Thursday, January 26, 2012

Assesment on Carmel's State report card

               Carmel Central School District is located in Putnam Country which is about 60 miles from New York City.  According to “Basic Educational data systems day”, the district population is 4,630 students with a class average of 23.  As a previous student of the school district I was proud to read their report card.  On the other hand a subject which is missing from the report card needs some change in this district.  Physical Education, which is not on the New York State report card, is lacking many beneficial aspects here in Carmel. The curriculum consisted of the tired six, including basketball, football, hockey, volleyball, ping pong and soccer.  If students within this district took the regents no one would be eligible to pass, students didn’t even get a chance to participate in nine activities, let alone be competent in six and proficient in three.  
               Due to the No Child Left Behind Act, districts have to report based on if students are proficient in different subjects.  These subjects include English language arts and Mathematics.  In the elementary and middle level students will also be tested on Science.  The secondary level will be tested on graduation rate for the third indicator.  Each subject has their own criteria to earn “district in good standing”, if this goal is achieved, the district is considered to be making adequate yearly progress.  
               The subjects of English language arts and Mathematics are the first two subject listed on the districts report card.  The district is accountable for the participation criterion and the performance criterion.  The participation criterion holds a percentage of students mandated to take the tests throughout each level of education, 95% is the overall census for each level.  The performance part of English language arts is measure by an annual measurable objective, 30 or more enrolled students have to exceed or equal this standard to achieve good standing.
               Although these criterions are similar to ELA and Mathematics, they have their differences.  Participation is measured by two grades in each level, 4th grade is responsible for elementary level and 8th grade for middle level.  Forty students have to take both of these examinations; this is the criterion to achieve a good standing mark from the state.  Similar to English and Math, performance is based upon exceeding or equaling a score, State Science Standard or Science Progress Target make up New York’s Science standard.  Like Elementary and Middle levels of education, secondary education is assessed based on standards, Graduation Rate Standard and Graduation Target Process is what the State holds this district to, which measures around 80%.  Levels one, two and three are all reasonable and all districts should be successful in scoring Adequate Yearly Process. 
               Proud to say I was a former Ram, Carmel has marked good standing throughout the report card.  Academics are not the problem in Carmel; in fact many students attend respectable Universities upon graduating.  Due to phenomenal athletics and no assessment from the State Physical Education goes unnoticed and viewed as not important.  This is depressing to see because I know how much positive can come out such an important subject, a strong physical education program will only improve what Carmel has to offer.           

Most don't know this but Physical Education is ready to be accepted into the regents’ family. We have everything planned out and have been on the door step of success for years. With help we can make this dream come true. Most are asking why, who cares? This is benefiting each child in New York State; this will be a way to asses’ teachers in the physical education field. Once a regent test is implemented, it will be impossible to only roll the ball out and do six activities throughout the year, not one student will pass. This will push away lazy physical education teachers who do not really care about students, more dedicated students can take their place and watch their students reach level four on the regents.

-Albert A. Mercado

the teacher I WILL be

(Bulletin board I made about “How to keep your heart healthy.”)

