Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Physical Activity Can Decrease Depression In Substance Abuse !!

Physical activity can be very important with the recovery process in substances abuse patients.  In an article found in Mental Health and Physical Activity Journal called A pilot study of aerobic exercise as an adjunctive treatment for drug dependence written by Richard A.  Brown they discuss how physical activity can help patients with recovery and help with not relapsing.  One way they address using physical activity in the recovery step is that physical activity can help improve moods and as a result physical activity will decrease depressive symptoms and which will also decrease risk of relapse.   Two predictions of relapse are sleep disturbances and weak cognitive function, proper physical activity has been proven to lessen sleep disturbances, and increase cognitive function.  The article also addresses teen usage and how physical exercise increased physical fitness, decreased multiple drug use, and made the teen’s abstinence rate increase.  The teens and many of the other substance abuse patients in the study used walking and jogging to replace their habitual drug abuse habits.  They found that using physical activity gave them a positive feeling about their self- efficacy which helps with the recovery process.  The study did not just focus on the physical aspect of recovery but also included group exercise and activities along with an incentive system.  The group activities focus more on the cognitive and behavioral techniques that are related to everyday changes they have to make their in personal life, they also increase motivation to be physically active.  The incentive section of the study was receiving money for attending the meetings and receiving money for completing their self monitoring form they obtain each session.   The physical aspect of the whole study was to exercise moderately to intensely (brisk walk) over a six month period and also exercise no less than 3 times a week for 20 minutes a day for the 6 months as well.  The study was somewhat of a success however a few problems that can be taken into consideration are the control of the group and their level of participation, along with the group size and amount of people participating.  The exercises also have to be cost efficient and reasonable, physical activity is a very important piece of the recovery process and can be very effective in helping with not relapsing.


Monday at Newark Valley Middle School our students were beginning their fitness testing unit, and Monday was the start of the pacer test.  This test is used to measure the students cardiovascular and cardio respiratory fitness level.  The test is set up with two lines or makers 20 meters a part then a musical player will be on beeping and counting, the beep speed increase as the amount of laps or one count are completed.  The 5th grade girls that were tested did a very impressive job some students scored above 50 and some were even above 60!  After the pacer test we had 4th graders and our host teacher asked us to come up with a game involving hula hoops and a ball, so I remembered the game Hooper which I saw being played during my 256 Field experience over our winter break.   The game is played with a lot of the same rules as ultimate Frisbee with the three steps and passing and tactical approach.  We paused the game a few times to go over spatial awareness and moving without the ball to get open.  Hooper is a little different then ultimate Frisbee because in the endzone’s there are two goalies that have hula hoops and their team has to throw the ball through the hula hoop without physically stepping into the endzone where the goalie is.  The goalie in this game is allowed to move however must stay in their own endzone.  Our host teacher liked the game a lot and complemented on how the goalies were interactive instead of simply standing in a goal like other games such as handball, floor hockey and soccer.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

An Introduction into Substance Abuse and Physical Activity

Everyday people are victims of substance abuse and it is a very difficult situation to overcome, however physical activity can help the process.  Physical activity has many positive effects on individual moods and behavior so one can assume that it would also impact people with substance abuse problems in a positive manner as well and can help with the recovery process.  The article Exercise preferences of patients in substance abuse treatment in Mental Health and Physical Activity by Ana M.  Abrantes discusses the relationship between patients in substance abuse programs and physical activity.  The research they conducted said that 71% of the patients were not regularly participating in physical activity however 95% of patients showed interest in programs that were exercised focused.  Physical activity was shown to help with moods, self efficacy for abstinence, decrease the crave for using substances, and helps with the coping aspect of substance abuse.    The programs have different opportunities for patients that range from walking to swimming to organized sports.  I find this interesting because substance abuse is extremely serious and addicting, being able to use physical activity and exercise to help the recovery process is quite amazing.  Having physical activity as a hobby is great way to deal with stressful situations and has many positive attributes that benefit patients even programs are over.  Another great thing about using physical activity is that it is extremely flexible, for example, it can be done with or without others, inside or outside, in a small place or large place, and can be in expensive and still effective.    !!!Keep checking my blog for updates on substance abuse and its relationship with physical activity!!! 

