Just before Halloween, AVID students, as well as some students from the ACSS International Students' program were involved in a very successful non-perishable food drive in support of the local food bank. Hundreds of items were collected and creatively stored in Mr. Malo's office Halloween morning. The items will be delivered to the Aldergrove Food Bank on Tuesday, Nov. 13th.
On the morning of Wednesday, April 27th, twenty-three AVID 11 students from ACSS and LSS boarded the bus for an exciting road trip to visit two university campuses. First stop, the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus in beautiful Kelowna. After taking a wrong turn and some fancy maneuvering by our bus driver Billy, we found our way to the UBCO Welcome Centre. We were greeted by Erica, our tour guide for the afternoon. Campus seemed a little like a ghost town, for the last day of exams was just the day before and many of the student residents had already left. The students earned copius amounts of chocolate for asking good questions. AVID students have no problems accomplishing that! Students learned that UBCO offers the same quality education as it's Vancouver campus, just in a much smaller campus environment.
Our next stop on the trip was Kamloops, to our hotel. The hotel we have stayed at on past trips was booked up, so this was our first experieince at the DoubleTree in downtown Kamloops. The students gave it two thumbs up on account of the pool and warrm cookie on arrival! An added bonus for us was the complimentary breakfast the next morning before packing up and doing the short drive to Thompson Rivers University for their Day of Arts & Sciences event. Over 300 students from local high schools attended the event as well. After an inspiring introduction by a few of the Deans and current TRU students, the Gr.11's were off to get a little taste of what attending university classes would be like. Students were able to register for three 1-hour sessions conducted by university staff from a wide range of faculites. Sessions were offered in International Politics, Philosophy, Chemistry, and Respiratory Therapy, just to name a few. The day went quickly and our students had a lot to share about their experiences. It was a much quieter trip home after a busy day and not surprisingly, little sleep the night before ... much like a true university student!
On Tuesday, April 15th, the AVID 10's headed out to Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley for a campus tour. Students walked through KPU's music and nursing departments, as they were guided on a full tour of the facility. We even bumped into a past ACSS AVID student who is now studying business!
Perhaps one of my favorite assignments for the AVID 11 students is for them to conduct an interview with someone who works in a career area the student is curious about for their own future. The students openly share how positive an experience it was for them. Some students express feelings of accomplishment for having conducted a successful cold-call, and others have great experiences learning more about what a relative does for a living and about the sometimes arduous path that got them to where they are in life. A few students even manage to make valuable connections, even landing a part-time job as a result of the exercise.
The interview I am posting has one of the AVID 11 students interview his brother, who I got a chance to know better when he came into AVID for his final year in high school. I appreciated the younger brother's approach to the assignment in that whatever he decides on for a career (accepting the fact he may change his mind many times), he will first be a post-secondary student. It was more relevant and meaningful to him to explore this important stage in his future.
Name: Adam (My brother)
Occupation: Full-time Student at the University of British Columbia
Means of Communication: Via Skype
Time of Interview: January 27, 2014
Q: What school have you chosen to go to? What experiences lead you to pursue this school?
A: I learned a lot about UBC through different ways, I visited campus on tours from school, I researched about it online, and when I had made my decision about dedicating myself
to the school, I had an excellent experience during the introduction for first years called “Destination UBC”. Destination was basically an on-campus tour of the school, introducing
myself and my classmates to the UBC experience.
I chose this school because I saw a future for me in engineering, and there was a lot of programs and activities that I could see myself enjoying, including the UBC League of Legends club, the recreational futsal team, the UBC lacrosse team, and the variety of engineering courses.
Q: What program have you enrolled yourself in? What caused you to choose this program?
A: This is a list of the courses that I have enrolled in this semester, concerning Applied sciences/engineering:
-Physics 170 (Mechanics and 3D Kinematics)
-Physics 153 (Thermodynamics and electromagnetism)
-Math 100 (Differential Calculus)
-Math 101 (Integral Calculus)
-Math 152 (Linear systems)
-CHEM 154 (Chemistry)
-APSC 160 (Introduction to Computation in Engineering Design)
-APSC 150 (Engineering Case Studies)
-English (Academic University writing)
I choose to become an engineer because I enjoy working in groups. I enjoy collaborating on projects, and inventing and creating new things. I enjoy learning about the properties and physics of our world, and how to apply those properties to make life easier for mankind. Also, I want to hang VW Beetles off bridges!
