Internship Reflection Week of 2011-10-17 [08] (MSFT, CSI Observation)

Monday 10/17/2011

The middle-school elective on the Science Behind CSI started another cycle. Two students returned and 6 new ones joined. We talked about the meaning and basic history of Forensics with a group brainstorming activity and then a group reading activity. Had 4 high-schoolers helping out with the session which was great, but probably too many resources to be effectively used. Dan D. gave feedback afterwards that the high school students were a distraction that I didn’t notice while teaching. We need to address that. Also need to address my own ability to be forceful and directive with the high schoolers when they are exhibiting behavior that needs to be controlled. More on that in a later reflection

Met with a student and showed him the graphical novel I had found on the “nature of sound” and the “scientific method”. Student will view a “nature of sound”, flash-based, comic book animation.

Met with another student and went over her work on concepts from algebra, e.g. factoring a polynomial, evaluating expressions.

Talked to another student about the campus dumpster dive to determine a pre-recycling metric of how effective we are at recycling.

Talked to Dan D. at some length about the hydrostatic water tube draining problem, and wrote an equation for the distance (x) a jet of water will reach to in a column of water, height H, when it is off the ground by a height S, as a function of the height, h below the top of the water column x(h) = sqrt ( 2 h (H-h-s) ).

Tuesday 10/18/2011

Attended tour of Criminal Justice Training Center here in Burien. Will take some students from the High School and perhaps also even the Middle School to see what Washington’s only Law Enforcement Training Center is like. Very interesting and should be a great experience.

Observed three classes of Algebra and Algebra support at Mount Rainier High School taught by Jeff B. Got some good experience of Jeff’s style and definitely learned some tips and tricks.

Attended the staff meeting where we discussed the best way to support Advisors and Mentors here at Big Picture. Since this is so key to our mission, we are very much concerned about how we protect the experience that students have away from school but definitely learning on their internship, and how we get that learning back into the advisories on M-W-F.

Wednesday 10/19/2011

One of the 401 (senior) students, S., at the school is doing a Senior Thesis Project (STP) on recycling.  She hopes to show that through improving awareness and providing containers to recycle that the amount of recyclable material in the schools landfill waste stream will decrease.

On this day we had planned to do an initial survey of the school’s garbage.  In other words we had gloves and masks and were going to open a representative sample of bags that had collected over the past week in the dumpster.  We had a prepared a data table in excel, had tubs for weighing recylables, compostables, and non-recyclables in each bag that we were cut open.  As I waited for S. and other folks that were going to help in this waste survey, I was alarmed to see the garbage truck bearing down on me and our dumpster of “data”.  In my panic, it never occurred to me to pull a couple of bags out of the dumpster so that we could still get an idea of our data.  Instead, I merely waved, feigning a cheerful greeting, as the truck driver took away the garbage.  S. and Dan were also surprised that the truck would come just as we were planning our survey.  No matter, we re-scheduled our data collection for next *Tuesday*, which is the day before garbage collection.

The whole campus was a buzz of activity on this day since the Gallery Walk was scheduled to take place that evening.  During the Gallery Walk parents/guardians/others are invited to the school and each student is encouraged to display something from their Learning Plan or


Thursday 10/20/2011

Took 6 students (five 101-level, and one 201-level) on a field trip to tour Microsoft campus including the Microsoft Museum and the Company Store.  Two of those students were doing an informational interview with a former colleague of mine who is a Software Development Engineer in Test for Windows Live.  As expected, the experience was quite motivating for students and prompted some good questions about software testing, game testing, and “how can I get a job/internship at Microsoft”. 

Dan D. (my mentor teacher) drove the van, and I attempted to give a rough tour of the old Microsoft campus and some of the newer buildings.  What didn’t work was driving up to the old address for Nintendo DigiPen Institute off of 150th Ave NE.  DigiPen is actually located on Willows Road, click here for directions.

When we got back there was the weekly staff meeting for Special Teams members.  Main topic of the meeting was trying to address the changes/frustrations that people are feeling due to the move of the campus and the large influx of new staff. (Total new staff members is 8, including me.)

Reflection:  That Microsoft appears to be a dream workplace for high school students is no surprise, of course.  That students from Big Picture would aspire to such a career can be used motivationally, but needs also to be viewed realistically.  As I work with a ninth grader on reading, or an 11th grader on percentages, fractions and decimals, it feels a little dishonest to even show them a job that seems so far out of reach.  It is then that I remind myself that helping these students stay in school and start to reverse their aversion to math and science which traditional schools have built in is already a step in the right direction, even if the steps are just the start of a long road.

Reflection:  The temptation to dive into projects at Big Picture is extremely powerful.  Not to mention the fact that I am getting paid for a job.  However, the reality is that I need to seek out and create and captialize on existing opportunities to practice and observe pedagogy that will help me in my own quest for certification.  Since I am not at a traditional school, I knew going in that the atmosphere was less structured than a typical school, but I need to keep focused on activities that show I am developing as an educator, and practicing the skills necessary for

Friday 10/21/2011

B Lippit observed my “Science Behind CSI” course and gave some feedback.  It went pretty well, tape forthcoming.

I got with a student J. who wants to do a project on atomic power.

Roger Fernandes a Native Storyteller gave a talk to the Native Student Alliance at school.

I sent some e-mails for student informational interviews.

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  • B  On October 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    May be just a confirmation that I get here? You reveal a daily activity/busy schedule. Perhaps capturing more specific student interaction would be the base layer for reflection about impact, delivery and sense of receiving. That gets to the assessment topic we touch on while I was there. Assessment is/should be on going maybe the challenge is recognizing it. Perhaps also is the effort to instill in the learner a need to retain for access, reuse, & application. More in an email.

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