Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Lost Boys - Cortland Club Gymnastics

Everybody has something in their lives that they pour countless hours into because they love it. They make sacrifices everyday just to do it and they miss it when it's not there.

For me, club gymnastics has been a place where I can express myself and continue my studies as a student of movement.

This year was the first year we had more guys attending practice on average then we did girls. For us it isn't necessarily about impressing anyone or even doing crazy tricks, it's all about progression.

We spent about a month filming this video and I can't believe how amazing it turned out! Everyone contributed so much to it that I can't thank them enough.

In the future I plan on writing a blog post on Parkour and how it could be practical to teach in a physical education classroom.

For now enjoy the video, The Lost Boys (Part 1 of Warriors Against Time)

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Journey Through Time With The Sommersaults


First off, what is a Sommersault?

The term was originated by SUNY Cortlands very own Jack Murphy in 2010 when he first met the now infamous David Sommer. Dave received the first ever Student Spotlight title in the Park Center Enquirer (Jack's newly created PE Newsletter)

After receiving this award Dave now became David Sommer Freshman Spotlight. (Which my Mom still refers to him as to this day) The problem was though that most people, including myself, pronounced Dave's last name incorrectly. Instead of pronouncing it like "Summer" the "o" threw every one off and made it pronounced more like "Homer" (Fill in the S in front of Homer)

After finding this out Jack was enraged and started making new nicknames for the Freshman Spotlight including David Sommersault. This quickly became one of our favorite spins on Dave's name and leads us into this past semester of 201.

The Formation

It was the first lab of 201 that we were at St. Mary's and Professor Yang asked us at the end to choose a group. Immediately Dave looked at me and I knew right away he would be in my group, but because Kyle and Hannon were moving to Wednesday lab we needed one more for our group. I didn't even know Mallory but figured I might as well ask her to be in our group because she looked just about as lost as we were. and...BOOM. The Sommersaults were born*. Sorry, this part of the story isn't very climactic but it gets better.

*Actually this is a lie. We chose the name Sommersaults at the first practice lab (Described below) and I will explain later why the Sommersaults was a perfect name, thanks to one of my favorite hobbies.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ice Cream Cones Found Their Place in P.E.

For the second week in a row my group, The Sommersaults, had the privilege of working with the preschoolers! I love working with the pre-k because they are so full of creativity and imagination. If you get them engaged they are willing to listen and to play. It's not easy, but if you get their attention and keep it I guarantee the experience you have will be positive.

This week I actually got to do my craft with the students. We become Pirates and built our very own treasure chests! (Compliments of Corey Union)

I tried to the draw the pre-k kids in by asking them a string of questions like this, "Does everyone know what a pirate is?" "Where do Pirates live?" "What do Pirates love?" After the last question I received the word "GOLD!" from one of the students, so I then asked the question, "Where do Pirates keep their gold?" Immediately all the students shouted, "their treasure chest!"

At that moment I brought out the treasure chest I had already made at my dorm room and explained what they would be doing. It was simple, I gave them each a certain number of Crayons and asked them to write/draw whatever they want wherever they wanted on the box. I was amazed to see how focused they were the whole time. Out of the ten students who made one there was only one student, who was sitting next to me, who didn't feel like participating. So instead of asking him to color his own I asked him to help me or give me ideas of what I should draw on my chest. This seemed to work a lot better and he seemed to enjoy himself after that.

Monday, April 23, 2012

An Adventure Through Lava...With Sunshine and Smiles

We couldn't have asked for a better day at St. Mary's for Lab 5! The sun was out and shining bright, the students were well behaved and ready to play, and all my classmates (from 201) had high energy!

At first we went right outside to the playground to play with the pre-schoolers. Personally, I think pre-schoolers are a lot of fun because their imaginations are constantly working and making up games to play, and scenarios to act out. For me, I love to jump in and use m imagination and start adding on to their games and playing with them.

 In this picture we were playing hide-n-go-seek.

Let's just say I was way to big to fit anywhere to actually hide.

As the time went by on the playground I was impressed by my peers as I watched them playing games of tag, hide-n-go-seek, princess, "Don't touch the ground it's lava", and many other games and scenarios. Everyone was smiling and laughing and having a good time and it is good to see that everyone was enjoying themselves and working well with the children.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It takes 8 to Tango?

This past monday we were able to learn more about the Exergaming lab here at SUNY Cortland. This was my first real experience with using the equipment, learning how it works, and seeing the benefit of it first hand. 

My experience monday makes me want to get back in the lab right away to develop ideas to use the equipment in the classroom.

