Through my interactions with the St. Mary’s students, I learned a lot about young children. Children are extremely energetic as I was as a youngster. The children most of the time were so eager to begin an activity that they were hard to control. For me to keep their attention while explaining a game, I learned that by putting my hand up and counting to three, the students usually quieted down. Keeping the children moving was not difficult because of their energy level. The activities that I felt were appropriate were mostly from the textbook, such as Zig Zag Soccer and Stinky Letter Stew. These games were appropriate because it was easy to assess the skills we were looking to evaluate, such as kicking, trapping, galloping, hopping and skipping. Also, these games were age appropriate. When my group attempted to provide our own game with a version of freeze tag that involved throwing and catching, the activity was not as appropriate as the others. Assessment was difficult because the students were too close to one another. I learned that it is important to take all variables into affect when providing a game for evaluation.
Working with the PRE K program at St. Mary’s was a far different experience compared to working with the older age students. While working with the younger students, I worked on more of the fine motor skills with them, such as staying in between the lines while drawing, and building a house out of blocks. When I built a house with a female and male student, they seemed more social than the older students. After we had finished our activities in the classroom, the students joined us in the gymnasium for a game my group invented to assess hopping, sliding, and leaping, but also involved throwing. The younger children seemed to be more attracted to props than the older students, and this was evident with our prop of Doctor Octopus. For the activity, we told the students they were spidermen, and had to get through the obstacle course to defeat Doctor Octopus by throwing a ball at his velcro claws. By giving the students an incentive, the students were more eager to get through the obstacle course. I did enjoy working with the younger age children. The children really seemed to enjoy the activities, and their energy made me want to work even harder. Sometimes the older children did not want to take part in the activities we provided, but the younger children were excited to be active. The shift from older children to younger children was a change, but I enjoyed the time I spent with them.
While working in the cafeteria, I observed students and their fine motor activities. A few students built a long strip of legos to see how long they could make it. I helped them build, and realized their fine motor skills, such as grasping the blocks, were adequate. While working with another student however, she was unable to stay within the lines while drawing. Fine motor skill activities are something we should work on in Physical Education programs. In order for students to succeed in skills such as, catching, throwing, and kicking, students must first master their fine motor skills such as, grasping an object. Without quality fine motor skills, students will struggle in later activities.
I have learned much about my teaching style from my experience at St. Mary’s. Coming into this experience, I was nervous, yet excited. During the first few weeks at St. Mary’s, I noticed I worked better on an individual level, rather than addressing all the students at once. As my experience progressed, so did my teaching. After more opportunities to work with the students came about, I improved in giving directions to the entire class. I was able to improve on my voice level, and keep the attention of the students. I learned what ways worked to get the children’s attention and what did not. Hand gestures worked more sufficiently than just speaking, so I soon incorporated this into my teaching. I also enjoyed the use of props. The students were more eager to participate in the games when props were used, and teaching became easier as a result. I know with the more experience I gain working with students, the better Physical Educator I will become. This experience has made me even more anxious to enter a school district and start my teaching.