Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mascot Controversey

The usage of Native American mascots in professional sports and schools has been a topic of debate in the United States for quite some time and has even led to some institutions changing the names and images of their mascots all together.  This raises the question should or shouldn’t a school’s mascot be changed because Native Americans deem them offensive. Some feel that Native American mascots breed insensitivity and misunderstanding about native people. They also seem to push the argument that there are no mascots based on African Americans, or Asian Americans depicted in sports. However, Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish can be viewed as an exception to this belief. I come from a town in Long Island called Massapequa, which has deep Native American roots and respectively our mascot is the Massapequa Chief. I believe they can be viewed as respectful and pay homage to Native American culture. I remember back in high school when they wanted to change our mascot from the intimidating Chief to the Massapequa Waves. It sparked a huge controversy and everybody was in an uproar because they didn’t want to change the mascot that they’ve grown to represent and be proud of. However, with that being said, many Native Americans feel that the mascots should be deemed offensive by the people being imitated and not by those who are doing the imitating. Native American mascots focus on bravery, courage and fighting skills rather than anything derogatory. In 20120 a law was passed in Wisconsin to eliminate race-based nicknames, logos, and mascots in schools. A school can argue to keep their mascot if they have permission of local Native American tribes. It's the first law of it's kind in the country. 

Students with "Different" Abilities

During my EDU 356 class today, I worked with my student, Nicholas, who has autism. Nicholas is a 9 year old boy in the fourth grade. When I first met Nicholas he was very shy, but I did my best to be enthusiastic and plan activities I knew he liked such as, baseball. I have only met with Nicholas one time, but he seemed to warm up to me by the end of our first class together.  Despite his shyness, he is very social and enjoys doing activities with his other classmates. At times this can de distracting to him and I have to take him away from the situation. Me and Nicholas work in the Rockwall Gym in the back corner, so he is least distracted by others. In our first class together I assessed Nicholas using the TGMD-2. Nicholas is a very skilled mover and I was impressed with his abilities during his first class. His run pattern is very mature, however he does seem to have trouble with his gallop and can only do it with his dominant foot. He doesn’t utilize his arms as much as he should and prefers using his right, dominant foot. Nicholas is a very skilled and enthusiastic mover and learner. Despite his mild problems with communicating, I believe he would have great progress and prove successful in a general physical education class. His motor abilities are greatly developed and he is only getting better. He would have no problem keeping up with the other students in his class. His biggest problem his communication skills and his ability to be distracted easily, but with an effective physical educator he can definitely benefit from being in a general physical education class.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Women in Sports

Since as long as I can remember I have been a fan of women’s professional soccer and have followed its journey from World Cups to the creations of their own league. It was disheartening to hear the recent suspension of the fairly newly created Women’s Professional Soccer league.  The U.S. Women’s team had just won their qualifying tournament for the Olympics when the news came out.  Although it was only suspended, the WPS is planning to return in 2013. The suspension may just be a bump in the road that they well snap back from, but if not, national teams and players around the world will have to find new places to compete.  In the short run, having no league can be better for the U.S. national team as it prepares for the Olympics. This is because the players control their training, travel and preparation schedule. They don’t have to constantly travel between countries.  However, ultimately can potentially be a huge setback for women’s soccer.  As a result, many players will be forced to pursue careers that don't have soccer in the equation. The national player pool will diminish and the number of meaningful games will decrease. This is just one of the many examples of women struggling to make a name for themselves in such a male dominated world. Over the years, females have competed against the stereotype of being too fragile to play strenuous sports. They never seem to get enough attention and garner the same amount of hype as men do. I believed that women’s soccer was the key to break free of those stereotypes and create a new path for women’s sports. Hopefully, actions will be made to secure the presence of the Women’s Professional Soccer league.
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Just Dance Craze

I came across my fellow classmate's, Eric Einbinder's, blog and couldn't help but comment on the fact that my little cousins too have caught on to the various video games that can help our youth stay active in the Winter. It is clear to see a child's enjoyment and enthusiasm when playing video games such as the Wii and Kinect and they probably don't even realize the healthy benefits they are receiving from "playing" these games. Dance video game players span a wide demographic range, across age, gender, weight level, and fitness level. The West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency funded research to determine whether use of DDR will reduce healthcare insurance costs for its 215,000 members. One of the studies they funded investigated the health and fitness outcomes of young people who played DDR at home for six months. Another study identified the impacts of the game on students in 20 West Virginia schools that used DDR in physical education and health classes, and found that some of the students lost five to ten pounds after playing the game every day during the first few weeks. Well, this past weekend I had the opportunity to meet my family at our house in Montauk Point on Long Island and it was a weekend filled with Just Dance. My little cousins have turned it into a family competition and they really push themselves to get the best scores. I, on the other hand, have turned it into my own little entertainment and take videos every time. Here's one from this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A World Without PE

