Monday, May 11, 2009

Exercise and Cancer

Powerhouse PC Game on Fighting Cancer

I just downloaded and played a PC game called "Re-Mission", a game meant to help patients learn more about and deal with cancer, and to teach others about what is really going on inside the body when cancer attacks.  

You can read a little more about the game HERE

I'm not really a video games type of guy but I caught myself really getting into this game especially once I learned how to move around efficiently and ration out my ammunition.  In the game your ammunition was chemotherapy and other modes of cancer fighting agents and it walked you through the process of how and why it hurts us humans.  I thought it was very informative and has great graphics and sounds.  It also adds quite a bit of humor to the game which is always nice.

Here are some screen shots that I took while I was playing that I made into a slide show on Picasa!

Below are a few pictures of me captured while I was playing... I was really getting into it!!!


Friday, May 8, 2009

City Park Collegiate Experience

Oh Canada!  What a great country!  I have been fortunate enough to have visited different parts of this expansive nation numerous times. Some of my favorite places visited include:  Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City.  I was lucky enough to stay at the beautiful Chateau du Frontenac in Quebec as I was a chaperone for my mother's French Club school trip.  Many people speak French up in Quebec and Montreal but as you go west there is less of a French influence.  Although I have not journeyed that way yet I believe there are more Native Americans and have heard the landscape is breathtaking in some areas specifically the Banff area. enough about me and on to the case I just learned about!  

The City Park Collegiate Experience is taking place in Saskatoon which is in the province of Saskatchewan (see map below with arrow).
I am pumped up about this article!  I can see myself getting into something along these lines.  I think that what this teacher Allison Cameron has done is absolutely amazing and inspiring.  She has found a way to reach students that have built up such an armor against any and all types of authority.  

Watch the video HERE!  

The results of this experiment are not surprising.  I'm just glad that someone stepped up and made it happen.  Research has shown a correlation between exercise and learning and they even brought in a Harvard researcher to back up many of the neurological processes that are taking place while the body is performing activities.  I really liked the fact that students started changing their lives as well as learning math, etc.  In particular the Native American student that turned away from drinking, taking drugs, and smoking because of this initiative is truly remarkable. In the end reading, math, and comprehension levels sky rocketed and more teachers started using these avenues of "getting through" to their students.

I think what Ms. Cameron is doing here is ideally what the state of New York and probably many other places would love to be accomplishing.  Touching on the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains with active involvement and compliance from the students is a dream to strive for.

Personally, I feel that P.E. should be part of the report cards and students should have to have a Regents test in order to prove they know the basics about staying and/or becoming physically fit and prove that they can meet certain criteria in order to move on.

Great ideas! I think that something has to change soon and this article is moving in the right direction.  Rolling out the ball and telling students to play doesn't work anymore as we saw in the video with many standing around.  We have to get them engaged and stimulate their minds along with their bodies!

Monday, April 27, 2009

African Stepping- (D Lab)

When this assignment was originally given I must admit that I was a little overwhelmed about trying to teach a non-traditional dance lesson that I had absolutely no clue about.  I did some research online and contacted a group on campus called The Cortland Elite Steppers to gather more information.  It was really interesting to learn about the history and to watch YouTube videos of dancers in action and competition performing this high-energy dance style.

When the day arrived I started with an Instant Activity dance called "The Cha Cha Slide" and got them into activity within 30 seconds of class beginning.  Many of the components of this dance are also involved with African Stepping.  In the song instructions are given to hop, stomp, and clap and everyone recognized and was receptive to the catchy beats of this popular party song.  It lasted right around four minutes and got everyone warmed up and was a nice segway into my lesson.

I gave a solid but brief introduction about where, when, and how this dance originated.  Next, I had a little surprise up my sleeve.  Instead of showing them a video of a demonstration I coordinated a live demo from two of The Cortland Elite Steppers (Brittany and Alex).  I thought that this was extremely powerful and noticed the wide eyes of the students when I whistled for the two dancers to enter the gym.  In hindsight I realize that if a teacher can be creative like this it will really captivate and motivate students.  The choreographed demo in unison was awesome! Thanks Brittany and Alex!!

