Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Online Portfolio

Here is a link to my online professional portfolio in progress!

Jamie Florindi's Professional Portfolio

Final Paper

Here is the link to my final paper for 470 which focuses on bullying and cyber bullying in schools Final Paper

enjoy :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bullying Paper so Far...

            This paper explores the causes and effects of bullying and cyber-bullying in schools today. Tragedy has been demonstrated through horrible events such as school shootings and suicide among youths, and bullying has been a precursor to these events. Recent research that has been conducted in the United States has documented that bullying is a common and potentially damaging form of violence among children (Limber, Nation). Students may be bullied in the school environment when a student says mean or hurtful things to them, exclude students from groups on purpose, physical abuse such as kicking and punching, along with many other reasons. Bullying is clearly a problem within our schools today, and teachers as well as other school personnel need to take an active role in minimizing the amount of bullying that is going on in school. If adults step in against bullying, many of the bullying events that take place in schools would not go as far as they do if an individual in the school takes a stand to stop it. The amount of metal detectors and extra security measures that take place in schools do not decrease the amount of bullying that is still going on throughout the entire school year. One-third to half of America’s children report being bullied at least once and 10 percent feel continually targeted (Sadker, Zittleman). This paper will go into great detail about the causes and effects of bullying and cyber-bullying in schools and ways that schools and other individuals can step in to stop the amount of violence and hate that is in the school environment.

Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: A Look into the Causes and Effects of Bullying in Schools
            What exactly is bullying? A student is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students (Olweus). Bullying can be defined as repeated and systematic harassment and attacks on others. Bullying takes many forms, and can include many different behaviors such as physical violence and attacks, verbal taunts, name-calling, and put-downs, threats and intimidation, and exclusion from the peer group. Physical bullying can entail poking, pinching, kicking, biting, hair pulling, or beating (NASW, 2002). Verbal bullying can include teasing, name-calling, threats, and spreading rumors. In a typical classroom of about twenty students, two or three come to school every day fearing being bullied, harassed, or worse. More than forty percent of students admit to bullying a classmate at least once; more than half have witnessed bullying and have not stopped or reported it (Sadker, Zittleman). There are specific characteristics of the bully and the victim that can help researchers look into reasons why students bully and what the victims are doing to try and stop the bullying.
            Individuals that exhibit bully behavior have little empathy for others, have a more positive attitude towards violence, and are aggressive to parents and teachers as well as their peers (Olweus, 1993). Bullies that are in the schools are unlike their peers because of the fact that they have more aggression built up towards others. Bullies that exhibit aggressive behavior have an inability to channel their anger in a more acceptable fashion. Children who bully are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school (Sadker, Zittleman). Causes of students bullying may come from a power imbalance, where the student feels more powerful and stronger than their peers. This gives these students a feeling of authority, and they believe that they can pick on their peers who are weaker and more timid than themselves.  Sometimes older students feel the need to bully younger students, and they use their age and size as an advantage. In addition, there are gender differences that add to the patterns of bullying in our society today.
            One conclusion made about gender differences in bullying is that boys are more likely to be both the perpetrators and the victims of aggressive physical and verbal bullying by peers (A.S.A.P). Boys are more likely to engage in physical bullying, while girls often revert to relational bullying, such as gossip and exclusion (Sadker, Zittleman). Boys and girls both engage in bullying, but their behaviors are much different. Olewus (1993) reports that one of his studies, conducted with students in grades five to seven, found that sixty percent of girls who were bullied were bullied only by boys, while another fifteen to twenty percent were bullied by both boys and girls. Tendencies of girls include using social means to bully others such as gossiping about others as well as manipulating friendships. Girls socialize differently than boys do, which includes verbal bonding by telling stories, hopes, and dreams. Girls can be quietly vicious to one another and their behaviors might not be as obvious when they are bullying others. This is one of the reasons why it is hard to detect that girls are bullying because girls use emotional violence when they bully others. Those who are being bullied sometimes don’t speak up for themselves because they may be afraid of the consequences if they tell someone what has been happening.
            Those individuals that are targeted for bullying are usually the individuals that do not fit in, targeted because of their physical appearance, or because of their mannerisms. Often times, boys tend to bully those who are smaller than them. According to Olweus, victims of bullying do not have friends and withdraw from others.

