Week two at St. Mary's brought some changes. We are comfortable with the new environment which we had just been exposed to the week before. We began the first of our observations and assessments by watching specific kids doing specific motor tasks in game situations.
Some observations on St. Mary's students as they participate in activities as well as various movement patterns:
The thing that I noticed most with the kids at St. Mary’s is how much more likely they are to do something that you ask of them, based on their age. It is much more difficult to get the Pre-K, and Kindergarten kids to stand on a line and listen to you give directions than it is for the kids in 1st grade and on up. However, I also feel that the 1st graders are more likely to participate as well. They may stand out momentarily and say that they don’t want to play, or that they would prefer to be engaged in a different game, but when they see their friends all participating or they see it’s a game that they might like to play, they jump right in. In the beginning of the section when we observed 1st graders, I felt that when the game started they cared much more about the time element than doing the movement correctly. In other words, if they were asked to gallop from a given point to another with an incentive to do it quickly, both the boys and the girls concentrated on doing it fast and not on their form. No matter what the movement was supposed to be (galloping, hopping, jumping) it turned into running because they could do that faster. This was true for the specific kids that I observed. I observed both a boy and a girl of the same age that didn’t really notice a difference in skill, but both needed to be reminded by the instructor to concentrate on doing the skill instead of doing it for speed.
Some observations on effective teaching strategies:
First off, no matter what you’re actually saying if you say it in a kind voice with a smile on your face, the kids were much more receptive. They responded better because they knew they weren’t being spoken to or talked down on. However, sometimes certain individual needed to be engaged in a stern voice. Such as if the individual was jumping all over you, and grabbing and what not. Also, I noticed an effective way to talk to a child who had just fallen or injured themselves. It was best to approach them and ask them if they were ok but say something like, “Hey you OK? It’s a good thing you’re a tough guy/girl” and then help them right up. I think that this was like giving them a little pat on the back, complimenting them and taking their mind off of what they just hurt. Also if us adults notice that it wasn’t at all a serious injury and the child might be acting a little more than how much it actually hurt, it worked to help them off to the side and take a couple steps away from them. Obviously keep watching them, but pretend that you’re engaged in something else. Once the child thought that no one was watching and that they weren’t getting any attention, they would stand up and continue to go play.