I worked with the pre-schoolers in an activity which combined leaping, hopping, sliding and throwing. My group came up with a game where the students were spiderman. They had to hop from building to building (hula hoops), then leap from building to building, (lilly pads), and finally slide across a tight rope (line). At the end, the students were given the incentive of throwing a ball at doctor octopus’ claws. I noticed that overall the male students were able to get through the obstacle course faster than the females, however the females had better form because they took their time while performing each skill. I also noticed during the leaping phase of the obstacle course, many students began to run instead of leap. We solved this dilemma by making the lilly pads farther apart from one another.
I found that by kneeling down to their level helped tremendously. Once I began to interact with the students at their level, the separation between college student and pre-schooler was non existent. When I would hand the students the ball to throw at the velcro claws, they were not taking their time. Once I started kneeling and telling them to take their time and aim, they were able to hit the target with more accuracy. I also began to wait a few seconds to hand them the ball. This allowed them time to relax and take their time when throwing. Before I started to do this, the students were so eager to throw the ball, they often did not take the time to look at the targets. These strategies were more effective because I was able to interact on a more adequate level with the students and they started to concentrate on performing the skills. Also, I believe the students had a better understanding of the tasks through the demonstration that was given to them. The combination of a demonstration and clear directions truly helped the students get through the obstacle course at their highest level.
An effective strategy that I have started using to capture the children’s attention has been the use of props. The students seem to enjoy activities with props and allows the students to stay on task during the activity. Last week I dressed up as a chef for our stinky letter stew game and this week my group used a drawing of doctor octopus to incorporate the super hero theme. By giving the students incentives to complete the tasks, they are more likely to participate and stay on task throughout the games.