I am going to go more in depth about bullying and cyber-bullying as well. I am going to the library to take out resources for my paper so that I can do more research not just with websites but with journal articles and books as well. I found Dan Olweus as a great source and I am going to research more about his works on bullying. 

Portfolio Showcase

Today, I attended the Portfolio Showcase in Park Center. I wanted to go and support my fellow peers that I have gotten to know over the past 4 years at Cortland. It sounds crazy to say that I have known these people for the last 4 years of my life. We were all complete strangers and have bonded together because of our profession: Physical Education. We all share similar beliefs and get along because we have made this journey together at Cortland. I don't think many people can say that when they went to college they made so many friends just in their major. Our graduating class is one of the brightest and I will cherish all the friendships I have made during my college career in my classes. The physical education program at Cortland is such a tight-knit program where you are in classes with your fellow peers, interacting with them every day. I have the utmost respect for all my peers, especially those individuals that made it into the showcase. First, I noticed that my friend Gillian Garzia made it into the showcase. I have known Gillian since freshman year; we went through COR 101 together and ever since then I have noticed she has worked diligently to where she is today. I asked her a few questions about her portfolio and she said she worked on it all throughout Thanksgiving break. She is very active in her sorority and she has many certificates in her Professional Development section that highlights what committees she has served on in her sorority. We had many of the same artifacts in our portfolios and she really thought all of her reflections through. I have also known Aly Case since freshman year and I have the utmost respect for her as well. Her portfolio was filled with certificates from her position as an RA in the residence halls as well as honors for getting on the Dean's List and attending the mini and state conferences. What I also enjoyed about her portfolio is that she had many pictures from when she went to Raquette Lake this summer. It gave me an insight about her trip and the friends she made this summer. She told me she was very proud of her professional development section because she has worked so hard in her 4 years at Cortland and she believes that it has all paid off. I was also impressed at Ben's online Portfolio. I enjoyed the fact that Ben had music with his portfolio and that it is accessible online. This is great when you go to a job interview because you can leave your website with the panel that is interviewing you and they can look at your portfolio whenever they want. I noticed that Ben had a  plethora of teaching pictures of himself. That is something that I want to refine in my portfolio to make it better. When I am student teaching, this is a time to refine my portfolio and make it even better than it is now. I have many goals for making my portfolio better and that is just one of my many goals. I took a few pictures at the showcase that I will post in my blog. It was a great time and I congratulate all of my fellow classmates for making it this far!

 Gillian with her portfolio

Professional Memberships in Alyson Case's Portfolio

Ben's online portfolio

Rich speaking about his portfolio

 Ben's online portfolio from another view

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Exit Interview Questions

In class last Wednesday night, we went through sample exit interview questions for those of us who will be student teaching next semester. We went in with a group of 3 people and we were each asked 2 questions to answer to a panel. In the exit interview, we were interviewed by one professor and we were in groups of about 5. These sample interview questions really got us prepared for what was ahead and what we should do during our interview. I was told that it was great to reiterate the question to the panel after it is asked. That is important and it is also important to list things in an answer and then go back and explain what you have listed. I am glad that we were able to go through some of these interview questions as a group to get us ready for what was ahead for the exit interview. When we got the list of questions on Friday, I was ready for some of them because I remembered the answers from those in my group. It was great to get feedback from those in my group as well as the panel that was asking me questions on Wednesday night. I remembered to make eye contact with all of those in my group and to answer my questions in depth but not make my answers too long. I felt very prepared for my exit interview on Tuesday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Coaching Philosophy in Progress