Q: What is your typical day/week like? (Hours, food schedules, sleeping, outside of school
A: The exact schedule changes from day to day, but an average day goes something like this:
7 o’clock - Wake up, shower, breakfast at cafe.
8/9 o’clock - morning classes, three hours of lectures for three different classes.
Noon - Lunch time, usually sandwiches or lunch at Café.
break - 2-3 hours, usually either study and do homework or just relax.
3/4 o’clock - afternoon classes, sometimes labs.
6/7 o’clock - Dinnertime at Café
8/9 o/clock - homework until bed, around 11-1 o’clock. `7 hours of sleep
There are also plenty of hours spent on pre-reading (checking the text before you go to lecture).
As for meals, you load up your student card with credit and start of term, and use that to purchase food. There are review sessions at random times, especially around exams. There is
recreational “futsal” (indoor soccer) every Wednesday and field lacrosse every Friday. On weekends, the main things to do are catch up on homework, relax, game, and sleep; 3am
wakeup times on weekends. Other teams that I’ve heard of include the UBC Baja buggy team, which makes a dune buggy and races it, and the UBC Formula 1 team, which makes and races their own Formula 1 car.
Q: How do you feel about your school/ schoolwork/ classmates/ profs? Do you find the whole experience interesting?
A: The school in itself alone is amazing and beautiful; it is the perfect blend of modern ideas and rustic antique architecture. The schoolwork can be very difficult, even sometimes, if
not most of the time, overwhelming; up to one and a half hours of homework per hour of class time. However, finishing it leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Your classmates are some of the best people I’ve ever met. Everyone is here for the same reason; to learn and enjoy their experience at UBC. There are so many different nationalities on campus, and if you talk to the people you can learn so much of other people and their culture. The professors are just as diverse, and some of their accents take a bit of adjustment to get used to. As one might expect, some of the professors are better than others.. Most of the teachers have work hours, usually 2-3 hours a day, 1-2 days a week, where you can go in and get assistance with your work and education. UBC is one of the most diverse and interesting places I’ve ever been to. Between the people, the campus, and all the amazing programs and activities that are happening, it is an amazing place to
Q: What job do you hope to attain after you finish your schooling? Where do you want to see yourself in the future?
A: I haven’t quite worked out the details of that yet; I aim to work in the field of my study. There are many branches of engineering, Physics, Mechanical, and Civil Engineering for
example. I aim to secure a job in Engineering Physics, which includes research as well as entrepreneurship.. My engineering program encourages co-op programs, helping students obtain engineering positions before they graduate school.
I learned quite a lot from this interview. The point of the interview was to find out what kiind of experience a student would have coming fresh from high school, and it turns out, in the case of UBC, it is a reasonably good one. The campus is beautiful, the people are all very nice, there is so much culture to be explored, and the experience is, overall, quite pleasant. I also learned a little about the nit-and-grit of university, how much work and effort you need to be prepared to put into your courses, how expensive it is to do everything in school (although I didn’t record this in the interview), and the long nights you will slave away until the sun rises again doing homework.
When I came into this interview, I was unsure of how it was going to turn out; It’s taken so long for me to figure out what I want to do with my life, I just wasn’t sure where I wanted to
go with this interview. Seeing how pretty much anything I want could change at any moment, my plan on what job I wanted, my financial situation, where I wanted to go in the world and which school, and with who I would go with. I realized, after many an hour of consideration, that there was always one occupation that I consistently decided I was going to be going into, and even currently am: A student! I wanted to find out, through the eyes of someone who was in the thick of his university experience, what they were thinking of their situation, how they got there, why they are where they are currently, and where they’re going with their life. I think that the life of a student, while hard and grueling, is in itself its own reward, and the feeling of graduation after so long is one that I will experience. I now know that, without a doubt, I am going to become a student in the near future. All that is left is to figure out where I want to go and learn, and the job that I’ve been wanting will present itself to me. In the meantime I need to keep up with my studies and take as many useful courses as I can, and keep up my grades. As well as school, I need to start looking for more work and volunteer experiences, as this will be the best way for me to get scholarships and get my application to whichever university I chose to get accepted.