After the demo I told the students to spread out and offered a safety statement about watching where they stomp and to give ample room for each other.  Then we moved on to the basic components of African Stepping and I gave appropriate cues to follow.  I was able to pinpoint and offer some intra-task variation (see clips below) and give feedback...mostly general.  

Here are some examples of...(SEE VIDEO AT BOTTOM OF POST)

Pinpointing:  (I single out Dylan at the 7:45 point in the video and show the class how he properly stomps down from a 90 degree angle on both feet).

Intra-task variation:  (At 8:28 in the video I give Ephrain an easier option for clapping between his legs and then go over to Kevin to give him a more difficult task.  Then I came back over to Chris to give him an easier variation as well).

I decided to break the large group up into two smaller working with Brittany and Alex and one group working with me as we learned more detailed steps.  I had a nice visual poster that instructed the proper dance moves so if I stepped away from the group for a moment they could carry on without me. Periodically I sent people over to the camera/t.v. station where they could see themselves on video performing some of the learned tasks.  I thought this also worked well but looking back I would have done something different.  I would have had Alex at one group and Brittany at another with me moving back and forth and around both groups.  Also, I didn't give enough specific congruent feedback to the students but offered many general feedback comments.

To wrap up our lesson right on time I brought everyone in and checked for understanding once again.  I also was able to hook them into our next lesson by telling them that next class we were going to have home made instruments along with our dancing.  I thought everyone had a great time and I feel that I touched on the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains in this lesson and I definitely felt much more comfortable leading the class.  In comparison to early on in the semester I noticed major improvement in my teaching style and confidence and the student's weren't just standing there listening to me talk...they were participating and enjoying the activity this time.

 Feels good to have rocked hard in this class!  Woohoo!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Belle Sherman 5k and Kids Fun Run

What a day!

"Whew!!!!!  Hot!!!!! but fun!!!" is what you would have heard from runners and spectators today down at the Belle Sherman 5k and Kids Fun Run in Ithaca, NY.  I got down to the school about 45 minutes before start time to help out with the organization, meet people, and help the young runners get ready for the race.  Race director Cindy informed me of the course and let me know how she envisioned the race happening.

As we got closer to race time I was able to work with some runners (ages ranging from 1st grade to middle school) in getting their muscles warmed up as well as their heart rates, although that was easy to do with the temperatures rising into the 80's!  I also gave them some advice about getting mentally prepared, a very important part of racing, and of course to have fun! 

Here are some of the race faces ready to out! 



 Once the race started the pack thinned out a bit and I hung toward the back encouraging youngsters to keep pumping their arms and trying to motivate them as well.

Everyone finished and some opted to go out for another loop.  Regardless of how many quarter mile loops were run everyone got a homemade finisher's medal.

After the "Fun Run" it was time to get ready for the 5k start.  I was so amazed at how many youngsters were running this race.  Three miles is a long way and the scorching heat just added to the challenge.  I have never been at a 5k race where the starting line was taken over by 4 and a 1/2 footers.  I made my way to the start to give some words of advice of not starting out too fast and pacing smartly and to make sure everyone was stretched out and mentally ready.  Then I had to get them pumped up by smacking high fives all the way down the row and told them to have fun and run strong!

In the end everyone found out a little bit more about themselves.  Some adults and kids alike found that maybe they got a little out of shape over the winter and maybe this was some motivation to get back into it.  

Of course there were some bloody knees from a fall, kids feeling sick from over running and the heat, and people not satisfied with their times but overall a great vibe from this event.  Seeing people smile from this sense of accomplishment from physical activity is one of the reasons I got into this field and look forward to helping more students in the many races to come!  

Happy Running! 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lab C- China in Cortland (round two)

Ms. Fromm and I shared our class time again going over an instant activity to get the class warmed up and then elaborated more on The Eight Basic Exercises used in China.

I ran into a couple of obstacles from the beginning. First, we had some cards printed and laminated that expedited the instructions for the instant activity. I could not find them for the life of me and I had the students count off numbers in order to get into groups. It all worked out fine but it took up way more time than I would have if I had the cards. I learned again that I really just need to get the students into activity MUCH sooner!

