Wednesday, September 28, 2011

St. Mary's Lab 2 (Wild West)

                  Today was the second day we were at St. Mary’s school in Cortland NY.  We designated today as Western theme.  My group wore bandannas around our necks and had sticker sheriff badges on.  I think the kids enjoyed us dressing up and bringing them stickered sheriff badges so they felt they had a costume on also.  My group, “The Triple Nuggets” was with the pre-K group.  First we had play time inside because it was raining out.  The students were playing with dinosaurs and other toys.  I drew a dinosaur for a few children; they thought I was an artist.  After play time they had snack, they ate animal crackers and milk.  After snack Kristi read the children a book about cowboys, after the book we have everyone on sticker and went into the gym to start our games.  I led the groups in a tag game where the cowboys from the east had to catch the cowboys from the west.  I gave the cowboys from the east pool noodles, this was their lassos.  The cowboys from the eats had to lasso the other cowboys up.  I was getting the students to run around, after running I put little obstacles on the floor so they had to jump over them as they chased each other.  I was teaching them to jump off two feet or hop off one foot.  At this age it is hard to transition from running to hopping or jumping.  Most of them would slow down then hop or jump.  This is perfect as long as they are active and trying their best.  I noticed they really liked the fact that they had to jump over stuff so I quickly made up an obstacle course out of hula hoops and other toys around the gym.  I told them that in order to be the best cowboy you can be we have to practice all of our skills, so each obstacle had its skill.  The children loved this because no one was chasing them so they could go at their own pace.  Once we went in on direction for a while, I switched the direction so they can turn in another direction.  Overall I think the children really enjoyed themselves and definitely got a work out.  I am excited to go back in two weeks; I am running the big game at the end of the session with everyone! I am going to have a very unique and fun game prepared. 

 In the beginning of the day we had to watch a group do a few games and watch a few students and assess their locomotor skills.  I noticed that the group was really getting down to their level the students listened better when they got down on a knee. They also brought all the students into a corner which is a great idea.  The students can only focus on you and not the rest of the gym.  Some things that I would not have done were explain the game for such a long period of time.  Asking one question to see if the students understand is alright but asking a question after each direction is too much.  Also telling them you are breaking them up into two groups is a waste of time, just explain the game then just break them up into groups.  When the first thing you say is, “I’m going to break you up into two groups.”  The children are only thinking about who’s in their group not about the instructions.  Overall the group did great and the students were moving and had fun.  Again I would have done a game where there was less standing around, I tend to do games without lines.  I tend to use games were everyone is moving the entire game.  If there is a line, I would have the students doing jumping jacks or hula hoop while they are waiting.  Focusing on movement is more important than the flow of your game or who wins.  The students I was observing were very active.  I was watching a girl and a boy; I named them Joe and sue.  Joe was a little small for his age and less developed.  He had trouble with the hop; he could not stay on one foot.  He would change feet each time and never fully be on one foot.  The gallop was better but could only have one foot in front and his arms were not bent.  When he ran he was basically flat footed and needed to bend the trail leg more.  Other than all this technical observations he was active and participated just like every other child.  I think the more he grows the better these skills will get, a few games working on these skills might open his eyes to proper form.  Sue was more developed and one of the bigger children in the gym.  She could run fine and could basically gallop perfect.  I did not see her gallop with both feet forward but I think she was just doing whatever foot was more efficient.  The hop is what she needs to work on, she needed to bend the trail leg and use momentum more.  I think the children were playing a tag game so they were trying to go as fast as possible, when hopping fast it is hard to keep proper form.  Both students were enjoying themselves and could both do the skills just not at a very high level.  Next time we are at St. Mary’s it is super hero theme and I am going to have a great costume!
  Here is a LINK to my assesment for lab 2!

-Albert A. Mercado             

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rock Skipping

One of my many hobbies, rock skipping.  This was done first try at my friend Mike Brown's lake in Stormville NY.  Sorry for the video being sideways.  Hope you enjoy it!
-Albert A. Mercado

Should Dodgeball be in Physical Education??

