First Adaptive Experience
On Monday September 19th 2011 I had my first adaptive education experience for my 356 class. I work in the gym with a boy named peter that has Down syndrome and is nine years old. I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t nervous, because I had no idea what to expect because I have never worked with students that had any kind of disabilities. I wasn’t really sure how to treat them or how good their motor skills would match up with the ages of the students. My student Peter turned out to be a really great kid I began feeling pretty comfortable working with him right away. The activity I had planned to do with him was basically for me to get to know him a little better. I set up two different hula hoops on opposite sides of the gym and I placed about 20 task cards inside one of them. The goal was for him to flip over the task card perform the task and do it on the way to the opposite hula hoop. After that he would perform the task back over to the original hula hoop and there was another set of task cards with questions on them such as; what did you have for breakfast?.. what did you do this weekend?.. what is your favorite color?.. etc. Most of the questions I asked Peter wasn’t really able to respond to them or give me the answer I was looking for but I did manage to find out that his favorite color is yellow and his favorite animal is a cow. I was pretty surprised that peter was able to read all the task cards and actually knew what most of the skills that I had planned for him were. The only one he wasn’t really sure of was “mountain climbers”. However Peter didn’t really perform any of the skills to good. I really liked working with peter though because he is a very happy kid and I could tell that he was having fun the whole time and enjoyed doing what I had set up for him. I think that’s probably the main reason I felt so comfortable right away with Peter because he was such a good sport. For the last few minutes of the class we just sat down and passed a ball back and forth to each other and worked on his catching abilities. I tried teaching peter how you have to catch a bigger ball such as a kickball and a smaller ball such as a tennis ball. Peter had a little bit of trouble catching the tennis ball because he liked using two hands but didn’t like to put them closer to each other, but it’s something we can continue to work on throughout the rest of this year.
On Friday September 16th 2011 I had my first experience at an Elementary School in Ithaca. The first day I didn’t really do any serious teaching just kind of observed and got know the kids a little bit and just helped out wherever I was needed. I was shocked to see how nice the gym was and how much equipment they had. This school was hooked up in other words. They were in the middle of a gymnastics unit and it looked like a lot of fun for the students. I was also pretty surprised when I saw how athletic these kids were, my elementary school was nothing like that. I mostly helped out by the climbing rope and help the kids out a little and tried to show them a few tricks to make it easier to climb without using just your arms. The highlight of my day was definitely getting one of the kids that must have tried twenty different times to get to a certain spot on the rope and when he got to it he was so happy and it was all because I showed him what he was doing wrong. I really enjoy working with this elementary school students because doing something so simple like that can really make them happy and can change their mood on the whole day. I didn’t think I would be able to realize the difference in skills, behavior, and attitude that easily between the second and third graders but surprisingly I was. The third graders were a lot more mature and performed all the different skills a lot more proficiently. The fourth graders on the other hand were able to do some things that I don’t even think I can do and I’m pretty good at gymnastics. So that made me realize that the physical education teachers at this school are really doing a great job at this school. I think it’s good to go to school and see that there not just rolling the balls out to the students and letting them do whatever they want. That just isn’t proper physical education at all. Pretty soon I’m going to get the opportunity to lead and basically take over some of the lessons which I’m really looking forward too because I got to do that a little at the middle school and high school level but never in an actual elementary classroom setting. I have working with elementary students at the CHAMP camp but it wasn’t in an actual school so I figured it s probably different. It was definitely different in the school it’s based on units that you work on for weeks at a time and at the camp everyday is something different you don’t really follow a curriculum too strictly. However both places work on developing the student’s skills so they are similar in ways as well. I am really looking forward to continuing with this experience at the elementary school I think I am going to get a lot out of it and have fun with it at the same time.