II. Coaching Philosophy

A COACH is a leader for their team and is a strong individual that is able to face adversity with a positive attitude. A coach is one that the team looks up to when they need guidance on doing the right thing. Coaching includes dealing with problems head on and turning them into learning experiences for the entire team. Coaching also includes keeping your team united as a unit that are working together to achieve a common goal. Athletics shapes a person’s character and instills specific virtues in their life. My philosophy of coaching rests upon three main ideas that are winning isn’t everything, making time for their team and always looking at situations with a positive attitude, and developing and improving ability of all members of the team. Looking back on my athletic career, I believe that many of my coaches instilled these 3 beliefs in my mind. They did not focus all their attention on winning the game, but did focus on making us better players. My coach was always at every game and practice and gave in extra time to practice on the weekends, and cared about improving our skills to make us all better players.
First of all, I believe that a coach should not put all their emphasis on winning the game. If you focus all your attention on winning a game, then your players will be upset when they do not come out on top. The real emphasis should be on working together as a team and getting closer throughout this process. There are going to be times when you may not win a game but it is all about how much effort you put in during that game. If you did not care about the game, your players will feel the same way and will not give their full effort. I believe that a coach should emphasize giving the full effort during each practice and each game and it will pay off. There were plenty of seasons where I played on a team and we lost more games than we won. There were times where our coach would be disappointed with our playing during that game, but it was all about how we picked ourselves up from that loss and moved on to the next game. The attitude of the coach is infectious to the players as well and it is up to us as coaches to look at each game as a new one and to not get discouraged if things are not going to way that you planned.
My second philosophy is based on the belief that a coach should make time for their team and always look at situations with a positive attitude. Unless my coach had a family emergency, I cannot remember one time where they were not at a game or practice. My coach always made time for the team especially on the weekends when we needed a little more practice time. A coach should put the team first and realize that any decisions that are made can affect the team positively or negatively. I believe that a coach should also pick an assistant coach that will be able to fill in for them if they are unable to make a practice or game. A coach is one who is always on the sidelines cheering on their team in good and bad times. There have been plenty of times where I have been on a team and my coach has lost their cool. As a coach there are going to be situations that will make you mad, but it is all about not losing your patience and letting it go. You will give your team a positive reputation if you demonstrate good sportsmanship that your team can embody. (needs work)
My final belief about coaching is that a coach is one who develops and improves the ability of all members of the team. As a coach, there are going to be certain individuals on your team that will excel in all skills, while other players on your team will need some work. As a coach I believe that you should not single out your players that may not be at the same ability level as others on the team. Each player on your team should have a fair chance in playing and developing their skills during practices and games. None of your players are going to be perfect and the job as a coach is to improve certain skills of all their players. I was the starting catcher on my varsity softball team during my sophomore year of high school but that still does not mean my skills were perfect. My coach worked with me to improve my ability behind the plate, as well as when I got up to bat. Each one of my teammates improved their ability during the softball season and each one of my teammates had an opportunity to play no matter their skill level. As a coach, there should be a belief that the only way your players will improve their skills is if they are able to participate in game-like situations. By the end of the season, a coach should feel as though they have made a difference in their players lives in a positive way.

Physical Education Philosophy in Progress

           The main goal of PHYSICAL EDUCATION is to educate individuals on a lifetime of physical activity for their own health and benefit. Physical Education is used as a guide to lead individuals in the right direction on creating a healthy lifestyle and sticking to it. Our job as the physical educators of the future is to create a positive learning environment for our students and be role models that they can look up to and talk to whenever they need someone. My philosophy of physical education rests on three basic ideas. These three ideas include being an influential leader for our future students, educating individuals about our profession and our purpose to teach physical education to those who don’t know how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and to promote a lifetime of physical fitness. Physical Education has a reputation of just teaching students how to play sports, but it digs deeper into involving the domains of learning into our teaching. We are the leaders of the future that need to change the view of physical education to those who are unaware of our purpose to educate.
            I believe that we are influential leaders for our future students in a variety of ways. First of all, we are different from the teachers in the classroom because we see our students in a different environment. They come to physical education to enjoy themselves while learning at the same time. When the students are in the classroom they are focused on sitting quietly in their desks and not getting a chance to express them. When these students enter the gymnasium, they get a chance let out all their energy and express themselves through moving. I know that when I was in school I felt more comfortable talking to my physical education teacher than my classroom teacher. With your physical education teacher there is such a wide variety of things to talk about which could either be about a favorite sports team, a workout routine that the student is participating in, as well as what they did that past weekend. I think we need to leave that door open for students to come and talk to us when they are having a problem that they do not know how to resolve. We are there to influence our students to make the right decisions when they do not know what else to do. As a physical educator we need to let our students know that we are there for them and educate them on following the right path.
            Physical Education has gotten a reputation over the years that we just roll a ball out for our students while they play the basic sports such as basketball, football, soccer, and baseball. Our profession digs deeper by integrating the 3 domains of learning into our classroom. The students are not just playing sports and getting a grade on if they are prepared for class or not. We focus in on the ideas that students should be working together while in class and respecting the teacher and the rules of the classroom. The students are also being challenged cognitively with quizzes that reinforce their knowledge of the activity they are participating in. Their grade is not solely based on how well they can play a sport. We are also educators for those who are unaware about how to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We are there to help these individuals get on the right path to eating correctly and exercising daily. As physical educators we need to give our students numerous ways to keep their body healthy if they do not know how. We are there as an extra resource when our students are lost and want to resort to hurting their body to maintain a certain weight. The last thing I would want to see in my classroom is one of my students abusing their body to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are ways around this and this is our goal as physical educators, which is to educate our students on what it means to keep and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
            My final philosophy about physical education is to promote a lifetime of physical fitness. Our students need to be educated about how to maintain a healthy level of physical fitness when they are out on their own and have limited resources. Especially when students go to college, most of the time they are engaging in activities that do not promote a healthy lifestyle such as drinking and eating the wrong things. We need to start out educating our students early about this and the effects it has on their body. When educating our students, we as educators need to be physically fit and set a good example for our students that may be struggling. The home life of many students can be a factor in not being physically fit. Their parents may not cook for them every night and they may always go out to eat. We need to get our point across to our students that it is important to eat the right things and exercise to keep them fit. A lifetime of physical fitness stretches throughout the entire life and to promote this philosophy, it starts in the physical education classroom. We are the resources for our students to keep an active and healthy lifestyle for the long run. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Obesity and Eating Disorders