                The question of the day is should dodge ball be in Physical Education? I want to make sure everyone understands we are talking about Physical Education in schools not at camps or clubs.  This is a huge debate in my Motor Development class; most of my class was for the game of dodge ball in our schools.  To be honest I was shocked and disappointed, my class consist of all physical education majors who should understand what we are trying to do as Physical Educators.  I want to start by asking a question, and I want you to think really hard and be honest with yourself.  "Why did you like dodge ball so much when you were growing up?" Your answer is probably, "Because I never got out and I was the dodge ball KING!!!"  I know as a student at Kent elementary school I loved dodge ball; I was so excited to play.  The reason I loved dodge ball so much was because I was usually one of the last one standing, I could throw a dodge ball very fast and my agility was lighting.  The reason most of my motor development class is for dodge ball in a physical education setting is exactly that, they are all fit and active, they were just like me one of the last ones standing in the game of dodge ball.  They think because they had a great experience playing this game; all the students will enjoy it.  Well, they are dead wrong!!! As a physical education teacher I want to change as many lives as I can, for the better.  I do not want any of my students looking back on their physical education experience and saying that teacher was mean, unfair and didn't care about us.  I want my students to look back and say, Mr. Mercado was the best teacher I had; I want them to remember me for the rest of their lives. Playing dodge ball is setting yourself up for failure, there is going to be a handful of students who love dodge ball but then the rest of your class is going to be miserable.  That can ruin their physical education experience and which might change their lives in a negative way.  That little boy who got hit in the face that day might never want to be around physical activities again.  The big picture here is, if one student might be negatively affected by this game then why play it?  Teaching dodging and teamwork can be done in many other ways than students throwing balls at each other.  Games like tag, dodge ball, duck duck goose are on the hall of shame for a reason.  The students who are "out" are the students who are not as physically fit as the others and therefore shouldn't be sitting out; they should be the ones practicing the skills they need to improve.  All my students improving on the skills they come into my class with is a huge goal of mine.  I don't care what skills you walk into my gym with, all I care about is what skills you walk out of my gym with.  If everyone got a little better by taking my class then I did my job correctly. Another reason I dislike dodge ball is there is no way to change the game.  If I set up an obstacle course and one of my students is scared of heights, I can change that part of the course so he/she feels comfortable in my lesson.  Now he/she is having fun that day and I know what we have to work on.  I can plan the rest of that week on heights and slowly work on that weakness.  If a student doesn't like being hit by balls and is scared there is no way to say no one hit each other, its dodge ball that’s the only point of the game.  Physical Educators have to always be on their toes, no matter what you have planned you're always going to have to switch stuff around for each class; this is part of being a good teacher. I hope everyone can read this post and fully understand why I strongly believe dodge ball should be banned from schools.  Thanks for your time!

-Albert A. Mercado

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How bad do you want it?

                       "Reach for the stars and if you don't make it you're still on top of the world." 
             This video is true, most people are worried about what other people think and what other people do.  We are individuals, you are the only one who knows your path to success. Do not let anyone tell you how to succeed, you know deep down inside of you what the right thing to do is.  Stand up for what you believe in and fully believe in what you are doing and you WILL succeed. 
              I will tell you a personal story most do not know about me.  When I was in high school I KNEW I was going to become a Physical Educator.  The only school I wanted to attend was SUNY Cortland.  Mid year my mother and I drove 30 minutes to the next town over, to go to a college fair.  I was so excited to speak to someone who actually worked at SUNY Cortland.  I walked past every college booth looking for the Cortland one.  I finally found the booth and starting asking questions and was bragging about all my extra activities and volunteer work I have done.  The lady at the booth was not impressed, she looked at me and asked me my GPA.  I was stunned because we were mid conversation about my mentor program and how I effected these three young freshman's lives.  I answered her question anyway. To my surprise she simply answered that my GPA and SAT scores were too low.  She said I should look at other colleges and do not even apply to Cortland.  This was the lowest I have felt in my entire life, I thanked her for her time and walked away.  I walked around the college fair in a daze, I couldn't beleive she just shot my dreams down. On the car ride home I was talking to my mom about the situation, she pulled over and taught me a life lesson that will stick with me forever.  She said, "Your better than this, you're going to let some college representive who doesn't know ruin your lifes dream? You're better than this, you will overcome her negative enegery and you will get into college and become the best Physical Education teacher in the country!" From that day on worked I so hard on getting into the school of my dreams.  I was emailing everyone and anyone trying to get my name known, I was volunteering in classrooms every week.  I have always been an average test taker, I am not going to let taking tests determine my life.  The day I was looking foward to finally came, my mother called me home one day and said, "I have somthing to open with you." I came home and saw the Cortland envelope, I was so nervous.  My stomach was in knots but I was still very confident.  I opened the envelope and started reading, once I saw the words, "Happy to inform you" I knew my dream came true. I was proud of myself, I could have left that college fair and let that lady's negative comments change my goals in life. I could have said you know she is right, my grades are't up to par I will apply next year.  I proved her wronjg, it was a great feeling.  This is what life is about, overcoming these negative things and succeeding.  Now a senior at Cortland I have had many more moments like this, but all these negaitive things that I have overcome have made me the person/teacher that I am today. I have great experiences because of times like this. I can apply what I have learned throughout my experiences and change my students lives.  Exactly what my mother has done for me, I am the man I am today because of my mother!  She is the most intelligent, caring, selfless, beautiful person I know. I have a pretty long path to becoming a Physical Education teacher but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Once I'm out of the tunnel and get a job I will start into another tunnel, I will always have goals in my life. I want to not only be a Physical Education teacher with my masters in special education, I want to get my administrative degree and become an athletic director.  I also would love to publish books on reasearch of my choice.  I am just excited about life and can not wait to see where God brings me! I hope someone reads this blog and it effects them in a positive way, my main goal in life is to positively effect as many people as I can.  Thank you for your time!

