Friday, September 24, 2010

First Day at St. Mary's - AWESOME!

Going into our first day at St. Mary's I was really anxious.  I was nervous I would not interact well with the kids and would feel uncomfortable.  However once we got rolling it was unbelievable.  The kids are wonderful and full of energy, and it was really great to have such a positive first day as I now really truley know that I am in the right field. 

1. Based upon observation, what are the differences in motor behavior and  social between the St. Mary’s students you observed?  What differences did you observe between grade levels, gender, and ability?  Do you think that grade level, gender, and ability have any influence on motor behavior?
I noticed that the younger kids were definetly a little "rough around the edges" with their motor skills.  The tag game we watched at the beginning worked perfect for them however, they were able to run, gallop, and skip around and no real skill was needed.  This game also helped their social skills as they would have to help out others to "Unfreeze" them.  The older the the kids, the less enthusiastic they seemed to be, however some were still pretty excited.  The abilities of the older males seemed to be the most mature, one of the kids I was working with could dribble a soccer ball better than I could ever have imagined, as well as shoot three pointers and was just a real athletic young kid. I do feel as though the gender plays a role, and ability as well.  If the child is not as skilled as others they get down on themseleves. 

2.  Based upon your observation, what fine motor activities did you observe (describe these) when watching the St. Mary’s students?  Were there differences between age?  Gender? Ability? 
One of the fine motor activities I noticed is what I mentioned in the previous question, with the kid able to dribble a soccer ball.  He without a doubt had a complete understanding of the skill, and had the mental plan for the skill well developed. There was definelty differences of skill set in the younger kids compared to the older kids.  The kid who was really talented was probably 2nd grade, where we had some younger kids, maybe kindergarden kids who would struggle a bit with soccer.  A few girls game over and played but they did not stay long and did not seem interested, however from what little bit I saw they could have easily participated and were capable of doing so.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1st Grade...Long handle objects

Is first grade too soon to implement games or activites that involve long handled objects such as in lacrosse or hockey or golf?  At first I tried to think back on my personal P.E. class and if my memory serves me correctly we were playing floor hockey for as long as I can remember.  After reading the chapter and thinking about what I now know, I realize that it probably was to early for such an activity.  All of those sports have one major characteristic in common, they are all sports which require striking skills.  They also involve a very high number of stability movement skills, locomotor movement skills, as well as a tremendous amount of manipulative movement skills. Such sports would fall into the category of movement phrases, which combines stability, locomotor, and manipulative movements.  These are introduced only after the student has mastered the basic elements of a single fundamental movement. Now first graders are usually 5-6 years old, and at this age they are just beginning to be able to perform fundamental movements skills such as running maturely, catching, and throwing.  Striking is only able to be done in a mature horizontal pattern with a stationary ball, where as in lacrosse and hockey the ball or puck is not stationary.  There is a certain readiness that is needed for the students to be able to perform tasks sucessfully, and the first grade level the majority of the students just do not possess the needed movement skills to perform such a complex sport or game.  Yes, they may be able to perform some, or maybe even most of the skills individually, however once the skills are needed to be combined it is just too difficult. There is also the safety aspect of it.  Kids that have a long handled stick in their hands immediately want to whip it around like a baseball bat, or in floor hockey try to shoot slap shots.  This can be mentioned before hand obviously and warned about, however as we know not all kids are mature enough at that age to really comprehend how badly they could hurt another student. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fundamental Movement Skills

The three different categories of fundamental movement skills listed were 1) locomotion, 2) Manipulation, and 3) Stability.  Each one of these categories plays a significant role in people developing into good movers.  They all tie together in different ways too, one can not run before walking in the locomotion section.  In the Manipulation section, it is harder for one to catch or trap something than it is to pick something up and throw it or kick it.  Same thing goes for the stability end of it, one can not successfully dodge something before learning how to properly bend, stretch, and twist.  All of these skills are the "building blocks" for people to develop into successful movers, physically active people, athletes, etc. Kids who cannot properly perform the fundamental movement skills will often times fall behind, or feel left out of activities if they notice other kids performing them will relative ease.  It is crucial that these skills be taught properly and they become second nature to young children as the grow and progress into more mature movers.  If we can develop good movers at a young age, it is more likely that they will want to continue a life of being physically active which is ultimately the goal for P.E.