Monday, October 29, 2012

...And the Learning Continues

It hardly seems that 2 weeks have passed. Needless to say, we have been extremely busy.

200 Block began peer teaching last week in the coliseum activities for our second unit.  They researched and developed games, skills, strategies and ideas for teaching elementary and secondary dance, softball, volleyball, racquet games, and striking skills.  Monday proved to be challenging for them.  They did not come to class with creative or age-appropriate games...(all part of the learning curve), so they "took it on the chin" and stepped up their game.  On Wednesday, they returned for the remainder of the peer teaching unit, and not just stepped it up but rocked it out!  We were so extremely proud of their ability to accept constructive criticism and to meet our high demands for excellence in physical education!

400 Block's week began by learning parachute games and peer teaching these elementary games to one another.  I must admit, these kids came to class armed with some very fresh, creative, and innovative games!  They taught games I had never even seen before - which makes me very happy! Secondary methods students wrapped up peer teaching state mandated LIFE course lessons with a phenomenal, over the top unit that exceeded the expectation going above and beyond the requirements for exemplary status.  

Last Thursday, 400 Block kicked off our "PE Tour" by heading to Talladega to Alabama School for Deaf and Blind to teach tinikling (a rhythms and dance unit) to the deaf school physical education students.
This was a day full of blessings, friendships, learning, excitement, and humbleness!  WE were the minority - WE could not communicate with them - WE we uncomfortable - and WE found out what an amazing group of kids attend these schools.  Our 400 Block students were able to get down on their level, learn some sign language, learn to teach almost completely visually and non-verbally, learn to communicate with autistic students, and even learn some new dance moves!  This day continues to be one of our "most favoritest" days of the semester as it teaches us what it is like to be diverse learners. 

This week has flown by....literally!  We have been "on tour" all week with both classes.  200 Block was at Wellborn Elementary/High School on Monday, teaching volleyball/softball/striking skills to the students.  While peer teaching provides a willing audience to practice leading, managing & instructing, supervised practicum experiences provide a better representation of behaviors, struggles, and various adjustments necessary to age appropriate instruction.  Yes...they were able to put into action all the games, skills, and management tips they learned the previous week while peer teaching.

Our paperless, 21st Century class is also working like a charm.  While students are teaching, we are grading them on our iPads from the app, iAnnotate.  We mark up the document just as if we are writing on actual paper, log the grade into our gradebook iPad app, then send the document directly to each student's Dropbox folder.  Most days, students are assigned to teach more than once, so this allows them to review their graded rubrics, read our notes, and reflect on what was marked off, and improve their next teaching experience. This also eliminates the need for countless copies, ink, bulk of paper and "forgetting" to either turn in an assignment or return a graded one.  The convenience of having assignments available at our fingertips and always in the right place is ideal for us as non-traditional, always on the go facilitators of learning.

Tuesday, we were at Kitty Stone Elementary with our 400 Block students.  This was their first day of supervised, graded teaching since 200 Block, so they were a bit nervous.  Even with the large number of students at KSE, our JSU kids stepped it up and taught some creative bowling/rolling/outdoor leisure lessons.

Also on Tuesday, 400 Block had to submit unit plans for HPE 409 (Elementary) and HPE 410 (Secondary).  Instead of having piles of paper in different places of the gym, having lost lesson plans, having lesson plans in the wrong pile, and even forgetting to put their lesson plans in the pile - the paperless system was once again a WINNER!  All students submitted their unit plans before 9:00 am that morning in their Dropbox folders...the end!  NO PAPER = AWESOMENESS and EFFICIENCY!

On Wednesday, we travelled out to Ashville Middle School with 200 Block to observe their students participate in an archery unit and to teach their favorite unit of the year......DANCE!  (haha, just kidding!)  Needless to say, our kids were extremely nervous, apprehensive, and even kind of clueless about teaching dance to middle school kids.  However, as the morning progressed, each group became more and more comfortable "letting loose" and interacting with the students.  By the end of the day, we were sweating, smiling, laughing, and realizing what a fun and exciting unit dance can be!