The values one believes in comes to light throughout the way people live their life and treat others.   As an individual grows these beliefs change due to personal experiences and unique thoughts.  It is evident not all people develop proper beliefs; most just need a role model to steer them in the proper direction. A spark to ignite this positive thought process which will then produce the physical lifestyle that will generate success and health is what I can offer as a Physical Educator.    
            All children are delicate and the slightest statement or experience can change ones beliefs.  As an educator I want my precious time with each class to count, every second in that 45 minute period I want students gaining knowledge.  Let it be known that Mr. Mercado’s physical education class not only produces physically fit students but also honest, hard working, trust worthy, accountable, courageous leaders with integrity.  Educating students on character is by far the biggest accomplishment I have set for myself.  Once an educator has students with character, vital concepts like life time fitness and nutrition will be taught with ease.  Realizing not all students will be taught values from guardians or parents, it is my calling to instill proper attitudes and thoughts in the future adults of our country. I love effecting student’s lives in a positive manor; it is a passion of mine and I feel physical education is an ample environment to character build. 
            Obesity is an ongoing endeavor Americans deal with on a daily basis; lack of education can cause one to suffer from this horrible disease.  Students are the infantry of this war on obesity; some have been captured by this horrible enemy but can still fight back with weapons of knowledge and commitment. As an educator I see myself as a high ranking leader who has proper education and skills to mentor these students to be physically fit. My classroom will not be that of a boot camp but will be welcoming for all students, adapted daily for each individual.  Winning and score is not a priority but self expression is imperative and encouraged.  Baseline formative and summative assessments will be taken to determine implications of class data.  Untypical sports and activities will be played to alter perception or sport and to level the playing field.  Students will not only work with another they will act as teachers and insight thoughts and ideas they have personally absorbed.  This is just a taste of what I have in store for my future students; my plan keeps growing due to personal growth and experiences. 
            The outcome of a well rounded physical education program will produce physically and mentally healthy students with established values and admirable characteristics.  As a physical educator I will do whatever it takes to be known as one of the greatest teachers who have impacted many lives.  I want students to look back on their education and not only remember content but remember life lessons to pass on to upcoming generations.  I would love to be a part of the destruction of the obesity misfortune and have my students’ live long healthy lives.  With my dedication and passion of physical education my goals will be set and a new generation of physical educators will be born from my insight, just like I am connecting the cycle for my professors and role models.   

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Final Day of Observation in Highland Middle School

Today is the last day of my observation experience.  Where did the time go? I felt like this time went by way to fast.  Overall it was an amazing experience, my host teachers and host schools were very welcoming, they helped me so much.  Since last class we worked on lower body and kicking, I wanted to go back to upper body and work on throwing.  I decided to use a game I learned at the state conference this year.  It is a variation of baseball.  Most the same rules the only real difference is there is no bat. The “batter” is allowed to throw the ball instead of hit the ball.  I started the game off where the pitcher has the ball and under hand pitches the ball to the “batter”.  If the batter drops the ball its strike one, if the pitcher throws the ball far away from the batter and he doesn’t touch it, its ball one.  Three strikes you’re out and four balls you take a base.  There is no bunting, so the ball has to land outside the three point arc, which was about 8 ft from home base. If the batter throws two fouls or hits the ceiling they are out.  Home runs are the back wall above the matt. We only had one home run all day!  No sliding, leading, stealing or pegging. We used a rubber ball with bells inside of it, it was more difficult to field and catch.  Using different size balls will make the game harder or easier.  When I explained the game the students thought it would be so easy, once we started playing they realized it is harder than it seems.  We had some very close games and even a tie during one period.  Very rarely does someone strike out, so everyone feels like they are participating.  In the dugout I encourage the students to cheer and make chants.  The game goes fast because mostly everyone catches the first pitch, so people aren’t sitting out very long.  I think Highland middle school enjoyed this game and every time we ended a game they wanted to pay longer.  This is something they can play outside during recess because there is no need for a bat and the rules are very easy.  This works on throwing and catching in many different ways.  Also running and teamwork, students would talk in the dugout where to throw the ball next to better the chance of advancing the running on base.  I am thankful for having a host teacher who allowed me to use my imagination and explain all the rules.  This helped me a lot and gave me more confidence in my self.  I was sad to leave the school but I am looking forward to a new semester and know there will be more experiences and more schools in my future. 
For more information about this baseball variation, go to
-Albert A. Mercado

Highland Middle School Experience (day four)

After playing castle crashers with all the physical education groups, I wanted to play another new game with the students.  They were use to playing basketball, volleyball or dodge ball. I wanted them to understand that physical education is not only about sports. We can play other games that will increase overall skill level and be a lot more fun then the old scrimmages.  Since castle crashers worked on throwing and more upper body, I wanted to do another game focusing on lower body.  I implemented a game we called world cup soccer.  Once again there were four teams which had to choose a country name, different than last time.  Each team had their own goal in the four corners of the gym.  Similar to castle crasher, the team had to defend their goal but also score on other teams goals.  I allowed them to choose who played goalie, defense and offense. Each team had three bowling pins behind their goal, these were the trophies.  When another team scored on another team’s goal they take a trophy and put it behind their goal.  If a team looses all trophies, they do not sit out. The goalie and defense become offense and help their team score; once they score they take a trophy and go back to regular formation. I started the game out with one ball then threw in another one to make it more interesting.  This game was a lot of fun, in order to keep it safe we implemented some rules.  The ball can not be off the ground, if someone scores and it’s off the ground it doesn’t count.  This makes them work on passing and moving to open space, instead of just kicking the ball.  We also lined the field with cones, if the ball went out of the cones. The closest team, other than the team who kicked it out properly throws the ball in.  This game worked well and the students really enjoyed them selves.  While explaining this game, I learned asking for understand is key.  Throughout the explanation asking the students a question about the game is important.  This makes sure they are listening and understand how to play.  Tomorrow is my last day and I am going to come to school with a brand new game.  My host teacher loved both of my games and said she is going to use them in the future.  She also took my email down so I can send her more of my ideas. I felt great because a teacher who already has a job likes my ideas and wants to know more.  Once again I am eager to start student teaching so I can make new games up for a whole half of a year. 