One thing that I have seen in classrooms before, even in my hometown, is the use of DDR, or Dance Dance Revolution. But I have never seen a system like the one that Professor Yang has in the Exergaming lab. 8 Wireless dance pads are set up to a computer which plays a DDR like game that is projected on the wall for everyone to see! 

We played multiple different levels from Regular, to hard, to Expert. (Expert was not a good idea) After two or three songs I was sweating, smiling, and having a blast! I think that DDR would be a good way to get students engaged in class because is has upbeat music, enhances coordination, and provides a system of "Challenge by choice" 

Students can easily see a breakdown of how they played. Whether they stomped the pad late, early, or on time to the music, or how many notes in a row they hit. They can challenge themselves by seeing if they can better their high score on a song, or they can also try harder levels and more difficult songs. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Sommersaults: Head, Neck, and Body

The Sommersaults released their music video to their hit single "Head, Neck, and Body" and the response has been incredible.

Check out our Soundcloud and download the song for your iPod today!

The Sommersaults will be performing LIVE this week in PED 201. Stay tuned to see the live broadcast and video to follow.

Lay Ups and Hang Ups in Lab 4

Okay so it is safe to say that all the older boys at St. Mary's could play Basketball every day and be happy. I thought that by making a game that involved dribbling would be of interest to them. So I started off my lesson by saying that we were going to play a game "like" basketball but as soon as they realized that they wouldn't be shooting only dribbling one of the boys looks at me and says, "This isn't basketball at all."

I didn't know how to respond to that statement and that student ended up not playing the game. To me that was a huge failure because I had the opportunity to keep him in the game but I didn't think fast enough on my feet to draw the student back in.

Thinking on my feet is something I need to be more aware of, especially in the language I use when explaining a game to children. If expressed the wrong way they could lose interest, but it doesn't work smoothly all the time and now I will be aware of the fact that I need to re phrase my instructions.

Take a look at my Lab 4 analysis here.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Supervising The Great Debate of 2012!

I first need to apologize for not wearing the proper attire for class today.

With that being said lets begin discussing what the Great Debate is and why it was so important for class. According to Professor Yang's blog post on Rockstar PE, "The Great Debate is on to determine which curriculum emphasis is more appropriate for the students in New York State." 

As the Superintendent of the School Board it was my job to make sure that the schedule (scroll all the way down the page for schedule) was to be followed and time was to be managed correctly. I thought we made it through everything we had to get to but I think it would have been more beneficial to have this debate over a two day period so that teams would have more opportunity to present their arguments. 

At first everyone seemed very timid, but once the time for rebuttals came the Great debate seemed to get very heated. If you were following the debate by watching it LIVE on ustream, or on Twitter you would have seen tweets like these: 

Baby Shark! (Do-Do-Do-Do-Do-Do) Singing My Way Through Lab 4

The first time I heard the song Baby Shark was way back in 8th grade when I went to a Lead America conference in Washington DC. I remember this man standing up on stage and jumping around all crazy yelling "SHARK ATTACK!" At first, just like any of the other students at the conference, I was too "cool," to act as crazy as he was. Lets jump ahead two days and now my friends and I are the ones on stage leading this cheer to about 150 other students. Now, "baby shark," is one of my favorite songs for kids.

So when The Sommersaults got together to discuss what we were going to do for Lab 3 I quickly volunteered to do the song portion. When I told my TA Matt I was going to do the baby shark song he was immediately ecstatic and told me I had to do it because he had seen a video of someone doing it and thought it was absolutely hysterical.

Click here for a video example of "Baby Shark" there are a million and one variations of this song. But for the sake of Saint Mary's I choose to do: baby shark, Momma shark, Daddy shark, Grandma shark, I was swimming, and Shark attack. GET CREATIVE!

I loved doing it and it was funny to watch some of my classmates in the back jumping up during shark attack all crazy! Thanks for the enthusiasm everyone it helps out a lot.

Also, my group this week was special projects so I helped make an inventory of all the equipment at Saint Mary's. We organized both closets and took pictures of all the equipment. Now if someone looks at a picture they can see where something is to be placed and they know how many, lets say basketballs, need to be in a bin.

Pictures will be coming soon..

Check out my Lab 4 Write up here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cleaning Up The Messy Backyard of The PE Hall of Shame

In Elementary school I am sure that almost everyone has played Clean Up Your Backyard, or as the PE Hall of Shame calls it "Messy Backyard"

The Object is for students to hurl a wide variety of objects over a net, or maybe a midline, of a basketball court for example, in order to be the side that has the "cleanest," backyard.