Finally...we finished out this week with 400 Block at Weaver Elementary/High School teaching large group games.  This day also was "real life in action" as we had to think on our feet and roll with the punches because the Weaver Elementary PE schedule had changed since we scheduled who and when would be teaching their students.  At first, our students were "freaking out" because they were not teaching at "the exact time and to the exact grade" as the schedule dictated....but they soon realized that "life happens" and they just need to breathe, chill out, and deal with it!  Needless to say...all students at Weaver High School and Weaver Elementary were taught Physical Education that day - and all our JSU students were able to teach a lesson (maybe not what they originally planned, but effective, nonetheless!).

21st Century Classroom.  Paperless.  Learning in Action. A day in the life of a quality future physical education specialist. 

JSU Physical Education...and the story continues.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My...How Times Flies When We Are Having Fun!

It's been 2 weeks since we updated our blog - we have been so busy we didn't even realize time had passed so quickly!

Over the past weeks, 200 Block has ventured out into the local public schools for their first round of supervised practicum teaching.  They taught bowling/rolling games at Kitty Stone Elementary, soccer/speedball games at Piedmont Elementary and Middle School, and outdoor leisure games at Spring Garden School.

Their first attempts at teaching "real" students brought taught them many lessons.  The type that cannot be replicated in the classroom but rather experienced in realistic teaching settings.  They learned what games and lessons were effective, how important it is to have controlled classroom management skills, how to modify game on the spot when they are not working out like the lesson plan said it would, how to adapt for inclement weather conditions (and how to come out of the rain), and most importantly, how to learn from their successes and their flops!  While all of the above scenarios have been discussed, nothing drives home how to successfully manage each one better than teaching through them.

Overall, 200 Block performed at a level that met our expectations for the first round of teaching.  We are now back at the coliseum preparing them for round 2.

200 Block maintained their ongoing alias also known as our "lab rats" for our (and their) first experience with a "flipped test".  In order to effectively implement this concept, each teaching group had to create a 5 minute screencast (most used Educreations) highlighting one elementary and one secondary lesson taught while in local schools.  They not only had to describe the game verbally and illustrate with a diagram, they also had to offer modifications they either used on the spot, or would have used after reflecting on the outcome of their lesson.  Each group posted their screencast to our class Edmodo wall.  Class members were instructed to view all screencasts and take notes before coming to take their test Wednesday morning.

The test was collaboratively created using Google Docs and all the questions on the test were reflective teaching application type questions based on information delivered in the screencasts.  This correlates perfectly with our new style of thinking and teaching--making students in charge of and accountable for their own learning.  By assessing peer performance as part of overall comprehension of teaching styles and application, students are able to make better connections and establish much deeper understanding of content.  While we have not completed assessing the outcomes of the test, the feedback from the students was very positive.

400 Block has spent the past 2 weeks learning how to teach specific elementary curriculum.  Some of the lessons were teacher based instruction, while others where lesson brought to class by the students and taught via peer instruction.  We have covered hula hoop games, noodle games, large group games, locomotor games, spatial awareness, fundamental skills games, juggling, cup stacking, and lummi sticks over the past 2 weeks.  Yes...we are in information overload.

While learning how to effectively teach these units, our students must provide daily feedback via a Google Doc form and reflect on 5 aspects they learned from each unit pertaining to classroom management, teaching tips, and modifications.  This assignment forces them to not only play the games in class, but also pay close attention to the tactics given to them to effectively teach these lessons.

