Friday, August 24, 2012

Fun in the Sun - Week 3

The third week of summer school was the week of July 4th. Since July 4th was on a Wednesday this year we had school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. This meant relatively low attendance for the entire week. Plus, having July 4th in the middle of the week meant some took Monday-Wednesday for vacation and some took Wednesday-Friday off.

Due to low numbers I only created two teams this week:
  • Peru
  • Russia

We started off the week with a game of soccer. I was surprised how many of the kids didn't know how to play soccer. Apparently it is one of the few sports they don't have leagues for here. However, I myself grew up around soccer so I am convinced that it is a great sport! I explained the rules and students played a game of soccer.

To go with the soccer game, they played the second day, they had a relay race where students had to dribble the ball between the cones. Many didn't actually dribble it, but I ended up counting it since none of them seemed to know how.

To add to the low attendance, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were EXTREMELY hot! This meant some students didn't come to school because they did so much outside in the heat they were exhausted and stayed home on Thursday and Friday.

To deal with the heat I decided to come up with some fun water games to play. I ran to the Family Dollar on Wednesday and bought some supplies. I bought some spray bottles, five gallon buckets, sponges, and plastic cups.

July 5th, I only had 3 students show up for class. I had one of my students fill up both of the 5 gallon buckets of water. We brought them outside and played a water relay game. Since there was only 3 students (2 boys and one girl), we decided to have a relay of boys verses girls. We set up the two 5 gallon buckets next to each other and put two other 3.5 gallon buckets about 5 meters away. Each team got a sponge and the first person ran from the 3.5 gallon bucket to the 5 gallon bucket. Once at the 5 gallon bucket, the person dunk the sponge in the bucket full of water and ran back to the 3.5 gallon bucket. Then the team member squeezed the water into the empty bucket and handed the sponge to the next person on the team. Continuing this process for either a certain amount of time or until one team gets to a certain measurement on the bucket.

After the water relay we had a massive water fight where I, of course, got drenched.

The last day of the week we finished off with some 'target' practice of sorts. One of the teachers made a target station using pool noodles. You can learn how to make this game here. My students really loved this and we ended up playing it again the next week.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fun in the Sun - Week 2

Week 3 Featured Countries
  • Brazil
  • Egypt
  • New Zealand
  • Norway

I learned from the first week that I needed to be the one putting together teams. This way I could make sure that teams were even and fair. Each week this proved to be rather difficult. I did not want the same students together over and over again and I wanted students to feel successful. Unfortunately, when a team was losing often everyone on that team gave up! :( This was extremely frustrating to me as a teacher and I did not know how to deal with it. I just kept trying to remind students that you can't give up all the time.

This weeks events were the following:
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Obstacle Course
  • Buddy Walkers

I was really excited about Ultimate Frisbee. The first day we were missing lots of students so I ended up playing Ultimate with the kids. I didn't do terribly, but I kind of warned them ahead of time that having me on their team did not mean they were going to win. However, I was proud of the fact that I caught 3 of 4 passes thrown my way. Not too bad for a music teacher with little athletic ability!

Overall, students did rather well with Ultimate Frisbee. In fact the gym teacher told me she was really impressed to see how well all the kids were doing with it. She said she will have to try playing it with some of the older kids next school year.

The obstacle course was also rather interesting. I set up 2 matching courses. It started with 6 hula hoops right next to each other, followed by a scooter, and about 10 meters away I added a cone with a bean bag placed by it. 5 cones were set up about 2 meters apart and then two cones symbolizing the finish line were set-up 10 meters from that.

Instead of forming a long line it was set up in a square, one obstacle on each side of the square. The fun thing about obstacle courses is there are LOTS of different obstacles you can create and many different set-ups, as well. I set it up so each member of the team had to go through the obstacle course as fast as they could. The team with the quickest time won. (I timed them using my i-Pod.) However, I added 2 seconds for every penalty they got (for not following the rules). Since there were four teams and only two obstacle courses the teams not playing at the time would work to re-set the course as people went through. For example, one person would bring the bean bag back to its start point, one person would direct the next member to go when their teammate reached the finish line, etc.