Students in America spend most of their time in front of technology such as watching television, playing video games, and going on Facebook and sitting in front of the computer for hours on end. In addition, many of these students are not eating the right foods at the right time of day and may be eating too much of a bad thing. As stated in our textbook, "nine million American students are overweight or obese" (pg. 126). This is not a good statistic and as physical education agents of change, it is our goal to fix this statistic. In many schools, recess and physical education is cut out which does not help matters any more. If these students do not get a chance to have at least 120 minutes of physical education a week, then they are on a road to an unhealthy lifestyle. On the contrary, students feel the pressure to be thin and therefore eating disorders are on the rise. Girls are pressured that being skinny is the only way to be successful and be pretty as well. They see pictures in magazines of supermodels and models in ads and these females are unrealistically skinny. They get the message that females that are that skinny are the only ones that can be models and the only ones that are pretty. Males on the other hand get the message that they have to bulk up and gain as much muscle as they can. A way to do this would be to take steroids which is the unsafe way to do this. Males can just go to the gym to lift weights and work on their cardio to stay in shape. These boys just want to look good and they will do anything in their power to achieve the body that they want and also recognition from their peers. Students are on the search for the perfect body and will do anything in our power to achieve it. Obesity and eating disorders need to be addressed in classes such as Health and Physical Education. It is a problem that has been facing our society for a while and we need to find a happy medium in between these two issues. We want our students to be comfortable in their bodies and be healthy as well. They need to be educated that healthy bodies come in many different shapes and there are many different alternatives these students can take to achieve a healthy body that they are most comfortable in.

More On Bullying

When I was home for October break, a special was on with Anderson Cooper about bullying. I found it interesting to watch a little bit because of the fact that I wrote another post a few weeks ago on bullying. There were interviews with students who have experienced bullying first hand and how they felt during this time. This is something that we really need to take a stand about and what needs to be brought to our attention. We as physical education students are going to see a lot of our students bullied and it is up to us to help out these students. More needs to be done in our school districts to stop the bullying, and more students need to be informed on the effects that bullying has on students. Here is a clip from the special that I watched on television.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Keep Students Together or Mix Them Up: You Be The Judge

