Sunday, November 8, 2009

CATCH me if you can

I really forgot how entertaining the circus was when I was young. This week, we incorporated a circus theme for the kids at St. Mary's. The kids were in love with the tie-dye wigs that Tim and I were wearing, as they were all trying to take them off our heads and wear them. Amy, another Cortland student who works at St. Mary's, was dressed up as a clown. She got a good rise out of the kids.
The motor movements we focused on were catching and throwing. I worked extensively with 3 kids. The first 2 boys I was playing catch with were very young, about 6 years old. Their throwing skills were more refined than their catching skills. They had a good foundation as far as their throwing mechanics, but it was not very fluid. That will come with practice. This was not the case with their catching skills. At first, it seemed as if they didn’t know how to maximize their hand-eye coordination properly. They were stabbing at the ball instead of trying to get under it and accept it. I showed them basic strategies on how to properly catch a ball. I used cues of extending their arms out properly, making a diamond, and "looking through the window." They immediately got the hang of it. After playing catch for 15 minutes and occasionally critiquing them, they were catching consistently. The third boy's name was Sheridan. He is a 6th grader. He and I have been having a football catch during free-play time for the past few visits. He is able to catch and throw effectively. What I worked on with him was throwing the ball with a tight spiral and accuracy. I showed him how to properly grip the ball around the laces. I also showed him how to properly use his non-throwing arm. This helped his body balance, which caused him to throw the ball more accurately. He told me that he noticed a difference. I had a great feeling at the end of the day as I taught 2 young boys how to catch and helped another boy throw a football effectively. The most rewarding feeling I got came when Sheridan told me that he wants to play on a football team next year. I have been slowly encouraging this idea for the past few weeks during several pep talks that we have had. He finally said he is going to play next year. I feel like I had a positive influence on his view towards the sport of football.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Enthusiasm is Contagious

Usually people who work a 9 to 5 tend to have a case of the "mondays." Well the kids at St. Mary's were as enthusiastic as i have seen them. Since I have been at St. Mary's, I have observed not only the kids, but effective teachings strategies as well. I have been utilizing such strategies lately, and I feel that is why the kids seem more and more enthusiastic. When I am interacting with the kids, enthusiasm is a must in order for me to keep the kids on their toes at all times. A few of the motor movement patterns we focused on was leaping, sliding and the horizontal jump. My group and I used animals as a means for the kids to relate to some of the games we were playing. We had them leaping like frogs, sliding like snakes, and jumping like kangaroos. The kids really loved how I was not only getting my point across to them, but I was being funny while doing it.
Since Halloween was this weekend, we decided to go with that as a theme for the day. The little kids were all telling me what they were dressing up as. I heard some really cool ones like Optimus Prime form transformers and Buzz-Lightyear from Toy Story. It was cool to reminisce about some of the costumes I wore when I was that age. Whenever I am around the kids, I think about fun things I did when i was in elementary school and it brings back great memories. I am always looking forward to spend time with the kids because of this I guess that I am not the only one keeping others enthusiastic, as the kids are doing the same to me!