-Albert A. Mercado

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why are fundamental skill development and assessment is so important to our profession and health of our students?

Fundamental skill development is learning the basic movements involving two or more body segments categorized in three sections, stability, locomotor or manipulative movements.  Examples of each would be twisting and turning, running and jumping, and striking and throwing.  Learning these skills are very important, they all lead to more complex movements used in sports and everyday activities to stay fit.  If a student doesn’t learn these at an early age he or she might feel insecure about activities that include physical e activity.  If a person doesn’t feel comfortable in physical activity and doesn’t participate in these activities they are more likely to be overweight and have health problems. 
                Assessment is how the teacher knows what level his students are at, during that activity or period of time.  A teacher can test in the begging of a lesson, the first day.  This will tell the teacher where his students have started.  Then the teacher will teach the lessons and let the students practice.  At the end of the lesson the teacher can test once again and show the students how far they have came.  This will keep their moral up and they will be more likely to take the next lesson you have planned with a positive attitude.  “It’s not where you start, it’s where you end.”(Dr.Jeff Walkuski) Teachers love to see progress, that’s all that matters, we do not want to see all our students make it to the NFL but we would love to see all the students get better and take what they have learned and use it in their life.
-Albert A. Mercado

St. Mary's Lab #1

St. Mary’s Lab Write-up #1
(Click the word Lab to open up the lab)
This was the first day we visited St. Mary’s when there were children there, it was a memorable day.  I was very excited to meet all the children.  The day went really well, the students were very polite and respectful.  They listen to all the adults when they would speak to them.  I was outside with the older group of children and one of the students ran up the slide, one of the adults watching told him not to walk up the slide.  The child said, “Ok, sorry.” I thought this was very mature for someone his age, I was really impressed. When I was inside with the younger group of children before they ate snack they said grace and when they wanted more milk they raised their hands and asked politely.  This is a great way to run snack time; they were all on track the whole time.  There were some differences when the children were playing, both gender and age.  The girl students played jump rope, in the big toy houses and “patty cake”.  The boys played with all the sport toys like footballs, basketballs and dodge balls.  I thought nothing of this because this is normal in most school settings.  When I was interacting with the students I welcomed all students to play in my games.  I was playing tag and a bunch of relay races with the young students.  They also really impressed me; they were able to run backwards.  Some faster than others but they were able to doing many skills, including hopping, running, running backwards, skipping and sliding.  There were a boy and a girl who really stood out to me in the younger group I watched; they were very fast and athletic.  Another boy stood out to me in the younger group, he was the smallest out of the group and was attached to me.  He would try all the skills and succeed just a little slower.   The older kids were into more in depth games like transformers and cops.  They were doing the same skills but without thought, they were jumping, running and hopping just to play their part in the imagery game.  I also noticed the older students like to make the games up and be in control but the younger students liked when I made the games up and told them what to do.  I like working with younger children because you can affect them in many ways because they actually listen and want to learn.  I was getting a younger boy line up as a running back and take a hand off and run into the ‘touchdown”, I also taught him how to spike the ball for an end zone dance which was pretty funny ! This just showed me how eager they were to learn and how they can be molded into healthy, active people.  I am really excited for the next time we go back and actually get to have games planned!
-Albert A. Mercado