Abrantes, Ana M. "Exercise Preferences of Patients in Substance Treatmentabuse." Mental Health and Physical Activity 4.2 (2011): 79-87.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Post Assessing Dribbling at Newark Valley Middle School

Today I went to Newark Valley Middle School to finish up our post assessment of dribbling and to observe a classroom.  The classroom we observed was a 7th grade health class which had a guest lecturer and they discussed the term consequence and reputation.  The discussions were very interesting and one response a student had for a good consequence was when someone eats they become full.  I thought that was creative and funny for a 7th grader.  The discussion for the reputation led to one student commenting that if someone were to steal or lie they would taint their reputation, I thought the vocabulary, using the word taint, was very impressive for a 7th grader.  Once the health class was over we post assessed the same class we had Monday for the basketball skill dribbling.  We warmed them up with some stretching in between the game Pac man Tag.  The next activity was our post assessment which was a continuous dribbling game of knockout and when a person knocked out they went to the other area and every time they got knocked out they just kept going to the other area.  After getting our post assessment data we asked our host teacher if we could let the kids go outside because it was such a nice day.  So we went outside for the remainder of the period and played freeze tag with the class, however towards the end of class when we had to line up and go inside two girls who were sitting out did not behave.  I looked over at them and saw one of them drop a stone and the other one put it in her pocket, I asked if she could put it down and she said it was for her boyfriend, my response was well it has to stay outside because we cannot bring stones into school.   She ignored me and walked away so I informed my host teacher and she escorted the little girl to the office.  The lessons we taught and saw today were well organized and ran pretty smoothly for being a Friday with elementary and middle school students.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Basketball Assessment

Today at Newark Valley Middle School my partner and I decided to our lesson focus on basketball dribbling   skills and begin pre-testing them as well.  Today as a whole I thought our class had a lot of fun because we were so enthusiastic and engaged with the kids.  They were 5th grade girls playing simple dribbling games such as Dribble Blink where they basically have a staring contest while dribbling the ball, Traffic Light- speed dribble, walk dribble, or triple threat stance on the teachers cues Green light, Yellow light, Red light, and the last game we played was Dribble Knockout which was continuous because we used both sides of the court to make sure the kids were always playing.  At first I was a little nervous playing these games with kids just because I thought they would feel too old and may not have fun with it however, I brought a lot of enthusiasm and had fun playing with them so I think that is why the games ran so smoothly.   We pre-tested throughout the class while one of us was teaching the other was observing and assessing the students.  Overall the skill level of the kids was at a competent level for being in 5th grade.  It was obvious that some of the girls had experience with dribbling the ball versus some of the others that were at beginning stages of dribbling.  There was improvement throughout the lesson, some girl who was struggling with dribbling with her head up in the begging was dribbling with her head up stationary by the end of class was participating in the blinking game and won! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kan Jam!

Kan Jam is a fun game that has grown extremely popular around college campuses; it was originated not far from Cortland.  The origination of Kan Jam was in buffalo by Charles Sciandra and Paul Swisher in the mid 90’s, and went on sale in 2005.  Swisher was a Physical Education teacher and began selling the game in his local home area and used the game in his physical education program.  Eventually Swisher sold his share and the game was tweaked a little more and it set off around 2007 with selling over 14,000 units and now is the go to game when sun is shining.  The game is played with 2 plastic sheets rolled into a barrel, the objective is to throw a Frisbee at the “can” and if it hits the can you get 2 points if your partner hits the Frisbee and the Frisbee this the “can” 1 point is awarded, if your partner hits the Frisbee down into the can the 3 points are awarded, and if the Frisbee enters the slot or the top of the can without anyone touching it then the game is over and the team that threw the Frisbee wins.  So here are some cues to throwing the Frisbee, Step with same foot as throwing hand with shoulder facing target, Extend the arm and flick wrist with your pointer finger ending pointed at your target.  Catching the Frisbee (which is not needed in Kan Jam ) begins with getting your body in front of the Frisbee and clapping your hands together so the Frisbee is in between both hands.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rules and Routines!!!