I remember playing Messy Backyard and I just remember the gym being utter chaos. Back then I had a great time playing the game, but now that I can look at the game and really assess its ability to "teach" the students skills I can see that it really does belong in the PE Hall of Shame.

There are multiple problems with this game.
1. It creates chaos, which isn't good for learning
2. Strategies are difficult for young students to understand (if they understand them at all)
3. It doesn't create movement or any activity really. Its a very stagnant game where students usually wait for an object to roll to them or be in close proximity.

I think there is an argument here for MBY to be in a PE class but most of the game will have to be modified.

YouTube Can Be Healthy?

I guess I have to preface this post with why I started to make videos in the first place. I bought my first video camera when I was in 7th Grade and I took hours of skateboarding video. Unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to edit it on the computer because it was too complex, so I got frustrated and gave up. The Summer before coming to Cortland for Freshman year I decided I was going to buy a Kodak Playsport just so I could have something to capture some memories. I used it everyday for the first month and fell in love with making/shooting video.

Two months later and I move into Hendrick hall and I meet one of our Classmates, Kyle McManus, because we both got into talking about how we love to flip. One week later our first video at SUNY Cortland was made, entitled "Dive 4 Fun

A week after Dive 4 Fun was made Kyle and I both joined the Gymnastics Club. I started using my camera to video myself and my friends at practice. I used it to analyze my movements and watch the mistakes I was making, and to track my process. Its been 3 semesters since then and I have over 100 hours of gymnastics footage on my computer. 

If you look back at videos like this "Gold Dust"then watch videos like "We Are Family" you can see how far my friends and I have come in just a short year. 

I have seen an improvement in my coordination, my strength, my awareness, my relief of stress, and my social health as well. The video is entitled "We Are Family" for a reason. It means a lot to me to watch all my closest friends doing what they love to do. 

but back to my main point, 

This video is real. I didn't make up a false story about how I use technology to help stay healthy and it is something that is very important to me. I will continue to use videos and YouTube to watch myself grow for as long as I can. I highly suggest people using video to track progress. It takes those moments that you just can't explain in words and allows you to re-live them essentially. 

you can check out ODDJobMedia to see my videos/work if you would like as well. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

St. Mary's: Round 2

After my first experience at St. Mary's going so smoothly I couldn't wait to get back to the school this week!

 This week it was Mallory, Dave, and I's chance to be the gym group and have the opportunity be the first people to teach while our peers assessed the students abilities to Run, Hop, and Gallop.

 The theme for this past week was Valentine's Day so we tried to make our games relevant to the holiday. For example when I sat the students down to explain the game to them I asked them if they knew what holiday was coming up, and to my surprise, more than half of them RAISED their hand. I choose a boy sitting to my left and he replied, "Valentines Day!" So I went on to ask them if they were making cards for their friends or their "valentines," in class. When I said, "valentines," they all laughed and giggled and said "ewwwwwwww!" or ,"no way!" I should have none that they would make that response but it was funny to see their reaction.

I explained to them that the game would be called, Will You Be My Valentine? (and instead of Valentine I used the word friend) The game goes as such, I ask the students to perform a specific task about the gym (run, hop, skip, etc) and then say go! The music starts and they run, hop, and skip, their way about the gym and when the music stops they run to a hula hoop with a partner and they ask them, "Will You Be My Friend?" The response should always be, "Of Course I will!" So throughout the game I asked them to find the first friend they met, I asked them to clap for their friends and I even got them to meet in the circles with the TA's and myself. I was very happy to see that they were energetic and into it and I am happy to say that I felt very pleased with myself when I left St. Mary's that day.

 The other part of the day that stuck out to me the most was playing on the playground. We played on the playground in just sweatshirts and sweatpants in the beginning of February in Upstate New York, Which rarely happens!

Check out my Lab 2 Here!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Sommersautls: The Debut

First off, we need to thank David Sommer for allowing us to use his last name (pronounced "summer") to make the best pun ever.

Second, thank you to our TA's Matt and Steve for joining us in our fantastic dance number.

This is the first of many performances to come for the Sommersaults, stay tuned to watch the Sommersaults progress through PED 201!

Virtus Training is No Joke

Sister Harriet came down to our class last week on Monday and Wednesday to guide us through Virtus training. We watched two different videos on sexual harassment and had discussions after to discuss how the videos made us feel and what we took away from the video's various messages.

Sexual Harassment is a topic that people don't usually feel comfortable talking about, and I was impressed with both the videos we watched and the way our class handled themselves during the discussion after.

