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....

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