Thursday, December 22, 2011

Highland High School Experience

Today in Highland high school was eventful to say the least! First period I worked with a student on shooting the basketball, he was shooting the ball improperly.  This was affecting the flight of the ball; he was not making any shots.  I worked with him for a few seconds and he practiced then the students started playing knock out.  He listened to my advice and won second place!  This student was not use to winning and was so happy.  The other students could not believe he was winning either, I told the students to not judge anyone because with practice anyone can become skilled.  This made me feel great that I helped a student; I hope he remembers my advice and enjoys playing basketball. During all my study periods my host teacher let me stay in the gym and observe the other physical education teachers lessons.  They were doing the same unit, basketball, ping pong, badminton but it was a new set of students which I enjoyed.  Third period was my host teachers planning period; I am way ahead with my work so I decided to sit in on a physical education class.  The period started off normal and I was shooting around with a group of girls.  About half way through the period out of the corner of my eye I see two girls arguing and getting very close to one another.  I walked over to see if they were just joking or if it was serious.  This was serious the two girls were about to fight!  I couldn’t believe this, what were odds a fight was going to happen within the five days I was there and happen right near me.  I did not want the two students to fight so I stepped in between the two students and told them to calm down and relax.  The entire time I am waving my arms to get the coaches attention but he doesn’t see me.  I was yelling for him but no one could hear me over the Christmas songs playing in the gym. Finally he saw I what was going on before the students began to fight; I was still acting like a barrier at this time.  When the coach came over to me they went at each other, they were punching and scratching, the coach grabbed one girl as the principals ran into the gym. This was very intense and I think I handled it correctly. Although I would never want anyone to fight, this was a good experience for me and I learned a lot from this situation.  If that was my class I would always be watching, if I wasn’t in the gym these girls would have been fighting for minuets before he saw.  Also having a whistle at all times is important, if I had my whistle I could have gotten the teachers attention quickly.  Always have the walky talky on hand also, the coach called the principal as he was running over, this cut the time the principals got to the fight in half.  I am glad no one got hurt and I was in the gym at that time. The next few periods I switched things up and worked with the badminton group, this was fun because I love that sport.  I was teaching them the concept of hitting really far then hitting it very close.  Also hitting it in different corners of the court really helps.  Many do not know but there is a lot of strategy in badminton, luckily I had the opportunity to take racquet activities with Mr. Fuchs who is one of the best.  I am sad tomorrow is my last day and I will miss the students and staff.  

Albert A. Mercado     

Highland High School Experience

Day Three

Period one was health class; we were finishing up watching the last of the presentations on mental illnesses.  We watched the presentations on amnesia, hypochondrias, autism and multiple personalities to name a few.  Cursing was a problem today the students had to be talked to multiple times about their language.  Period two the students had an assembly, this was a former student talking about the military.  The speaker touched on his back ground, starting from high school on.  He went to the air force academy and is very successful.  He is a positive influence on these students and I think everyone benefited from his speech.  After his background he talked about life and three lessons to follow.  Lesson one is mind over matter, do not mind the things that don’t matter.  His examples were drama and high school stress; he was explaining that what to wear tomorrow and who kissed who is not important in life.  Focus on school and family which will always be very important. Lesson two, Appreciate tomorrows memories today.  Tomorrow is another day to really succeed, do not stress over today’s failures because tomorrow is a success. Lesson number three use present to prepare the future, work hard today and tomorrow will be a success.  Working hard now will pay off, and the future will be bright.  I enjoyed his speech and thought they way he present was great for a high school setting, he joked a lot and still had a positive lesson.  I think teachers should have more life long talks with students and really influence positive thought.  During lunch I was introduced to an adapted physical education teacher from the Boces program.  His name was Roy Spieling; he was here to work with a few students.  Instead of lunch I chose to observe and work with him.  He seemed really passionate about physical education and I knew I could learn a lot from him.  We worked with a student who was visually impaired, we played basketball.  She was amazing; she was making shots left and right.  I was very impressed and with her skill level.  We were playing around the world. I enjoyed working with this student because she was so grateful and really listened to every word we said.  I would really love to get involved with the adapted community.  I am going to keep in touch with Mr. Spieling and hopefully have to opportunity to work with him again.  This week is flying by and I am trying to make the best of this experience while it last because before you know it I will not be at Highland high school.    