Aldergrove Community Secondary provides opportunities for students to tour local post-secondary campuses and Langley School District offers students amazing opportunities to participate in career focus experiences. It is during these explorations that educators like me hope ignites a passion in a student to think of their future, perhaps even motivate them to make more positive choices in their personal life and their education.One such experience inspired one of my students, who was curious and applied to attend the Exploring Law Career Exploration tour on Jan. 16th, 2014, sponsored by the District's career education department. With his permission, I am sharing his reflection of the tour, hoping that those who make decisions concerning the funding of these types of opportunities for students can acknowledge the influence these experiences have on students. I am also very thankful for the hard work of the district career staff to plan these opportunities and I want them to know their efforts have an enormous impact. I should alsmentioned that since this tour, the student took the initiative to contact one of the lawyers he met on the tour to make some further inquiries for a project he was working on.
Grad Trans Reflection #1
The career area that most interests me at the moment is law. Although I just decided to write about this right after my law tour at UBC, I really feel like this is the career field for me. A lawyer is a well-respected job; the work is intense and interesting, however stressful, but never boring. A lawyer's job is to assist their client with their legal issues and guide them to the path most in their best interest possible.
When considering how my personal skills and values will mesh with a career in law, I feel that I am a good fit. Studying law requires an open mind, curiosity, and discipline. Although I'm lacking in the discipline department, I just have to remind myself that my current habits won't suffice for post-secondary and I'll have to change sooner than later. The work load at law school is enormous, 50-60 hours of writing and reading a week. There’s also the amount of studying for the LSAT exam just to get accepted into law school in the first place which makes discipline an absolute requirement for my future. Questioning a student there, he has a family with children studying law during his second year, so there is no doubt that it is entirely possible juggling social life and school as long as you have discipline. I've always had an interest in helping people and previously, I thought pharmacy would be the path for me. But thinking about it, I don't want to be someone who stands behind a counter charging premium prices for medication, instead I want to help people with their lives with serious legal issues that could change their life. I believe learning the Canadian law system will help me achieve this through understanding what is allowed, not allowed, and an understanding of the issues that plague the world such as poverty and human rights. This in turn will make me more alert of not just problems that exist locally, but also globally. Law is also a very flexible degree, being able to specialize in almost every industry from media to environment.
After completing law school and obtaining a J.D. (Juris Doctor), before being “called to the bar”, one must complete roughly a year of articling. Articling is a way of learning the practice of a lawyer through working as an “intern” or “apprentice” at a law firm or government agency. One will be assigned a senior lawyer as a guide called a principal. With the principal, one can ask questions and advice while learning how to communicate with others during work. Through articling, one will learn two branches: barrister and solicitor. A barrister is a person representing their client in a court trial, while a solicitor will be someone that works in an office consoling with clients. Working as a lawyer, one can expect to work 40-50 hours a week, sometimes more. Work involves interacting with people which requires open mindedness so the lawyer can fully understand what the client’s situation is. Depending on a case, a lawyer might have to do further research in areas outside of their education. Lawyers also will have to do a considerable amount of writing, whether it be wills to other legal papers. A lawyer must be able to stay focused and work under pressure.
A benefit of wanting to apply to law school is that you may earn a degree in anything you want. This allows one to pursue their desires in other areas besides law and might also open doors depending on how diverse a set of courses I choose. This gives me many options for back up plans, philosophy and psychology most appeal to me at the moment. Alternate career paths open up, social work and school counselling seem most appealing to me as it will mesh with the university courses I want to take if a career in law does interest me no longer. After researching about how difficult it is to get accepted into law school, planning a back-up will be crucial in case things don’t go according to plan. Quite frankly, the thought of being rejected to law school is frightening. With the generation of baby boomers retiring soon, there will be need a need for lawyers more than ever which is a double-edged sword; there will be more work opportunities, but the competition will be through the roof. I know whatever happens after high school, I’ll be happy.
