Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Experience

This was the day I was waiting for all semester.  Finally I was designated to teach the gym group, which is the largest group and the rest of my class assess the children’s skills. All eyes are on you and I love a challenge so this was one of my favorite days.  I was all prepared and ready to teach and I look around and notice more children then usually.  Here comes the curve ball, usually there is only 15 students to teach, the day I had to teach there was 40 students ranging from kindergarten to 5th grade! My professor walked up to me and asked me if I can handle all these children, without thinking twice I said without a doubt! Like I said before I love a challenge and I knew this would be a great experience for me.  Not only was there 40 children, girls basketball practice was going on and we only had half the gym!  There was also a pie sale on the gym which just added to the chaos. Going outside of your comfort zone is how you learn; everything can not be nice and easy all the time.  I had such a cool game planned for these kids I was ready to start. A few days prior to class I made to turkeys out of one huge balloon and one small balloon, I wrapped these balloons in brown felt and made feathers out of index cards.  These look very cool and when the children laid their eyes on them they couldn’t wait to play.  Our objective in today’s class was to analyze the students kicking and dribbling (basketball dribbling) with proper form.  I made up this awesome game in my head one night.  I hung the turkeys from the basketball hoops about 6 inches off the ground.  One turkey on one side of the court and one on the other, I placed polly spots in a semi circle around the turkeys and placed a ball on each.  Not knowing there were going to be 40 kids I set up for 20, but thinking on my toes I paired an older student with a younger student and we did the same drill.  Being located in upstate New York I knew a lot of these children were exposed to hunting, so I designed a hunting game.  We were going to hunt this turkey and our weapons were our feet.  We had to kick this ball at the turkey, then run after our ball, and dribble it back to our partner who kicks it and repeats it.  The students had to count how many turkeys they have hit.  In my head this was a perfect game, but with 40 kids it was a little crazy, balls were flying everywhere! They were having a great time and really working up a sweat.  Then I started thinking, lets do a game where they have to retrieve the turkeys, I wanted them to work on dribbling more because they were so excited to hit the turkey they were skipping the dribbling part.  So thinking on my ties again, I blew my whistle and explained that now we have to go find the turkeys we have hunted and pick them up and bring them home. We are going to do this by dribbling up to the turkey, dribbling around the turkey and dribbling back to our partner. This worked well, and was a lot calmer.  If knew there was going to be this many students I would have made at least 2 more turkeys and made four groups but I think I did really well considering my situation.  The students loved the game and my costume. I dressed up as a Native American which really helped with their imagination.  I learned a lot from this experience and I was happy I was thrown a few curve balls.  I am very excited because I get to teach the gym group again next class and its Christmas theme so I am going to have such a fun game planned. Also I am going to think about variations of the game I have planned just incase I have anymore curve balls thrown at me.  I have such a love for teaching, I love standing in front of these children and teaching them skills and watching them have the time of their lives.  I love impacting people’s lives; a physical education teacher gets to see 30 children a class and multiple classes a day.  We are so lucky because we can impact so many children’s lives in one day, this is the best profession in the world and I can not wait to start!      

-Albert A. Mercado

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