-Albert A. Mercado

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Highland Experience

                                                     Day 2/Highland high school

The second day at the Highland high school was great; I am learning a lot from this experience and grateful for this opportunity. Period one was Physical education and I did a C-9 assessment on the lesson. This assessment checks for the essential elements of instruction, teaching style and strengths and weaknesses of the lesson.  According to my host teacher, the week before the holidays they allow the students to have kind of a recreational physical education class where they get to choose a sport and just play.  I do not know if I agree with this so much because it is basically recess and this is vital time that can be used to learn.  So there was not much to assess during the lessons throughout the week.  The students pick from basketball, ping pong or badminton and play for the whole period.  Period two was health class; we were still watching the student’s projects about mental health. This was the last day; the students had to hand in their packets with all the definitions.  They also had to write two paragraphs on the mental health unit. Fourth period was another physical education class, this time I was not filling a assessment out so I was able to interact with the students.  There were 16 students playing basketball and they were shooting for captains for one team.  This is where I came in and broke them up into four teams and told them to play half court.  This allowed more participation and no one was sitting out.  I kept giving the students pointers on how to create space and tips on how to succeed in basketball.  They really enjoyed my help.  I noticed on student was left out and not being passed the ball and standing in one spot.  In order to get him involved I made a rule up for the games, no one can shoot unless everyone touches the ball.  This increased passing and made everyone feel a part of the team.  This worked well because the one student was moving around more and even shot the ball. It felt so good to help a student out, I felt like I made his day.  After class I walked up to him and told him he did a great job and gave him a high five.  He smiled and I could tell he appreciated the help.  This is a great example of why I love to teach, that simple moment made this whole experience worth wild.  Seventh period we had another health class, we did the same exact thing as the period two health class, students handed in their work and the bell rang. The last period of the day was another physical education, once again the students got to choose a sport and they played the whole class.  This class was smaller and didn’t need my help with setting up a game, we just shot around and I gave some positive feedback to the students.  They seemed to enjoy when I commented on how well they were shooting, I don’t know if enough teachers do that.  The entire school is getting to know me and students come up to me and ask me if I can stay in Highland and be their coach.  It makes me feel proud that the students enjoy my company, I am affecting student’s life in a positive way and that is all I can ask for. I am excited for the rest of the week; hopefully I can have more great experiences.   

Monday, December 19, 2011

Highland high school experience

Day One
The first day of the field experience went well; I noticed a few things have changed since I was in high school.  The students are always on their phones, all day long! The students are also a little disrespectful to teachers, when I was in school when a teacher said something we listened.  Maybe it was because I was there and they were showing off, the host teacher Mrs. Bowman said they are usually like that though.  I was very surprised the way the students talked back and how much they were on their phones.  If I taught at the school I would go to the principal and explain a rule about cell phones needs to be in place.  First period I was in a health class with all juniors with a few seniors.  The class was watching the video/audio of their projects on mental illnesses. They used a program called photo story, this was a slide show they made with a recording of themselves in the background.  This was very interesting and I liked the project idea.  The students had to write every illness’s definition down as the projects were played; this was going to be collected for a grade later in the week.  Some students did not even write or watch the slide while other watched and took notes.  I observed four health classes; each class was watching their projects.  Every class a student was talked to about their cell phones, sometimes multiple students. The students did the reports on illnesses like Clinical depression which is a mental disorder characterized by all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self esteem, by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.  Another example would be Bipolar, mood swings, periods of very good or irritable mood depression.  Seasonal affect disorder, which is types of depression throughout a season, usually winter.  Other illnesses the students did their projects on are, anti-social disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, dependent personality, narcissism, histrionic personality disorder, dementia, amnesia, autism, ADD and hypochondrias. The periods I observed the health classes were 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th. 
            During my free periods I went to the main office and got a copy of the student handbook.  I asked Mrs. Bowman to print a copy of a lesson plan which she did.  I also asked her to print out of the grading policy of physical education and health. I am trying to do as much work in the begging so I do not have much work at the end of the week.  I felt I did a lot of work for the first day; I am on the right path.
            8th period I finally had a physical education class!  I was very happy to get out of a classroom and into a gym.  The students were finishing up fitness test and picking new sports to play for the upcoming classes.  The fitness testing was on sit-ups, curl ups and a pacer test. The grading sheet I copied also had pull ups and mile run on there, but I don’t know if they were actually tested on those.  After the students picked their sport it was free play basically, students grabbed basketballs and footballs and played.  The teacher walked around and tested the students who still didn’t test their fitness.  I played horse with a student for awhile, and then played knock out with a bunch of students.  We were having a great time! I noticed the students were much better behaved inside the gym then inside the classroom.  All the students enjoyed a new face and were asking me questions all day long, they really like young teachers. The class flew by and before you know it the bell rang and they had to go change, I talked with my host teacher and she told me a lot of students do not like to dress out.  She pointed to a student on the bleachers and explained he is one that never dresses out.  I knew I had to do an interview with a disengaged student and I asked Mrs. Bowman if I could ask him a few questions.  While the other students were changing I was interviewing the student on why he doesn’t like to change. The interview went well and I felt accomplished. Tomorrow there are three physical education classes so I am excited to be in the gymnasium more.    