On page 65 in the textbook there is an argument about keeping students together or mixing them up based on their gender, religion, needs, and race/ethnicity. While reading this I put myself in the shoes of each of these when I was in high school and try to imagine myself on both ends. I think that high school shaped me into the individual I am today because I was educated about numerous things while I was in school. The first argument is based on keeping males and females separate from each other. If they are separate, both males and females can concentrate on their school work and not on each other. I don't think I would have enjoyed school that much if I went to school with all females. High school promoted gender equality and it helped me work with other males and not just the female population. I was able to make many guy friends in high school and was able to get advice from them if I needed it. Sometimes you need friends of the opposite sex because you may not be able to get certain advice from your female friends. I learned a lot about the male population by just being in school with them for all these years and I came into my own self and was able to be independent. The next argument in the textbook is keeping students separate based on their race and ethnicity. If students are in school with individuals of the same race, they are able to embrace their heritage and study with their friends that come from the same backgrounds of them. I am unable to speak on behalf of this because the school that I attended was all Caucasian and there barley any different races or ethnicities. I wish that my high school was different in this respect because I would have been able to learn more about their culture and how they live. It would have opened my eyes to a different side of living and that not everyone lives the same way. If schools were separated by religion, we would be able to practice our own in schools such as prayer and not worrying about being ridiculed by our classmates. Going to school with individuals of different religions can help us to grow when we learn about the different practices. We can gain valuable lessons about religions and learn to accept the lifestyles that they lead in regards to prayer and religious services. I am Catholic and I went to a high school that was predominantly Jewish. I was able to see into the religion of Judaism by attending certain services in the temple such as Bat and Bar Mitzvahs. If I went to school with all Catholics I would not be informed about this lifestyle and what it is all about. The final statement is putting GBLT students all together in a school. These schools can help these individuals cope with their unique circumstances and it can protect them from ridicule. Attending schools with others can give students an insight to different lifestyles and it can help others respect the GBLT lifestyle.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What if the NFL played by Teacher's Rules?

Here is an article that one of my friends put up on Facebook and the title was very intriguing to me. Think about this for a second, what if players could never be cut from the roster as long as they have been playing with the team for 3 years. What would this alternate league be like? If the players were never getting cut and their pay was increasing each season, then the product of the players on the field would decline as well as they probably wouldn't want to risk getting hurt on the field. If the players are guaranteed a spot, wouldn't they work a little less harder because they are guaranteed a spot? Right now of course this isn't true because players give it their all every week to be better than the other team and to make the most money. The only way a player could be cut is if they retire or if there are cases of misconduct against them. This can be turned around and relate to the American public education system. It is true that when a teacher is in a school district for 3 years they are offered a permanent job there where they cannot be fired unless they retire or there is misconduct against them. The salary of a teacher and how good they are at their job have nothing in common. A eighth year teacher can be making more than a first year teacher, but that is only because they have been there longer. That does not mean that the eighth year teacher is better than the first year teacher. Some teachers that have been in a school district for a while and know they can't be fired may do just the bare minimum because they know they won't lose their job. Teachers that help the learning process should be rewarded other than those teachers that  don't get the job done. I know there are plenty of those teachers out there, especially in the physical education department. For example, when I observed in a middle school in 256, 2 out of the 3 physical education teachers had been at the school for 20+ years. The other teacher was younger and she had only been there for around 5. The way the 2 older teachers handled their classes was not the way that I thought they would. The unit was volleyball, and they set up the nets and threw the volleyball out for the students to play. From what I observed, I didn't see much teaching going on, although I was only there for a week. But the attitude of the teachers that were there for a longer time made me think that I could do a better job than they could. They had a mentality that they were there for a long time and what they have done in the past years has worked so they are going to keep doing it. Students need to be exposed to teachers that are motivated and love their job and are going to get the students involved. These are the teachers that should be rewarded for their hard work and dedication to the subject they are teaching.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I posted this link on SUNY Cortland PE Forever on Facebook, but my post was brief and I wanted to address it in a blog post. I found this link on twitter and I thought that it would be something positive to talk about. The link is as follows: I think that this issue is more common now than it ever was. We need to have positive role models standing up to bullying in schools. What's the statistic? 160,000 kids stay home from school a day to avoid bullying. Students should not be staying home from school because they are afraid to go. That is no way to live and that is no way to remember your elementary, middle, or even high school years. The website states that studies show that bullying will stop within 10 seconds over half the time if a bystander gets involved. The number of students that get bullied is pretty scary to think about. Students and teachers need to be more informed about this topic at hand so that they are able to handle it if they are faced with a certain situation. They shouldn't be afraid to stand up to that bully if they see someone else having trouble. I know that there were many bulletin boards up about bullying when I did my 256 observation mostly in the middle school and not in the high school. The problems can arise anywhere at any time and if we know how to handle it many more students would not have to worry about this problem. I know that bullying was never a large issue in my high school when I was there, but it should still be addressed. This website will help raise awareness about this act and help others to stand up against it.

