Sunday, June 22, 2014

Field Experience

Teaching lacrosse to cross-country runners

I chose lacrosse since it is a sport I have very little knowledge about and it is a unit I will need to present next year. The students for this field experience are twelve male and female10th grade high school students. The students are atypical since they were recruited from the high school cross-country team. During my pre-assessment, I found that all of them had heard of lacrosse and 8 of the 12 played a game of two during a prior physical education class. None of the students were proficient at playing however, all of them knew how to hold the stick and cradle it while running.

During the ongoing assessment - independent practice

83% of the students performed with little to no mistakes after a scooping the ball off the ground demonstration. They were all allowed independent practice and most were able to pick up the ball while in motion. During the tossing and catching phase the same percentage were successful in self-tossing the ball at various heights.

During the ongoing assessment - small group/partner practice

Since this is a group of athletes I progressed faster than I would normally do in a regular physical education class. The lesson now moves into throwing and catching the ball with a partner. The skill level dropped during this portion. 66% of the students had regular success in throwing and catching. I noticed that their release points varied, resulting in a variety of successful and unsuccessful throwing/catching attempts. Developing consistent release points should be a skill that can be worked on during following lessons. When running and tossing were introduced the success rate dropped to 50%. I believe that since they were teammates they may have been trying to show off and started trying this skill at a rate faster than necessary. I also believe that athletes from a sport that uses more eye-hand coordination would have performed at a higher success rate.

Rubric revised do to teacher-self evaluation

Below is a revised version of the rubric I used to do my evaluations. I revised it because I discovered that several developmental levels were out of order.

REVISED                                             Lacrosse Rubric:
                              Catching and Throwing 9th Grade Physical Education

Developmental Level                                               Catching                               
6          Can catch a ball thrown with increase velocity or catch a ball while moving.
5          Can transfer catching skills to a games situation.
4          Can catch a variety of passes with a partner.
3          Can catch a bounced ball pass from a partner.
2          Can catch a variety of self-tossed balls.
1          Arms extended towards thrower, show avoidance reactions.

Developmental Level                                               Throwing                              
6          Can throw with increased velocity and accuracy.
5          Can transfer throwing skills to a games situation.
4          Shows trunk rotation and accuracy.
3          Demonstrates effort.
2          Follow through towards target.
1          Limited body movement, arm dominated.


By teaching this lesson. I learned that my rubric needed adjustment. Several of my developmental levels were out of order.  The self-toss proved to be a much easier task for students to develop than receiving a bounce pass from a partner. I also felt that a consistent effort would be harder for a regular physical education student to obtain than producing trunk rotation during a toss.

I enjoyed working with the cross-country runners because they were very cooperative and gave me their attention and an honest effort. I have worked with a regular physical education class during a lacrosse unit and I don’t believe they would have provided me such an easy time. I would have also not been able to move through as much learning material had it been a regular class.

The teaching experience also led me to develop an additional rubric for this unit.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Welcome to my site!

I’m glad you have joined me. To begin let me introduce myself, my name is Merl Abel and I have been teaching in the Morongo Valley area of Southern California for the past 25 years. Fifteen of those years have been at Yucca Valley High School “Home of the Trojans” where I am presently teaching AVID, Driver Education and Independent Studies. I left the school for eight years to start a private Christian school in the area, which has proven to be very successful in both academics and athletics. What made me really love and appreciate my public school district is that they understood my departure and even supported me when I would call upon them with questions. When I approached them 13 years ago, to accumulate letters of reference, they immediately hired me back instead.

Why become an educator?

That is a very good question and one I am asked often. I resisted going into teaching for many years. Both of my parents worked in the field of education. My father was a coach and physical education teacher, my mother worked as a school psychologist. Both enjoyed their positions and worked their way into university positions and eventually retired. My desired was to become a businessman and make a lot of money, what was interesting is that in every job I took after college I was the one they would ask to train the other employees. I enjoyed it and felt gratified whenever I was working in that capacity. After many years in business, I decided to use my abilities to teach full time and returned to college to work on a teaching credential. I have never regretted that decision.

Why the content area of physical education?

When deciding to attend Long Beach State University I wanted to teach in an area I truly enjoyed when I was a high school student. I hade some amazing teachers but was greatly influence by my coach. He so enjoyed coaching and teaching. Physical Education and Driver Education where my two favorite class and so I followed suit by majoring in both.

Why do you continue to further your education?

I believe that to be truly happy I need to be a life-long learner. I have also witness older teachers get burned out or simple “go through the motions”. I never want to be that guy. I enjoy change and new challenges. In the past 25 years I have worked in education in a variety of positions; teacher, administrator, athletic director, coach, Link Crew advisor, and BTSA mentor. By changing positions and taking on new challenges, I have stayed fresh, excited and never bored. I feel I have another good 10 years of teaching left in me and now I desire to teach AVID and Physical Education during the next school year.

I’m looking forward to Blogging with you in the future!