-Albert A. Mercado

Highland Middle School

Today is the third day here at the midde school, we played castle crashers throughout the day and the students were having a great time.  On my host teachers “prep” period I decided to go into the gymnasium and teach the other classes castle crashers.  Of course I asked the other PE teacher if it was alright, and he said it was fine.  I figured this would give me more experience with speaking in front of a large group of students.  I really got a feeling for explaining a game for a whole day; you kind of figure the best way to present the game.  You want the game to be explained in a short manor so they can get to playing it but they also have to understand how to play.  The warm ups that the teacher had they doing was do a lap around the gym.  I think that is a terrible warm up so I implemented a game that would be fun and they would be warming up without knowing it.  It’s called circle tag, after breaking the students up into their castle crashers team; I sat them down and demonstrated circle tag with them. I used one team as an example I an explained.  One person is “it” and the rest of the team is working together.  They need to link arms and form a circle.  The team decides who the person who is “it” has to tag.  Then the circle has to work together on shielding the person who is “it” from tagging one of the members.  This is really fun because the person who is it has a lot of running to do and the group has to communicate to be successful.  Once the link is broken or the person gets tagged the person who was getting tagged becomes “it” and the team picks a new person to get tagged.  It is a quick game to warm students up and it also gets them to feel comfortable with one another before a bigger, complex team game like castle crashers.

-Albert A. Mercado

Highland Middle School Experience day two

The big day has finally come! Today is the day I get to implement a game into the Highland Middle School program.  I brought a list of games and let my host teacher pick her favorite, I couldn’t pick!  She picked a game called Castle Crashers.  There are four teams in four equal territories, marked out by cones. The field is cut like a pizza pie, the center of the gym is the middle and the four teams each have a slice (territory). There are two “castles” on each territory.  The castle is three orange cones stacked on top of each other inside a hula hoop.  The object of the game is to knock the other team’s castle down by throwing balls at the castle, without leaving your territory.  Both teams are throwing balls so there is also a defensive part of the game, the students have to stand outside the hula hoop and guard their castle. They can use a ball to block the incoming attack or use their bodies.  Once I split the students into teams, they have to pick a country to call their team and make a strategy.  They have free will to pick their formation; they might have four on defense and two on offense or everyone on defense. I also gave them hints about working together, or using plays.  I gave them a few examples, one play could be rapid fire which would be all offensive players grab a ball and throw at the same time.  Another play is under over, one player rolls the ball while another throws it.  The pass worked very well, that’s when one student pretends to throw the ball but actually passes it to a teammate who attacks.  Also when one castle is knocked down the castle can be rebuilt, as long as the other castle is standing. Once both castle are knocked down they are not out, they can shoot a ball in the opposite basketball hoop and they are back in the game.  No one is ever sitting out and multiple times the teams made the basket and they were so excited.  The first game the two countries next to each other played, so two games were going on.  This was to allow the students to get a feel for a game and see if they can listen to the rules. They were use to playing dodge ball so they asked what happens when you get hit, nothing happens, no one should be sitting out in PE.  Also I had to remind them not to throw it at each other but aim at the castles.  This is a great game because the students who don’t mind getting hit with balls played defense and the students who disliked getting hit played offense. Of course I told them this when explaining the game. Once the first game went well, we played another game of battle royal. Now all teams can throw at one another.  Since the field is cut like a pizza, the teams have three teams to throw at but also three teams to defend from.  This threw another option into the game, they can make allies, and two teams can team up and throw at the same time.  This game was a huge hit, my host teacher loved it and so did all the students. One period I saw girl who hasn’t changed all year who sits out during PE running and helping a team grab balls, I asked her if she wanted to play.  She said yes and I let her join a team even though she had her school clothes on, I figured at least she can get some exercise and maybe she will change next class since she had some fun.  I was happy to see even the disengaged students like my game.  This game has a lot of benefits, from team work to manipulative skills when stacking the cones. Tomorrow we will play the same game so the other students in the school can see how it works.   
-Albert A. Mercado

