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.

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