What's Your EQ?

First of all, what does EQ stand for and what does it mean. EQ stands for emotional intelligence quotient. The definition in the book explains that the EQ is "a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one's thinking and actions." On page 41 of the textbook, the survey caught my eye about EQ. I wanted to find out what my emotional intelligence quotient would be. I was rated on knowing emotions, managing emotions, motivating oneself, recognizing emotions in others, and handling relationships. If you score between 18 and 20 points you receive a grade A, 14 to 17 points is a B grade, 10-13 points is a C grade, and 5 to 9 points you would receive a grade of a D. For knowing emotions, I am usually aware of recognizing a feeling as it happens. I usually am aware of when I am angry, jealous, or in love. Next, I rated myself that I am usually able to manage my emotions. I can usually handle bad times as well as the good and bounce back from life's setbacks. On the motivating oneself category, I rated myself always self-motivated/focused. I am able to focus my energy, confidence, and concentration on achieving a goal. In the second to last category, I rated myself as always empathetic and I am able to pick up subtle signs of what others need or want. Finally, in the handling relationships section, I rated myself as rich in friendship and am often asked to lead activities and events. I was honest with the EQ ratings on page 41 and I scored in the A range. I am satisfied with my results and I attribute my high rating to trying to surround myself in a positive environment with people that are not going to bring me down. I work hard to achieve my goals and I am able to keep my friends close by staying loyal to them. I am determined to always finish my work and graduate with a degree that I will use to my advantage. I wonder what everyone else would score if they took this test. This test might be helpful in physical education classes to work on the affective domain and to teach students how to become a good leader, friend, and student.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Myths and Facts of Learning

On page 32 of the textbook, there is a section about the myths and facts about diverse learning. As I was reading these myths and facts there were 3 of them that stuck out to me the most and related most to my learning experiences. The first myth that caught my attention was "students learn best in quiet surroundings." The fact is that most students learn best with music or background noise. I know that as I am writing this blog I have music in the background. Most of the time it keeps me concentrated and on task. I listen to music that is soothing to me such as acoustic songs or I will sometimes listen to techno songs that keep me motivated and keep my fingers moving. Depending on the subject I need complete silence. When I am studying for a subject that I do not understand I need it to be very quiet wherever I am. I retain information better when it is quiet rather than having music in my ear. On the contrary if I am writing an essay or doing a worksheet I can listen to music or have a little bit of background noise. Everyone learns and studies different so this myth would not apply to everyone. The second myth that caught my attention was "difficult subjects are best taught in the morning, when students are most alert." The fact is that it differs for all students when they are alert. Some students are morning people and enjoy having early classes and having the rest of the day to themselves. Many other students are more alert during the afternoon and nighttime hours and would be most alert during this time. I know for myself I am most alert during the afternoon, so if you tried to teach me math at 8am, chances are I will probably not pay full attention and will forget what I learned by the afternoon. I like to do my work later on at night, I find that I am the most motivated when I take this approach. The third and final myth that I wanted to talk about in this blog was "the most appropriate length of time for a class is 45 to 55 minutes." Again, this is different for many students. Some of them believe that this is not enough time, while others have an attention span that lasts about 10 minutes. I know that after a half hour of class I am ready to leave, especially if the teacher does not have anything else to say and is just filling the air with words to keep us there for the 50 minutes that we have. There might not be a happy medium for how long a class should last for, but it is important to remember that all students learn differently. These myths and facts do not relate to all students and the person who knows how they learn best is in fact the student. They must know which is the best way they succeed and how they can approach their schoolwork.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Students with Special Needs