In the crazyworld we live in, there is shockingly no federal law that requires schools toprovide physical education. The power, instead, lies with the state, and it is the school district’s responsibility to implement physical education. This is why many schoolsare cutting physical education altogether because of the little funding thatthey receive. Schools have sort of gave up on physical education in favor of a more academicfocus so that the United States can compete in the competitive global market.However, according to studies by NASPE and the Centers for Disease Control,attending physical education classes is directly related to better academicperformance and attitude toward school. Physical activity promotes brainfunction and psychological well-being, reduces anxiety, and increases overallenergy and attention span. This is exactly what I will stress to my futureadministration. Also, the more obvious consequence is the increased number ofunhealthy children. Overweight and obese children are at high risk of heartdisease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, lowself-esteem, joint, bone, and muscle problems, and more. The CDC reports that17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2-19 are obese, which equals twelveand a half million children that are obese in America.  Considering that these children are thefuture of our generation, it is my responsibility and physical educationteachers all over to ensure that we make a stop to these devastatingstatistics.  There is also a myththat getting rid of PE programs will save money. In short- term this can betrue, but when looked at in the long term, lack of physical education meansfewer healthy lifestyle choices. This will lead to more sedentary lifestyles, inturn increasing the presence of heart disease and other weight-related healthissues, ultimately causing higher health care costs for America. It isestimated that $147 billion is spent yearly on obesity-related health carecosts, which means that money and time spent teaching youth how to live ahealthy lifestyle are worth billions to the already tight budget of America.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fuel Up to Play 60

I believe that obesity has become a big problem in the United States.  It’s nebulous to say what the exact cause is, however, many argue that the problem is due to a lack of exercise among American youth.  Many organizations have caught on to this epidemic and have pitched ways to help slow down its progression.  One of the more notable organizations to do so is the National Football League (NFL).  In 2007, the NFL launched NFL Play 60 which is a program designed to decrease childhood obesity.  It does this by encouraging children to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.  NFL Play 60 uses NFL players as role models to help promote this concept and to encourage children to live a more active lifestyle. Play 60 has teamed up with a number of big company’s and corporations that are directly related to children such as, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and EA sports. What better way to catch kids attention than tying the initiative into their everyday life and things that they already enjoy doing?  The NFL has even improved on their Play 60 by creating Fuel Up to Play 60, which not only encourages children to be active, but incorporates the use of schools as a beneficial tool. On the Fuel Up to Play 60’s website they map out the 6-step process to start implementing the program in your own school for anyone to use.  They even provide a ‘playbook’ that provides a number of action strategies and ideas that can be implemented by students.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

PhenomLINal Effects on Diversity

I have never been a huge fan of basketball nor can I even say that I have watched an entire game on TV, but today I, along with the rest of New York, was completely encompassed by the New York Knicks brand new pointguard Jeremy Lin. It is safe to say he has made a huge impact not only in the basketball world, but in the culturally diverse society that we all live in.Today alone he became the first player to score 28 points 14 assists and 5steals against a reigning NBA champion team. This is not the only thing thatmakes his story truly unique. A significant part of Lin's image is his racialheritage. His parents migrated from Taiwan to California, where he was born and raised. So, he's not just a sudden basketball star; he's also the NBA's firs tAsian-American star. Unfortunately, in today’s society, Asian American’s were very seldom seen in American professional sports, there were a few here and there, but Jeremy Lin has definitely had an impact on that perception and the stereotypes that exist. He has caused an uproar in the Asian American culture and can truly be an inspiration for those to follow in his footsteps. He has broken free of the stereotypes and the negative perceptions, causing a state of“Linsanity” in American basketball. However, I believe that once a game starts, none of that should matter. Sports can be seen as an ultimate equalizer, and race should be irrelevant. You can either play the game or you can't. But withthat being said, it is human nature to question something that hasn't been done before.
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Philosophy of Education In the Works