-Albert A. Mercado

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Prezi about my low and high times in my life, in relation to movement.   Click the link to watch!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Last St. Mary's Experience

This was a very sad day, this was the last time our class would be visiting St. Mary's school.  Our theme was Christmas! For the second time in a row my group was the "gym" group and we did the first few activities with the children.  I am so thankful for being the gym group twice, it was such a great experience and I had a blast.  For my game, I tweaked a game I learned at a mini conference here at Cortland.  I named it Santa's run away present.  I used a huge medicine work out ball as the present, of course I spiced it up a little and wrapped the ball in wrapping paper and but bows all over it.  This was the runaway present!! The story behind the game was Santa’s sleigh was very packed this year and one present fell off this year. The present was a massive ordainment for a huge Christmas tree, so if this present hits the ground it will break.  Santa needs everyone’s help to make sure this doesn't hit the ground and it gets the proper house.  After the explanation and story behind the game I demonstrated the game. After the demonstration I partnered the students up and showed them where the starting point was.  How you play the game is, partners lay on their back feet touching.  Two more partners lay on their back feet touching right next to the first partners, so on and so forth. So we have all the students paired up and laying down making a path.  Now the tricky part, I roll the present over the student’s feet, once the present rolls over one group’s feet they have to get up and run to the end of the path of students and lay down again and wait for the present to come.  Basically they have to make a never ending path so the present doesn't touch the ground.  I used partners in this activity because we had so many students; usually each student just lies side by side. This is a great game because it really gets the students moving, it always works on teamwork and flexibility. There are many adaptations a teacher can do to this game, allowing the students to push the ball along themself and time how long it gets from one side of the gym(Santa’s sleigh) to the other side (home where present is going to).  This allows them to use communication skills, saying speed up or slow down the present.  If a teacher is working on a skill like skipping, the teacher can say once the present rolls over you, skipping is the only way to get to the end of the path.  I would use this when I know the students can do the skill because they will be rushing so you want to make sure they have the proper form before.  This will challenge them because it is a race against the clock; the ball rolls fast so it is fun.  Also changing the theme up is a possibility, saying runaway train is a great idea, say the breaks went out on the train and we need to make sure it gets back to the station safely.  There are endless opportunities with this game, just use your imagination.  The students at St. Mary's loved this game, the only problem was the first time the ball went a little fast and it got a little crowded at the end of the path, so start very slowly so the students understand and learn a nice flow to their movement.  Using props like a present really works wonders; they are so drawn to anything I make.  It is very simple to do and allows the students to really get into the game.  Their imagination flows when they actually see a huge present or see a turkey hanging from the basketball hoop. I cannot wait to have my own gym so I can make stuff daily, I would love to dress my gym up so the students just enter a whole new world when they come to my class. I am sad we will not be back to St. Mary's this semester, but I will definitely be visiting next semester. This winter I will be observing at Highland school district, I will be in the middle school for a week and then the high school for another week. I am so excited to see another district and watch how these teachers run their class; I will be taking a lot of notes and have a binder full of work to do about this experience.  Thanks for reading about my St. Mary experiences!

-Albert A. Mercado