I have noticed again that I need to keep things much more simple. The more complex a certain activity is the more I need to explain and then I start losing attention spans.

My time coding plan (CLICK HERE) displays the breakdown of management, waiting, instruction, and activity.

Another boo boo I made was going way over my allotted almost two minutes over! Gotta work on that one as well. I looked down at my stop watch about half way through and realized that I must have not touched the button hard enough because it never started! Actually I've done this in a race before too and it was very frustrating not knowing "where you stand" according to time.

I also was thrown for a loop a little bit as Professor Yang secretly told Heather to just stand there and not perform any of the exercises. Finally, I noticed that she was not participating and I went over and asked why. She said she could not move her arms. I really did not know what to do in this situation so I just told her to stay put. In hindsight I probably should have tried to find some sort of alternate activity for her using her legs or something.

All in all I am feeling much more comfortable in front of the class and incorporating the different required tasks.

Spring Break is over and now it's time to buckle down for the rest of our semester! Keep on keepin' on!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lab C- China in Cortland (round 1)

I thought this was an interesting assignment meant to teach us more about physical activity in different cultures. It reminded me of a class I took a couple of semesters ago called "Play Across Cultures" where you learn not only about how the game is played but the symbolism and cultural diversity behind the particular activity.

I analyzed my verbal transcription of the lesson here. My lesson took 6 minutes and 25 seconds for the allotted 7 minute time frame and I was happy to have my wrist watch to periodically glance down at for reference...whew!...the time goes by so quickly!

I noticed that I said uh...or ummm 16 times in the lesson to fill in gaps of silence, etc. Maybe I learned it from watching President Barack Obama (I wish I could speak like him but he does use the Uhhhh a lot...;0) You can listen to me if you are so inclined HERE!

Let's review what I did:

  • Nice introduction, verbal and visual cues, Hook, general positive feedback, a few specific congruent feedback, pinpointing, checking for understanding, safety statement, challenge
What I forgot:
  • Intratask Variation, forgot to turn music off when explaining exercises, probably other things that I'm sure Professor Yang/assistants will help me remember!
Overall I felt much more comfortable in front of the class this time and things are starting to become much more fluid!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Leading Your Teammate with a Pass

I taught some skills still under the Ultimate Frisbee lesson in leading your teammate with a pass. This time I added a defender and about half way through the activity I told the class to pick up the intensity and go full speed simulating a live game. It was very helpful to be "miked" up in order to analyze the mp3 for further learning. I was happy with my lesson and thought I did well in terms of voice volume, enunciating, and clarity of the instruction. There are still some things I need to work on as I am walking around giving feedback. I really love incorporating technology into learning physical education!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shooting a Basketball---Round two

After learning some new teaching tactics I tried to incorporate some of them into showing my students the proper mechanics of shooting a basketball. Well, let's just say that this was another learning experience on my end. After watching and analyzing the video I was able to fill out a time coding form that broke down the different parts of my short lesson. I realized that the student's are probably pretty bored with me! I really need to spice it up a little and get them more active rather than talk, explain...blah blah blah. It really shows in my analysis that I need some work but, hey, that's what this is all about right?

On a positive note I did give some good cues from the get go but then I added some more and it was overkill. I guess I just need to keep it simple eh! ?

I checked for understanding and I gave positive specific congruent feedback.

It is really helpful to be able to learn from our mistakes via YouTube videos and MP3...we're getting there and like I said...this was another good learning experience!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Teaching is Tough!

I am realizing that teaching is no walk in the park. It takes lots of organization, captive creativity, and efficiency to make the best use of your relatively short amount of time with students.

I stepped forward early last week and agreed to do a lesson on Friday refining the skill of running. I asked Matt to help me out and he enthusiastically agreed. Professor Yang had a great idea for an instant activity and I added a little bit to it and everyone seemed to love it. It was a poster board with pictures on it that the students had to figure out what it meant. I spaced answers around the gym and they had to perform different loco motor patterns to and from the corresponding areas. We had music on and everything was going great!