The population of students with special needs is getting predominantly larger as the years go on. This is one of the many reasons why I decided to take up the opportunity that SUNY Cortland offers and get my concentration in Adapted Physical Education (APE). So far I believe that I have learned a lot of information that I can relay to teachers that are in the field right now. Many of us are educated about students with special needs, but there is a vast majority of physical education teachers that do not know much about the subject. Students with special needs are often seen as unique and different especially in the physical education environment. They may not be able to do the same things that students without special needs can, but there are certain easy modifications that can be done that teachers do not realize. These students should not be sitting on the sideline for every activity while they watch their peers participate in the class activities or keeping score while the other students are playing games. Some modifications that you can use for students in the physical education classroom is using a brighter or lighter ball, making the boundaries bigger or smaller, or changing the rules of the game if it may be too hard. I got first hand experience with this last weekend when I went up to Raquette Lake and worked with individuals with disabilities. When working with these individuals, you first look past their disability and focus on what the individual can do and not what they can't do. For example, one of the individuals was in a wheelchair, but the entire weekend we were focusing on what he could do, and how to make certain tasks easier for him to complete while still staying involved. When we went out on a hike during the afternoon, we put him in a wheelchair that was made for rocky and muddy terrain. With someone pushing him, he was able to participate in the hike rather than staying back and waiting for us to return. It was rewarding to see him smiling and interacting with all of us, as we were getting to know him and looking past his ability. Students with special needs are going to get frustrated at times and it is up to us to help them through any difficult times they are having. We can set attainable goals in the beginning of the year that the student can work toward achieving. I felt as though after last weekend I made a difference in numerous individual's lives. It is an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life and one that I will use in the future when I get a teaching job.

What my profession means to me

Ever since I was young, sports were an important part of my life. Every time I went to my grandmas house with my cousins, we played sports in her backyard to keep us entertained. I have a male cousin my age, and I believe the reason we bonded so much throughout the years was because of sports. My cousin was athletic and he opened my eyes into sports (some sports that I couldn't even play such as football). We made up our own games and I was practicing my sports skills without even realizing it. I loved the sport of football even though I was unable to play it in middle and high school, but when I was with my cousin we bonded over punting the football over a tree branch or just having a simple catch. When the weather got cold and we couldn't play outside for a while, we would sit in my grandmas house and watch endless hours of football and basketball games. Sports have been a part of me my entire life. Each opportunity I got to play a sport I would. Often when my friends would be playing on the playground in elementary school, I found a way to play sports with the other kids in my grade even if I was the only girl out there. It has been my passion and I couldn't see myself doing anything other than working in a field where I would be able to teach other individuals about my knowledge of sports. Day camps have also been a part of my life ever since I was younger, attending a local day camp from kindergarten to 7th grade and then working there when I was older. With this experience, I found myself to become a natural at working with younger students in a day camp environment. I am now a head counselor at this day camp and I work there every summer, and each summer I learn something new about myself. When I tell people I know what I am going to school for, they tell me that they could not see me doing anything else but that. I want to make a difference in my classroom and advance the skills of students in physical education even if they are not the most coordinated or the best athlete in their grade. I want to be able to educate students about staying healthy and how important it is to keep up with an active lifestyle. There are still many changes to be done to numerous physical education programs around the United States and I believe that the future physical educators can be agents of change to bring this program in the right direction.

What Kind of Learner are You?

Three of the most well known learning styles that are mentioned in Chapter 2 are visual,kinesthetic, and auditory learners. The individuals that are visual learners learn the best by seeing the information such as using textbooks, charts, and graphs to help relay the information to them. To help a visual learner, they should write down information or highlight key points. To avoid distractions, they can sit in front of the classroom away from the windows and doors. A kinesthetic learner is "hands on" and learn best by doing the activity. I know that I am a kinesthetic learner and I do better when I am able to do the activity at hand. In physical education I understand best when something is shown to me. You can explain it with words all you want, but I will understand it the most when it is actually shown to me. In the classroom, it helps to take breaks when learning. When I am studying, I find that pacing around my room and reciting my notes helps me best to memorize the material. A challenge with this is to have your kinesthetic learners not distract anyone in the process of learning. The third learner is self-explanitory and that is the auditory learner. This student learns the best by hearing the information; this style is less frequent than the other two mentioned. What may help these individuals to learn could be studying with a partner, audiotapes, and reading out loud. I asked one of my roommates what category she fell into and without hesitation she told me that she is a visual learner. She told me she learns the best when she reads the textbook slowly, writing notes down on the side and highlighting whenever she can. She told me that whenever there is a chart or illustration present, she is able to pick up the information quickly. What I would do for a student in my physical education class that is a visual learner is have illustrations up in my classroom that focuses on what we will be doing that day. I would make sure to repeat directions if needed and offer time for questions from these students. Cues would be written up in the gym and I would give students enough time to copy down these cues on paper for them to remember the cues better. The kinesthetic learner would have an easier time in physical education because most of the learning is hands on in the classroom. They will be watching demonstrations and then they would be able to participate by following the demonstration themselves. An auditory learner could come into class with a tape recorder when the teacher is reciting cues or important points that they would need to remember. Additionally, the teacher could record on a tape provided by the student what they need to remember so that they can go home and study it, and they will be prepared for the next class. If you had to choose, what kind of learner do you think you would be?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What is YOUR Reason for Teaching?