As, I stated earlier you can have fun creating your own course, but if you are wondering how to do my course here is what the obstacles were:
  1. Students stepped into the hula hoops bringing them over their head and then placing them on the ground. Then they step into the next hula hoop and continue through all of them.
  2. Students must SIT on the scooter and push it to the cone without getting off the scooter. If they fall off they must get back on before continuing to the cone.
  3. Students put the bean bag on top of their head and balance it while going AROUND the cones. If the bean bag falls off they must pick it up before proceeding on.
  4. Dash to the finish line!

Students complained when first told what the obstacles were, but it was apparent once they got started that they had a lot of fun!

The Buddy Walkers are two pieces of wood with strings attached. Students stay on the wood planks and hold the strings while walking together. They are quite a challenge and some did amazingly well together, while others did not.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fun in the Sun - Week 1

My second hour class for summer school was VERY different than my first class. My first hour class was obviously in the computer lab, but my second hour class was Fun in the Sun. My first hour class was students going into grades 1-3, but my second hour class was students going into grades 4-6.

The Fun in the Sun class was based on the Olympics. We did not do all the Olympic events, but we did have different countries as team names and different events that the teams would compete in. Each week we had about three events, which did take almost the entire week to get through.

The first week teams were:
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • China
  • Germany

The events for the first week were:
  • Team Event - Kickball
  • Racing Event - Hurdles
  • Other Event - Tug-of-War

The biggest challenge of this week was picking teams. I picked teams completely random the first week. Students picked a country from the hat and that is how they ended up with teams. The problem was that everyone on Team Germany ended up being the powerhouse. They won every single game. On the other hand Team Australia had a lot of problems at the beginning of the week getting a long. All of them were good athletes on their own, but they just were not getting along. This led to students quitting in the middle of the game and the other teams not even having to try to win. However, by the end of the week they seemed to be getting along better and working together a little bit better. They even ended up winning one of the Hurdles Races and a couple Tug-of-War matches.

This first week taught me that it is very important to pick teams as the teacher rather than randomly. It leads to fairer teams and a more successful events.

Each week there were new teams and new events to compete in. This meant students had to learn how to get along throughout the week. Some did a great job right away and some took all week to get along.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What Did You Learn?

Whenever I can find the time at the end of a day, unit, class, etc. I like to ask my students a few questions about the class. I do this for a number of reasons. First of all, I like to know what students enjoyed the most about the class. I also want to know what they enjoyed the least. This is not to say that I will get rid of what they enjoyed the least and keep what they enjoyed the most. It is just my way of getting student input and it helps me plan for the future. I also like to ask students what they learned from taking this class. If they can't tell me anything they learned, then what was the purpose of taking the class?

The last day of summer school, I only had the first hour class, which was my Fun with Technology class. We had a few minutes at the end of the class, so I asked them these questions about their experiences in the class. I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

The first question was what they enjoyed most about this class.
Here were some of the answers:
  • Creating pictures for the Goldilocks project
  • Having time to play different puzzle games online
  • Using powerpoint for the first time
  • Adding animations to their presentations
  • Presenting their animations

The second question was what did they enjoy the least about the class. The majority answer for this was of course the typing practice. This was not surprising to me and I told my students that typing practice was one of my least favorite activities in computer class, too. However, it is important and helps you type faster and faster over time.

The final question: What did you learn?
Here are their answers:
  • Homerow for typing
  • How to animate on PowerPoint
  • How to add pictures to a PowerPoint
  • How to add additional slides in PowerPoint
  • How to add and delete transitions on a PowerPoint
  • How to export images in Pixie
  • How to add stamps, pictures, and cool effects in Pixie

It is so exciting to hear about all the great things they learned in class. It makes teaching the class a success!

If I were to teach this class again, I would definitely keep the format of the class the same. I liked that the students had time to practice typing, play games, and work on a project every day of class. I feel like it was the right balance of work and play for the students.

I really liked the project, but would probably change it for next year so that the same students could take the class again if they liked. I would want to continue to include PowerPoint and Pixie in the project as these seemed to be big hits with the kids. Maybe even a project that really focused on all the cool things that PowerPoint can do. I think the kids would really like that.

That is all for now!
Thanks for reading,
~Brittany De Laruelle