There are no specific high school courses as everything will be weighed upon how well I do in university. However, there are many courses that will assist me in preparing for those university courses I want to take. English, in my opinion, is the backbone of every single academic course. It teaches you how to read and analyze material, write and form arguments which is essential law and classes in general. Without an understanding of what you’re learning, it is highly unlikely one will excel in anything. A goal of mine when I entered high school as a freshman in grade 9 was to be as complete as possible. I took the harder math pre-calculus 11 (later on AP calculus) and all the sciences. None of this is even necessary for law school, but after viewing a practice LSAT exam, I am glad I did. Logical reasoning, in a sense can be related to math and science. You are always looking for patterns and key words that are the keys to solving a problem. Math and sciences require analytical skills, as misreading a question or missing a number can change your answer completely. This also applies to a language course such as French. Perhaps you’re doing an écoute (listening exam), you have to be able to listen for key words that can determine whether you understand a question or not in an entirely different language. This is especially useful and beneficial for law as you never know what sort of cases you’ll face and have to learn from nothing sometimes. Viewing the practice LSAT exam really made me understand that everything you learn can be used somewhere else. Moving on to less academic intensive courses, Law 12 is self-explanatory, it will give me a basic foundation of the justice system. Psychology 12 will be useful for me in my opinion because it teaches how people think. It answers questions such as “Why did someone react this way?” or “Why do we think in a certain way?” which ultimately will help me succeed in the practice of law, helping me understand people better. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to apply to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University XCEL program which allows for grade 12 students to take university courses early at no cost, although book fees do apply. This is absolutely excellent as philosophy and psychology are offered and will give me an edge after graduation. This along will also provide me with experience of how a post-secondary institution operates and I can get a feel for what it’s like for the future to come. All in all, as long I keep working hard and work on becoming more disciplined, the sky’s the limit.
In an attempt to have the students mix and learn from each other, perhaps even learn a little more about each other, I provided an opportunity for each student to share something they know how to do.
After some discussion about what students thought contributed to a good learning experience and what a "teacher" needed to do to ensure that, the class collaborated on the development of a rubric for both teacher and participant.
With a class of 30 students and the intent of keeping groups manageable and not so intimidating. 6 different students would teach each day taking 5 classes for everyone to have their turn as teacher. The 24 participants each day would be divided into 6 groups of 4. Each group would rotate after after spending approximately 10 minutes with each teacher. The final minute or two in each session was time designated for the teacher to assess each student's participation and for the students to assess the teacher for that session, as well as self-assess their participation. Each student recorded their assessments in their own booklet with 24 copies of the rubric. Teachers had a different coloured booklet adapted for assessing their 24 students that day. Students handed in their booklets at the end of class, which helped me with switching up the groupings for the next day. I also took the opportunity to scan the assessments to see if I needed to address any concerns about a student's lack of participation or poor conduct. The routine was quickly adopted and after the first class, the following classes ran very smoothly.
The students covered a variety of "How to" topics including card games and card tricks, some origami creations, string games, making friendship bracelets, braiding hair, counting to ten in Swedish and Norwegian, dance stretches, figure-skating moves, and stringing a lacrosse stick. One of the days was designated for outdoor activities which included some rugby, soccer, and ball hockey skills. The feedback from the students was very positive. Several students mentioned they liked learning new things, and I for one got a kick out of trying to lasso "Charlie" the sawhorse bull (see photo).
Now that the sessions are done, I hope to chat with each student to provide them with some feedback based on my own observations as well as from their peers, and to hear back from them about their experience as teacher and participant.
I would do this again but perhaps make some modifications to the assessment process, maybe look at having the group of 4 collaborate on one assessment of the teacher's session, rather than having 4 individual assessments for each session. It would cut down the time it took providing a summary of data for the students to see assessment for learning how to be a better participant or providing more clear instructions.
The activity not only has helped build a more positive classroom environment, other skills are being developed, such as oral communication, adaptability, and problem-solving. I like opportunities for students to have a choice, and setting up environments which reinforce we are all learners and can learn from each other.
This is our new AVID site on weebly. I intend to use this blog to share what wonderful and crazy things we are doing in the AVID classes here at ACSS. Half the time we are experimenting, trying out different teaching methods, in a never-ending quest for relevant, student-centered, problem-based opportunities for students, infusing technology in meaningful ways and not for the sake of using technology (that is, when the wifi cooperates!), all while WICOR'ing while we work! For those of you who are a little confused right now, WICOR is an AVID acronym for writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading. Even after 8 years of teaching students in the AVID program and 21 years of teaching experience, I'm still humbled daily by the fact I still have a lot to learn and my AVID partner and I are incredibly fired up about learning new things, as well as reassessing what we do and how we do it. I know that is very vague, however, I hope to use this blog to clarify and hopefully better articulate this some specific things we are attempting.