Then it was time to give some cues and instruction on how to improve mechanics and become a more efficient runner. Still I thought we gave some excellent cues, people seemed to be engaged, and I checked for understanding. OK...after reviewing the video...this is where I seemed to lose people. I gave a demo and may have talked a little too much and probably confused the initial "raise your gaze" cue by telling them to focus on the horizon. Then when it was time for everyone to run I forgot to give Matt the signal to turn on the music...darn!...for most people running is much more exciting to the sound of energetic music.

If I had to rate us out of 10 I would probably give us a 7 or so. We had a good instant activity, intro, cues...then it got a little iffy....kind of hit the wall (just like in running!)....but we closed pretty well. Great learning experience and we were able to get some constructive criticism from grad students, Professor Yang, and class mates.

I still need to get used to seeing and hearing myself on video...Is that me teaching???!!!!!!!!!! Yes it is! baby steps, baby steps............


After further review of the video from the first day of class I realize that I did not give specific feedback to the students that I taught. This is something that I also did (or did not do) when I taught a lesson on running Friday. I seem to give very general positive feedback like, "good job everyone", or "nice work guys" and while this is also a great habit to form it should be mixed with specific congruent remarks like, "way to keep your arm straight Ephrain". I will be ready to correct many of the mistakes I have made in future teaching opportunities.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

EDU 255 Verbal Transcription of Lab

Although it was a little tough to hear I was able to make out and remember most of what I taught on that first day of class. I can remember clearing my throat a few times because I think I do that when I am a little nervous. It brings back memories of public speaking class!

Also, it will be a lot different when talking to a group of young students. I will have to enunciate more and not run my words together so much. I noticed that I have a deep voice that was kind of monotone on the video. Making it exciting is another thing that I could improve.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Teaching by teaching

The first couple of weeks have been great and we have gotten to know each other well. Everyone is doing such a great job. The enthusiasm in our class is top notch and I wish it were like that in other classes over the years.

Nick did a great teaching lesson facilitating how to properly jump rope. He had us out there jumping rope as an instant activity as people arrived to class. Then when everybody finally made it he called us in and gave us an in-depth demonstration and taught us the proper way to skip rope. Great job Nick!

The next couple of classes were dedicated to yoga. I was surprised how many people have done and were into yoga. I have directly and indirectly been exposed to yoga over the last four years (my fiancee is a yoga instructor at Cornell) and I truly enjoy it. It really helps me calm down and is extremely beneficial for my running. Ephrain and Rolando did a wonderful job for two guys that were probably going a little outside of their comfort zones. The class totally dug it! Way to step it up you two!

Most recently Melissa and Jason built a little bit on yoga. They offered some nice new techniques and poses. The warm-up was classic when Jason busted out some "Kung-Fu Fighting" moves. Your team rocked hard as well!

We're acquiring many helpful tools to teach and having fun at the same time. Learning to write effective lesson plans is on the short list...but who knows what Professor Yang has for us next! We shall see soon enough.........

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reflection on teaching

When I was asked to go first for teaching some sort of skill using one of the four balls displayed I quickly went for my first love: basketball

I decided to teach the proper mechanics needed for shooting a basketball. In hindsight and after watching the video taken of me facilitating the skill I realized the first and biggest thing I need to work on: Volume-------------> I know the camera was somewhat far away from the group but I still need to speak and enunciate more emphatically especially in a gymnasium atmosphere where there will surely be other activities and noises.

Next...initially I did not have the students practice I guess because it was a little ambiguous of what was asked of us and that I was the first person to go.

I did come back at the end and tried to redeem myself but when I asked everyone to grab a basketball we realized that the other group was using the basketballs. I quickly told them that they could just use volleyballs or soccer balls.

All in all...a good exercise and great to see the video so we can look back on it later in the semester and in life! More will be revealed...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day One in 255 with Professor Yang

Today was our first day and we met in the gymnasium where four hula hoops were filled with basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, and volleyballs.

We did not take attendance.

We did not go over the syllabus and talk about class rules.

We were told to teach some sort of skill using the balls by demonstrating and then having the other class mates practice.

It was all done under the watchful eye of Professor Yang and his two high-tech Sony digital video cameras!

Looking forward to a great semester!