As an educator, I want all my students to succeed.  I want to encourage my students to give every subject their all and to expand their minds as much as possible.  The entire curriculum is not going to come easy to every student, and that is understandable, but it will exercise students’ minds and challenge them in many different ways.  As the leader of the classroom, my challenge is to try and meet the needs of all my students.  I want to make the learning process enjoyable and effective.  I completely understand that all students do not learn the same way and do not enjoy every subject.  However, I believe I can make the educational experience as enjoyable as possible by developing well-rounded students, exploring different learning styles, exercising group work, and making connections for the students.  My Philosophy of Education is my own, although it is closely related to Essentialism and Progressivism. I want to use educational techniques that touch upon auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles.  This is closely related to Progressivism.  Some students learn best by a lectured style classroom.  When I introduce a new topic, I plan on vocally explaining the topic first.  Secondly, the students will have the opportunity to go home and read about the material. The most rewarding outcome I can imagine is seeing my students understanding the material, trying their hardest, and enjoying my class.  It’s not going to a breeze, and students will come my way that are challenging and not engaged.  But I prepare to take on the challenge and try my best to connect that child in one way or another to appreciate the material.  My goal, as a teacher is to make learning a fun adventure.  I believe I can make that goal a reality.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Future of Physical Education

Quality physical education programs can be life-changing for today’s young people. Such programs offer students an opportunity to develop their bodies and minds to gain skills that will lead them to success in both the physical and academic aspects of life. PolarUsa, a company who focuses on introducing new technology to help people get fit, is actively increasing child participation in physical education.
For nearly 20 years, Polar has been the leader in providing K-12 physical education programs with the tools and technology needed to objectively quantify, evaluate and monitor students’ health and fitness. Specifically, this includes heart rate monitors and fitness assessment technologies such as the TriFIT systems, which are being used in more than 10,000 K-12 physical education programs across the United States. The have recently introduced their newest technology called Polar Active, which is a computer that allows students to measure and record their physical activity level. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention children should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Polar Active provides a continuous 24/7 measurement of daily activities, including calories burned, and active steps. With a fun, animated figure, students can accurately track the quantity and quality of daily activity, which in turn helps motivate them towards a healthier, more active lifestyle.  The program aligns students based on national and sate standards, which not only significantly improve the participation of children, but also the grading efficiency in physical education classes. Childhood obesity has tripled in the United States over the past thirty years, and today one in three children are considered overweight or obese, Bob Wehinger, representative for Polar says that "Polar is committed to reversing this epidemic and helping our nation’s students become more active and maintain a healthy weight."

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

McNugget Meltdown

Photo of a 20-piece box of McDonald's Chicken ...
Image via Wikipedia

As a future physical educator it was disheartening to be informed of the story of Stacey Irvine, a 17 year old girl, who collapsed recently after her harmful diet finally caught up to her. Since she was a toddler, Stacy has eaten virtually nothing but McDonald's chicken nuggets. She had to be taken to the hospital earlier this week when she collapsed after struggling to breathe. She claims that she has never tasted fresh fruit or vegetables and that she has been hooked on chicken nuggets since her mother let her try them in a McDonald’s restaurant at the age of two. It is absolutely insane that her parents and peers let her live such a harmful life for so long. Had she been more educated and informed of the various chronic diseases and negative health affects that are tied with such a dangerous amount of fat and salt, measures could have been made to prevent her from going to the hospital. Based on her daily intake it can be estimated that her daily 20-piece McNuggets contain 58g of fat and 926 calories, which exceeds the recommended 56g daily fat allowance and almost half of the recommended 2,000 calories a day. Thankfully, Stacy did survive her collapse, which will hopefully open her eyes to the terrible life choices she is making. Her story can be used as a tool for future students of the devastating effects of fast food and the effect this kind of food has on your body. It is mind-blowing that somebody so young can experience such drastic effects from their food intake and she is lucky that she got a so-called warning because next time she might not be so lucky.
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Friday, February 10, 2012

