed in the attempts to perform these three activities was that they both enjoyed doing it. These three motor skills were made part of games, such as elbow tag, blob tag, and team rock-paper-scissors. The kids had fun doing the games and almost forgot that they are actually performing the motor skills I was assessing them on. Both students showed various stages of skill on all three motor skill tasks. For example, both flailed their arms wildly while running, and Nicholas showed more foot control in hopping. It was plain to see that different levels of success in the mastery of these skills occurred between the students, but they had a blast doing them!
September 17, 2008: Oh what a day for both Cortland students and the young children at St. Mary's Catholic School in Cortland, NY. It was a get-to-know each other session for the most part. Our lab group was the the second one that the St. Mary kids had this week, so they already were "exposed" to these strange college kids once. My group was first presented with all Pre-K kids out on the small playground. Talk about chaos ! It is exactly what you expect for a playground. Fun here has no order or rules. Having young children of my own was a definite benefit in dealing with the vast number of ages, genders, and personalities. I felt that my objective was to learn a few names, get to know some of them, and basically keep them running (or was it them that kept me running?) A short hide and seek game ensued, followed by Mindy's "blast off" on the monkey bars, and concluded with a quick "Duck, Duck, Goose". I felt like we accomplished our mission. We were able to get almost 100% participation in some type of movement activity, nobody got hurt, and there were smiles everywhere!!!