Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My First Day at St. Mary's

On Monday, February 9Th, I had my first lab which was at Saint Mary's Elementary School. As soon as we got there, my group was placed in the gym, where we played a few games with the kids. In the beginning it seemed like an absolute mad house and it was overwhelming at first, but after awhile I got used to all the yelling and the constant tugging at the arms. Within the first ten minutes we grouped the children together to explain what game we were going to play first. It was definitely challenging to get their attention, but having experience with children of all ages working at a day care center, I quickly got right back in the swing of things. I simply explained the game, "Temple Tag" and " Blob Tag" and they knew right away what to do and ran right off. After a few taggers, we then moved on to "Rock, Paper, Scissors" by using our bodies. The way our class was taught the game was by breaking off into partners and play continuously by constantly changing partners. The kids did not understand this too well, so we verified the game to fit them and they had a blast with it. After the gym, we then moved downstairs where the kids ate snack and played quiet games with them like Checkers, cards, and Connect Four. After that, we wrapped up the day in the gym and just let the kids have free time and we played whatever they wanted to play really.

All in all, I thought it was a great first day and a fun, valuable experience.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

To have Dodgeball or Not?..That is the Question

Dodgeball..the ever so competitive, all out, target aiming and fun game that most children have been brought up playing in their schools for more than 20 years. And if it wasn't Dodgeball, then it was called something else. But, whether it was called Dodgeball or not, there has always been that game where balls are being thrown at other people and some, either fear for the sake of having a huge welt on their back or they show no mercy. So whats the problem?
The problem is, people are starting to question the safety of Dodgeball and the point behind the game. Most schools are terminating Dodgeball from Physical Education completely, while others are still keeping it with modifications to the game.
But whats wrong with Dodgeball? Here it is--Human targets. Some argue that when playing Dodgeball, we are using students as human targets, which is a negative factor about the game. Also, in Dodgeball, the weaker players are usually hit first and are forced to sit out causing them to be unable to participate. Not only are students human targets and the weaker links are getting picked on first, but the more athletic students are completely dominating the game and appear to be "bullying" the not so athletic students. Last but not least, the rubber balls that used to be used back in day hurt when some whips the ball at you; you would literally have a welt the size of a beach ball for a couple of days.
So why is there an argument after all those cons of Dodgeball? Because there are still pros to Dodgeball. First off, a lot of children love the game and it is a great way to involve everyone. The game also improves many different skills like aiming, catching, throwing, jumping, coordination, agility, and endurance. Unfortunately though, what do physical education teachers do about the students that aren't the best movers? That's where this well known, great game becomes not so great. All it does for these students is begin to even hate the word "Dodgeball" and resent their teacher as soon as he or she says the word, resulting in negative feelings about Physical Education; and us P.E. teachers don't want that!!
Personally, at the elementary level, I think that Dodgeball shouldn't be ruled out completely, but I think it should not be played like it was played 10 years ago. It should be played with modifications. For example, using soft foam balls and focusing on using other targets. Or you can play by simply only hitting the opposing player from the hip down, or use your non-dominate hand, or the ball has to bounce before it hits someone else. There are plenty of ways to modify the game and to still reap the benefits as before.
So--To have Dodgeball or not? That is truly the question.