The secondary portion of 400 block has been continuing to learn and grow and better understand and apply the flipped learning concepts in creating and teaching their LIFE course lessons.  Their screencasts are becoming more and more interactive and creative as well as their understanding of how to effectively plan and seamlessly intertwine health specific lesson concepts with physical activity.  This style of teaching and thinking implements cross curriculum strategies at its best--and in a setting that is familiar and inviting for innovation.  Students were also given the opportunity to create a working coaching plan to better prepare them for their future in coaching.  The assignment required research and development of a budget, fundraising plan, policies & procedures for various scenarios and issues, as well as a mock schedule.  400 Block also had to submit their first paperless unit plans this week.  Instead of turning in paper copies of their weekly unit plans, they instead saved them in one commonly named document, and loaded them into their shared Dropbox folder.  Once in the folder, we were able to to open the document, transfer it to "iAnnotate" (our annotating app), mark on the actual document, complete the rubric, and put it back in their Dropbox folder complete with their grade....ALL PAPERLESS and from our iPads!  Pretty Cool, very green, and most importantly and effective and efficient means of becoming a 21st century program.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Preparing to Teach "REAL" Students!

In 200 Block this week, the focus was preparing our JSU students to be thrust into local public schools and begin their "real" teaching experiences.

We worked all week perfecting classroom management skills, developing modified, creative, age-appropriate games, and emphasizing professional dispositions.

With one unit of direct instruction, lesson planning practice, flipped lesson creation, and peer co-teaching under their belts, 200 Block--though not truly ready for their first morning instructing students at Kitty Stone Elementary will begin supervised practicum teaching.  Our motto in PE is to learn by doing.  Though all unique and very different from each other, we as PE teachers are similar in that for content to become meaningful and personal, we must actively work the kinks out. 
It has been our experience that to teach in small manageable chunks of content in a (somewhat) controlled  practicum setting, students' teaching skills improve much faster than in a more conservative less hands on setting with emphasis on direct instruction alone. The confidence and skill refinement provided by their 200 block experience gives them a unique advantage in being more prepared for 400 Block.

This hands on approach makes 200 Block an entry level class in our  "learning through trial and error" teaching methods coursework.  Our JSU students must process all the information and skills both taught to them and learned through guided discovery and collaboration during the past month and put it into action.  Our expectations are not that of perfection, but rather one of willingness and eagerness to grow and of improvement.  We do expect them to learn from their mistakes and improve during each teaching attempt.  

400 Block has much more specific content than 200 Block, therefore, we are still working on elementary and secondary curriculum lessons and games in the coliseum.  The practical experience and content knowledge attained previously makes these students able to process information more adequately and on a much higher level.  With emphasis on creating meaningful curriculum and quality content, personality and creative innovation truly begins to reflect in the ideas and lesson development of 400 Block students.  

Students came to class this week with lessons saved in their Edmodo Library which they taught to their peers and received content specific feedback.  Our lesson this week in 400 Block Elementary was large group games and blindfold games.  We had a lot of fun playing these games, learning new management tactics, and competing for Edmodo badges while learning.  

400 Block Secondary began their LIFE course flipped lesson teaching.  Students were given basic instructions and guidelines with freedom to let their creativity run wild.  The Secondary PE setting is the perfect model for the flipped classroom approach.  The LIFE course is designed to offer secondary students current facts, figures and information pertinent to a lifetime of healthy living and decision making.  Our students not only develop their own LIFE course yearly plan, but they will all co-teach a lesson to truly gain a deeper understanding of its purpose and function.  Students choose topics and activities reflective of their personalities then create "flipped" video screencasts of the basics of the lesson and of the day's activity.  Their classmates are assigned homework to watch these screencasts at their convenience prior to class and complete an assignment that reinforces lesson concepts.  So rather than using valuable class time for lecture, it can be used as quality PE classes were move! Students develop an in class activity to further correlate with their lesson, tie it all together then instruct the class in a two part activity.  This consists of a muscular strength or endurance component as well as an activity from one of three categories (team sports, individual or dual sports, or lifetime activities).  

400 Block will continue another week of "fun and games" in the coliseum - while 200 Block is out in the trenches learning, growing, and sharpening their craft.  The most rewarding part of instructing these students is the opportunity to watch them grow, mature and develop into quality teachers who will successfully shape the future of Physical Education.  Updates to come....