One of the graphs that caught my attention in Chapter 1 was Figure 1.1 on page 4. For some reason I thought that the highest reason for teaching would be the salary for teaching or the long summer vacation. Those are probably misconceptions that I thought about being around teachers for such a long time. I thought what motivated them most was their time off for holidays and that they would be getting paid more teaching than they would at any other job. After looking at this graph it makes the most sense now that 70% of teachers have a desire to work with young people and that is why they enjoy their profession so much. It is satisfying for a teacher to teach young people a subject that they do not know much about, or a subject that they enjoy. I know that I remember a few of my teachers from high school because they made such a big impact on my life. That is the kind of teacher I want to be for my students, and my driving force for becoming a teacher is to create bonds with my students that will last forever. I want them to walk out of my classroom learning at least one thing during the year. If they remember one thing from that year then I will feel accomplished that I did my job. I feel as though some teachers are in certain professions for the wrong reasons. Many individuals that I talk to think that physical education is an easy major because we play games all day. Some teachers may be in the physical education field because they may not do much in their schools. It is more than just rolling the ball out to the students and having them play games on their own. I believe that it is about making an impact on your students and incorporating all 3 domains into learning. One of my reasons for teaching is also because I am extremely interested in physical education because it has been a huge impact in my life. I have always participated in sports for as long as I can remember and always looked forward to physical education class no matter what grade I was in. Most of my middle and high school memories were made in physical education, and this was where I enjoyed myself the most and where I was able to succeed. I wanted to major in something that I had an interest in, not something that I was doing just because I had to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. This is something that I know I'll be excited to go into work every day and learn new things from my students and create life-long bonds with them.

Urban Legends About Teaching

There are 2 urban legends that are written about in Chapter 1 that can be analyzed. The first being Teachers are born, not made and All you really need to know is the subject you are teaching. During the past 3 years at college I have learned all about the teaching profession and I have been able to observe my fellow classmates as they teach. I do believe that there are certain students where teaching comes naturally to them. They need a little bit of corrective feedback while teaching lessons to make them become better than they are at that point in time. There are students in my classes who need a little more work than others. But I do believe that many of them can transform themselves into better teachers with practice and the right suggestions. If they listen to these suggestions then they have potential to be just as good as their other classmates. I don't think that it is correct to say that only teachers are born and it is impossible to become a teacher if you are not born with certain skills. Everyone can work at it to become better because practice does make perfect. With a lot of practice, these individuals that are not "born" teachers can very well become just as good as someone else who has been teaching for numerous years. To go along with this is the second urban legend about all you really need to know is the subject you are teaching is that sometimes teachers that know too much about what they are teaching are not able to relay the information back to their students. They sometimes have trouble teaching their students because they know the information, but it is hard to explain it to others. I have encountered a few teachers in college that are very smart about their subject matter, but have a difficult time teaching the class because they are masters at what they are teaching. Sometimes it is easier to teach a subject that you don't know much about to your students. I believe you need to know just enough to be able to teach and also you must be skilled in the art and science of teaching also known as pedagogy.  To be a successful teacher you must know about your subject and be able to teach your students about it. My main goal as a teacher will be to make sure that my students are successful at the subject no matter how much extra time I must put in to help them achieve their goals.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Thoughts

I hope. I believe. I will. Those are 3 very powerful sentences that can mean a lot to many individuals. But what exactly do they mean to me? What do I hope for the future? What are my beliefs? What will I do after I get my degree in Physical Education? I hope that I get a job in the physical education field within 3 years of graduation. I hope that I can make a difference with my students, even if it is just with one of them. If I can get through to one then I hope that one student turns into almost all of them. I believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to with hard work and dedication. I will set positive goals for myself to achieve and become successful with whatever I do after college.