Sunday, November 15, 2009

Circus Fun at St. Mary's

This week at St. Mary's was a lot of fun. We did our circus theme, and we all dressed up a little bit. I wore a clown nose that Jenna was nice enough to let me borrow for the day. Our first activity was WallBall. Basically the kids got into lines and rotated through the lines, with the first person throwing and retrieving a ball against a square target on the wall. We gave the students a choice of what type of ball they wanted to throw, but encouraged them to try different ones. We also let them throw the ball from however far away they wanted. Some students ran pretty much all the way up to the wall, while others threw from all the way back at the line. About halfway through we decided to move the lines back to try and get them to throw from further away.

For the next activity we lined the students up facing their partner, about fifteen feet apart with a small target in between. The goal was to hit the target with an overhand throw, and have the partner retrieve the ball and try and do the same. This activity was my favorite because it made the students really focus on the target, but there was also a fairly low success rate, so I would probably think twice before doing this activity with this age group again. They still seemed to enjoy the game regardless, so that was good.

After that we moved down to the cafeteria where the students had a snack and played some games at the tables. When I went down there I immediately noticed a Moncala board sitting at one of the tables, which was my favorite game when I was about ten years old. A student, Ariana came up and wanted to play. She beat me two games in a row, and it wasn't even close. I guess I've gotten a little rusty in my 13 years away from the game. It was interesting to watch her play though. She wasn't just randomly moving the stones around, she had a gameplan and was tactical in her movements, watching what I did and basing her next move off that. Overall I had a lot of fun at St. Mary's during our Circus day and observed a lot of interesting things.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Pre-K Morning

On Wednesday I got a chance, albeit a short one, to see what a morning in the Pre-K classroom is like. After all, it's been two decades since I've been in a Pre-K class, so I really didn't know what I was going to see. It was interesting to see how the teachers had the kids start off the day, and I was surprised to see the students were so energetic and enthusiastic that early in the morning, but they were. The teachers started out the morning by having the students come up to the desk when they got there and telling her which lunch choice they wanted that day. Then the students sat down at one of the tables and worked on writing their names. I noticed several of the kids didn't want to hold their markers the correct way, even after being told too. Maybe the markers are too thick for them to comfortably hold in the correct way? Just a thought. After they finished writing their names they got to work with me creating a small book. The teachers decided on naming the book "A Pumpkin Story," which was a very fitting name considering the 6 page long booklet was about the growth of a pumpkin all the way from seed to jack-o-lantern. I started by folding and writing the title and student names on the covers, and directing the students to cut out the pages (they came on a single sheet of paper). I was originally unsure of whether or not the students would understand how to cut out the pages (they are only three or four years old after all) so I showed them the page and traced with my finger where they need to cut, but I think I over-explained it and they probably could have gotten it right if I just said "cut out the pages." After my time to be there was up (I actually stayed after several minutes to help a few students finish coloring in their books) I said goodbye to the teachers and students and thanked both teachers for having me in their classroom. It was a very cool experience and I enjoyed working with the teachers and students very much on Wednesday at St. Mary's.