What sticks out in my mind is the fact that they interviewed both the sexual harasser and the victim. I could never imagine someone being able to say, "if I could I would do it again," when asked if they were given the opportunity to sexually harass someone. But in a way I am glad that I got to hear that because now I know that I can't be too naive to the fact that people like that exist in this world. It's not something that you can go around assuming all the time, but I think that if I ever truly saw warning signs I would look further into it, rather than just brushing it off.


Recently everyone has heard about all the different scandals nation wide regarding sexual harassment, but no two are more common in the northeast than the Penn State and Syracuse University scandals. You could go on and on for days arguing about whether or not Paterno has any fault in this matter but to make things simple here is my opinion in short. Was he obligated by law in Pennsylvania to pursue the investigation of the case when he first received word, no. Morally however, he should be held to a little higher standard in my opinion, being someone who is so influential to young people and is seen as a leader. Simply put, that is my opinion. Reading up on Sandusky's charges it seems that 10 people have charged him with sexual assault and this friday he will be receiving the names of those 10 people. To let something like this go on for so long you can't blame just one person, I am sure there are many people who are at fault at Penn State, but like I said before sexual harassment is something that is hard to talk about.

I have not been following the SU scandal very much but I do remember reading this article back in November and thinking that the guy who wrote it was crazy. Dimitry Loselevich writes, "Is what Fine did really worse than Bernie Madoff cheating thousands of investors out of billions of dollars? What about Muammar Gaddafi ordering the bombing of a plane and killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members?" I couldn't believe that he even hinted at the fact that what Madoff and Gaddafi did were "worse" than what Fine had done. Sexual Harassment doesn't always leave physical scars but it destroys someone emotionally. To me that's as bad as it can possibly get. 

I could go on for days about this probably so I will save you the time reading and end there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chapter 1 Questions

Learning Through the Physical: 

According to our text book learning through movement is based on that fact that "effective physical education can positively influence both the cognitive and affective development of children" From this we can gather that learning through the physical should be regarded as important part of working with children. Learning through movement would include not only learning skills but it would help affectively by teaching teamwork, communication, and self-esteem. If we can create games that will help feel better about physical activity we can positively affect them for life.

How does Physical Activity Impact Affective Growth?

Affective Growth is defined as "learning that increases the ability of children to act, interact, and react effectively with other people as well as with themselves" For example Affective Growth has a lot to with self-esteem. If Physical Educators can help design games that maximize self-esteem in children we can help make them more inclined to want to participate in physical activity. Movement is also important to children's affective growth in how they view their peers and their status amongst their peers. Games must have a positive form of socialization in order to benefit a childs affective growth.

St. Mary's: The Beginning (Day 1)

Well my first experience working with kids in my physical education career has begun and I couldn't be more excited! I knew today was going to be hectic considering that there was 20 students going and 7 TA's. I really enjoyed the experience regardless. Meeting some new Phys. Ed. Majors and watching the TA's run activities makes me excited for the rest of 201.

I was really impressed with St. Mary's program because everything seemed well planned out and very structured. (Minus the gym, it was chaotic) But going around to all the different rooms and meeting different students was the highlight of my day (aside from playing house with the pre-k students...I'm really too big to play house.)

The Parachute games were run very smoothly and I thought that the TA's did a wonderful job showing us an example of a solid lesson structure. The kids all had smiles on their faces when they got to go under the parachute and become "sharks." Simple games like parachute should be utilized more often in my opinion.

From what I could tell the students also had pretty good motor skills. In the first game the students showed that they, for the most part, understood the difference between run, jump, hop, skip, and gallop.

I look forward to working with the students in the future!

Check out my responses to lab 1!

The First Day of Class!

What can I say about the first day of class other than it was a ton of information at one time. But, luckily Professor Yang has done an excellent job with laying out all of the directions online in a clear and precise way. The videos on screenr helped me out so much when I needed to upload my lab write up and link it to my blog.

I think the best part of the class was realizing that I have now finally started my path to becoming a physical educator here at Cortland. All this work I have done with children in the past has lead to me to here and I am excited to see what my future holds!

Creating a Blog!

My first blog post, this is exciting! I can't wait to look back on this blog in a year and see the leaps and bounds I have made as a student and an educator. I'm not nervous about blogging and I think that it will come naturally as the semester progresses.

Over the break I was able to get in to see some of my old Phys. Ed. Teachers and talk to them about where I am at at Cortland and where I am headed. We talked a lot about new things that were happening in Phys. Ed. because they were interested to see where Cortland is going with PE.

I also am lucky to have a father who is an athletic director and a former PE Teacher who graduated from Cortland. He was able to allow me to observe some middle school classes and even teach some Tchoukball to the students to gain experience.