Sunday, February 14, 2010

EDU 355 Reflection Day #1

1. What happened during the lesson that excited or concerned you? What did you learn from your observation and experience?
3. Are you aware of any students with special needs? How are they helped to learn?

This semester I am taking EDU 355. We have 18 field experience hours to fulfill and I have been placed at Cayuga Heights Elementary in Ithaca. My first day was Monday February 2nd from 12:15 to 1p with Mr. Chase and 1:05 to 1:45p with Mr. Dumont.
When I arrived to the first class, I was informed that the students began the year with a circus unit which was followed with gymnastics; they were in the middle of a bowling unit when I arrived and would be working on volleyball next. There were 15 students, 1 aid and myself. Students have two physical education classes per week and each are for 45minutes.
Small groups were divided by large mats which served as bumbers of the bowling lanes; 6 lanes with 3-4 students each. Students had worked on forming triangles and had previously worked on making triangles with just 3 pins and then 6 pins and today the full 10 pins. This helps students understand spacial presentation of the pins, points of a triangle and the rules of bowling were also covered. Students took turns setting up and bowling down the pins. No emphasis was made on technique at this level, including arm swing and approach. Mr. Chase used the freeze signal to initiate clean up. He emphasised staying quiet, picking up two pins at a time and sitting behind the cones set up at the beginning of the lanes. Can you do those things? Then he repeated the three small tasks. When students were seated he was able to explain and demonstrate the next game.
One girl and one boy were picked to be the taggers in the X's and I's tag game. Before they began the students were asked to show 5 good jumping jacks or X's and I's. Safety was stressed, no collisions, when you were tagged you had to complete 5 good jumping jacks to get back into the game. Taggers were rotated often and were always allowed to run. The students were stopped many times to give a small recovery time and to demonstrate the next locomotor skill which was often changed.
Two students in this class have special needs. One has autism and the aid in the class is there to help remind him of tasks and perform activities. The other is a young girl who has delayed physical development for her age and is tempermental. She works with the aid also, and has a system of happy and sad faces. This is used also in the class room which has shown some success in managing her behavior. I was concerned with how these students have been included into the classroom and if they were pinpointed by there peers. While playing X's and I's tag, one student tagged the male student who has autism, and he didn't stop to complete his X's and I's. The student continued to tag him more aggressivly into a push before going to Mr. Chase to complain that he wasn't following the rules of the game. The aid then stepped in remind him to complete his X's and I's. Other students are aware that that aid is present for those two students specifically and while playing tag, they would often chase after the aid when they got tired of chasing their peers. A few times, peers refused to stop after they had been tagged. I can determine if my concern for their inclusion is high or if this is an incident which may or may not continue throughout my observation.

A point of concern which arose during Mr. Dumont's first grade class was the way student's which were apart of the ski club, were dismissed from his class. Around 1:30p an announcement was given over the loud speaker and 5-8 students went running from his classroom, and about 50 students total from other classrooms. He showed concern because he was not told who was and who was not apart of the ski club. Fifty plus students run from their classrooms into the halls and to a door to get on a ski bus. What if one of those students decided to walk out one of the doors. After they leave the classroom who is responsible for them? Who would be considered liable for those students if something was to happen, Mr. Dumont has his students until 1:55p?

I learned alot about the routines, rules and signals of attention used in our learning environment during my first observation. For example, when students enter the gymnasium they are to sit along a specific wall until given further direction which is usually to sit around the center circle. A brief discussion or review and introduction of the first warm up game is given. A line leader is usually picked everyday in the classroom and that is used also when lining up after class. Everything is developmentally appropriate and safety is stressed multiple times not just once at the beginning. The freeze signal usually works after being repeated 3 or 4 times, maybe a new signal of attention can be introduced and used by my partner and I to reduce the reaction time, Mr. Dumont uses a special kind of whistle that I do not know how to reproduce.
The students have off next week so I am looking forward to going back to observe in two weeks. After the break, Mr. Dumont's first graders will be doing a bowling unit and Mr. Chase's kindergarden class will be working on volleyball.

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