Children can get out of hand in a hurry in the gym and in the classroom; this is where proper routines and rules should be in place.  Having proper managerial procedures can help run a class much more effectively.  One thing I learned when I was shadowing an elementary physical education teacher was to give directions in order and if they do not get that then simplify it more and give them the directions one at a time.  For example if a group of students were given the directions to line up, put the equipment away, and be quite, the students may be confused and may be a little chaotic.  The directions should go in an order such as put the equipment away, line up, and be quite, then students get the directions in an order and there is less confusion.   Also try to limit student’s distractions, if students are playing with equipment when directions or instructions are being given can cause other students to lose focus and cause students to start chattering.  On a personal experience I was explaining to 5th graders how to throw a Frisbee through a hula hoop, I was getting a little frustrated because with my loud deep voice I still felt I was continually talking over everyone, after my directions were given my host teacher pointed out that if the students put the equipment down (hula hoops) they will be less distracted.  Reflecting on this scenario I agree if the students had the hoops on the floor they wouldn’t have been having a conversation about hula hooping.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cooperative Games!

This week at Newark Valley Middle School our lesson was focused around cooperative games such as, Birthday Lineup, Pacman Tag, Human Knot, and Chuck the Chicken.  Pacman Tag was our fun way of warming up after the students jogged and did sit-ups, the other three activities that we used were pretty successful minus the Human Knot.  The 5the grade students had trouble untangling the Human Knot, some strategies the students tried were using brute force to break through each other’s arms, other strategies were to step over and under each other, no group was successful with this but the students still had fun and opened up a little bit with the whole touching of other boys and girls hands.  The next activity was the silent Birthday Lineup; for this activity all the students must be  completely quite the entire time, the object is to line up themselves up from January to December based on what day they were born, however they are not allowed to talk to each other.  Some obstacles I faced with this activity were the students knowing their birthday and the months in general.  Even though we reviewed the months quickly before the activity some students did not know them, therefore if I had this class every day we would work on the months and other activities or have them up on a poster somewhere in the gym.  The last game that the students seemed to enjoy was chuck the chicken, and this involved a foam soccer ball, and two groups of students.  The game starts with two groups and one group starts with the ball and must pass the ball over their head and under their legs to the person behind them in a straight line, the last person in line then throws the ball.  The other group will be in a huddle and the last person in their line will be running around the huddle and for each lap around they receive a point and when the ball is thrown they stop and go get the ball and perform what was listed above.  This game was really fun the students lost track of their scores and still had a blast even with no winner or loser.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Purpose of School and Roles of a Teacher

The purpose of school should be to educate kids for the real world and give them the knowledge that will allow them to be successful in today’s society.  However the purposes of schools are not to be babysitter for parents or be a substitution for parenting.  Teachers can be role models and should be role models, however this does not mean that they responsible for students actions.  I feel that many parents today blame schools for their kids getting into trouble or not succeeding in school programs.  I do believe that teachers having the role model responsibility and do have a chance to impact kids who may have unfortunate living situations in a positive way.  First thing, all teachers should be passionate about what they are teaching and teaching in general.  Being passionate would also include being enthusiastic and putting in the extra effort to reach the students on a level more than just in the classroom or gym.  I feel that some teachers may get caught up in the drama at school that has to deal with politics or student social issues and this to me is unacceptable.  Sometimes politics among schools get in the way and do not provide the best learning environment when the teacher’s main goal drifts away from their core philosophy and is more driven by the politics of that school.  When I was in high school I was Vice President of our class, Key club, and National Honor society, and during that year we had a few issue involving money and a teacher.  Regardless of what the scenario was the teacher that was claiming right to our class money had a wife who was also a teacher a grade above him, this became an issue when the wife went up to our president of the class and began to give her opinion on the scenario, this took place in the hallway, when no one was around and during a class.  I feel that this was wrong as a professional because our president felt out of place and awkward, at no point in time should a student ever feel uncomfortable around a teacher no matter the weight of the matter.  A good teacher will always pull a learning experience out of any situation whether it be good or bad, no teacher should ever try to influence and pressure a student to go against their beliefs and that is what this teacher did to our president.  I only bring this up because I feel all teachers regardless of the standards and textbook material that needs to be taught they have a responsibility to act appropriate and express good leadership through their position as an educator and a role model, by doing this will be leading by example and student will see how to appropriately handle situations because their role models and teachers will handle situations appropriately,  this action done by the teacher in my eyes fell out of the lines of a teachers responsibility and was inappropriate.