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