First experience in Highland Middle School

Today was the first day in the middle school.  I was a lot more confident going into this school because the High School went so well.  I was excited to be back in a school setting.  I met with my host teacher one of the first days I was home from break; I went to both the High School and Middle School to introduce myself, so this wasn’t the first time meeting my host teacher.  I came to the school very early because I like to prepare for the day, maybe help set up or just look over the binder I have to complete during this experience. I noticed the physical education teachers came into the school very late.  This made me realize I will never come late; they start their day off wrong.  I want to come very early so I can set up the first activity for 1st period so the students have more playing time. It is very unfair to set up games or activities during the student’s period.  They need every minuet of time to be active.  I wish more physical education teachers felt this way.  1st period they played star wars capture the flag dodge ball.  I wrote up a whole blog about how I feel about dodge ball in a school setting, if you want to know exactly what I said scroll down and click older post (maybe twice) it was one of the first blogs I wrote.  I don’t think dodge ball shouldn’t be played in a school, I have many reasons but I will not get into that. I watched the entire day and saw the negative results, some kids loved dodge ball but others were terrified.  Multiple students went to the nurse and the environment was just hostile.  One period we had to run a study hall, an option I thought was really cool and helpful was the students were allowed to go to the gymnasium and participate in physical education if they didn’t want to stay in the study hall.  This was amazing to see because it gave another period for students to be active.  I really liked this idea and will try to implement this into my future school. During our preparation period, which was a break, the teacher asked me if I knew any fun new games I could show the class.  Me? I have millions! I was so excited to prepare a great game for these students.  She told me all day tomorrow the students can play my game.  I went home and went through all my notes and searched for the perfect game.  I couldn’t just pick one, so I prepared a list of 5 and went to bed eager to go to school tomorrow.  This is no exaggeration, physical education is my passion and I love making a game up or tweaking something I learned before and presenting it to a class and seeing these students run around and enjoy what I have made.  It’s a great feeling and I feel accomplished when they are sweating walking out of the gymnasium saying that was so much fun I wish we could play this all day.  That’s the thing with students they will tell you how they feel no matter what, they will tell you the game was boring if it was boring and you just have to learn from their feedback and try not to make a mistake again.

-Albert A. Mercado

Last Day at Highland High School

Today was the last day I was in the High School, I am really sad.  This was a great experience and I learned a lot.  This experience made me very excited to graduate and get into my career.  I noticed I had a huge impact on the students and the entire school. I didn’t even get to teach to show them my real skill, I was only interacting with them and they seemed to enjoy my presence.  Physical Education is the career for me; I have a chance to impact so many lives! Today was fun we had little parties in each health class, we had food and watched Christmas movies.  It was really relaxing and the students enjoyed it. During physical education class the students chose basketball, badminton or ping pong and the coach played Christmas music. It was a nice day to say the least.  9th period there was a pep rally!  I was in the gymnasium helping set up when the jazz band came in and started playing.  This was incredible to watch, these students were so talented!  I was stunned, it sounded like they were professionals.  There were two drummers, one drummer sat on the others lap with one stick and the other held the other stick and they started playing.  This is very difficult because they are only using one arm and they have to keep the same beat.  Then the students started flowing in, everyone was excited.  The Highland Husky mascot came running out but there was a surprise.  He started taking his uniform off and Santa was under the costume.  This was very funny, Santa announced all the students on the sport teams and they came running out.  Then the band played for a while which was great.  Then the played two big games of knock out, two students from each grade, it was very entertaining.  Then they played a big game of musical chairs and the same girl won from last year! Then the bell rang and everyone went home.  It was a great ending to a wonderful week here in Highland.