My Inspiration

Us womans soccer legend Mia Hamm takes corner ...
Image via Wikipedia

In the summer of 1999 the United States hosted the Women’s World Cup, a record-setting event that ignited feelings of nationalism and pride, as the Women’s National Soccer Team captivated the United States. The 1999 Women’s World Cup can be described as the pinnacle of women’s soccer in the United States, and even the world. When U.S. member, Brandi Chastain, shot the team's fifth penalty kick past the Chinese goalkeeper, after double overtime, the American team swept the nation off its feet. That summer’s events left a lasting legacy and is considered a milestone, in not only women’s soccer, but also women’s sports in general. I was fortunate to attend the game at Meadowlands stadium and is an experience I will never forget. The United States Women’s national team has dominated the sport on a world level as its most consistent and successful performer. The game garnered the highest television audience ever attained for any soccer game in the U.S., men’s or women’s. The players of the entire team gained stardom, but the most prominent members, including Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy, became nationally known heroes and role models for millions of young American girls, including myself. Mia Hamm is one of the two women named in Pele’s “List of 125 Best Soccer Players of All Times” and she is a symbol of women’s sports throughout the World. It is not an exaggeration to say the success of the American women’s national team of 1999 provided the initial thrust for what would become a long and prolific history of women’s professional soccer in the U.S., and, perhaps, the world.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Never Give Up

The life of Bill Demby, a veteran, amputee, shows what determination and hard work can lead to. On March 26, 1971, a Vietcong rocket blew up the truck he was driving. The 20-year-old Army private never saw it coming. Demby saw his left leg on the floor. He was helicoptered to the hospital and with his left leg already severed below the knee, doctors amputated his right leg after seeing that his foot had been so badly crushed it made his leg useless. Once he got home he spent a year at the Walter Reed Army hospital, and when he left, began drinking heavily. Sports became Demby's rehab and he eventually learned to ski and took up wheelchair basketball. Eighteen years after Bill had his accident, while wearing artificial legs attached just above his knees, Bill became one of the best-known basketball players in the U.S. He was the star of a striking Du Pont TV commercial that shows him holding his own in a game with nonhandicapped players on a New York City court. In addition to this he holds national amputee records in the shot-put, javelin and discus. I am proud to say that about ten years ago, Bill Demby was the speaker at the graduation here at SUNY Cortland. He has spoken several times on campus and even holds an honorary degree from Cortland.  I will tell the story of Bill Demby to my future students to inspire them and to teach them that no matter what life throws at you, there is always a way to overcome any obstacle.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

GLBT students

As a future teacher I must ask myself ‘how should classrooms best be organized to meet the needs of different learning styles?’ Some people argue that boys and girls should be separated in schools because of their learning differences. It is my job as a teacher to not stereotype my students, but instead use helpful generalizations that might open my eyes to how different groups might learn.  There is no absolute distinction about boys and girls different learning abilities, so I must appeal to all my students by using a variety of styles. A negative aspect of today’s school practices is that they view their schools as being heteronormative, which is the assumption that all students are heterosexual. What they must realize is that outlook is totally irrational and old-fashioned and that students can either be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. There are many different responses to GLBT students. There are schools, which prohibit homosexuality all together, while other districts provide neutral gender bathroom and even locker rooms. It is my responsibility that all my students are respected regardless of their individual differences. I must provide a safe place for all my students and create a nurturing environment where every student is welcomed.
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Teaching Diverse Students

In today’s society millions of students speak hundreds of languages, which generates multiple misunderstandings and, unfortunately, creates isolation and segregation for many English Language Learners. In today’s society is a big controversy whether these students should be placed in bilingual or “English-only” programs.  Statistics have shown that Hispanic students who dropped out of bilingual programs were less likely to complete high school than those who were in English-only programs. This led to an emergence of an English-only movement because people feel as if bilingual education threatens the presence of English as the nation’s primary language. I personally believe that English Language Learner students will not be able to grasp a curriculum if it is taught in a language that they do not understand. A mix of both their native language and English should be utilized in the student’s daily school life. It is the jobs of these students’ teachers to make sure that their students are being provided for to meet their maximum potential. They must use a variety of instructional strategies to satisfy ELL students’ needs such as,  hands-on activities and cooperative learning groups.  There are two different approaches that schools can utilize when implementing a bilingual education program. They are the transitional approach, where students are taught in their native language first and then gradually transition to English, and the maintenance approach, where students are taught in both languages and ideally occurs throughout their entire educational career. I believe that the maintenance approach would be the most effective because students are enhancing both languages and no just one. Their native language should not be strayed away from, but rather develop as much as their new language, English.

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