Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Break is right around the corner

With spring break right around the corner, our College Project Managers are getting to their half way points on the projects.  They are just as excited for spring break too, but more excited about how their projects are coming along.   Take a look for yourselves and learn a little about the field trips that they have taken.

I  have been working with students at Bay View High School Thursday evenings in an after school program. This past Thursday was actually a really fun week for the students. We went on a field trip to Joan's Island. Many student's did not know what Joan's Island was and they were able to become educated with the idea of water sanitation and the ins and outs of what it requires to run a sanitation plant. We met at the High School and talked about the trip a little bit, and then around 4:45 we took a bus to Joan's Island.

 I think this field trip was very important because of the student's water based projects. These students are interviewing and photographing people who are underrepresented in the Milwaukee water facilities. Majority of the people they are talking to who are underrepresented are women and people of different races, other than white. We were able to tour the sanitation facility, see the stages in which the water is filtered, and in addition the employee who gave us a tour of the island spoke to us about the job availability, which seems pretty abundant. She stated that someone could go to a 2 year college and receive an associate’s degree, work in water sanitation and make more than a teacher's salary.

I think many of the students really enjoyed the sanitation plant because it gave them a chance to experience something they normally would not. Also, it was just a chance to get them out of a classroom sitting in front of computers and give them first hand knowledge about how the sanitation process works. This field trip was a great experience overall from the students and for myself as a college project manager.”
            -Cleo Stenzel

“My project has been coming along on schedule and the high schoolers have been giving their
all to make sure the blog comes together and gets completed. As far as barriers, the only barrier that we have come across is attendance.

I feel that my role is meaningful in the project because I was able to lend extra hands and assist with the research and editing so that we could submit a professional and complete project. Thankfully, I have been able to be engaged with the students and they have been able to teach me a thing or two as well.”
            -Kimberly Schmidt

My team of students are making steady progress on their project; during the two field trips in the last two weeks, they took photos and conducted interviews with people who worked there. 

The only potential barriers at this point might be whether or not they will all collaborate on completing the project. Some students seem more engaged than others – however, I think the levels of enthusiasm and positivity at meetings have improved from what I saw just a few weeks ago. I have a feeling that a good deal of that will be overcome once they are in the stage of designing the look of the site, choosing the photos, and being able to see their work on all the different parts of the project starting to come together as a finished product.

 I feel engaged and comfortable with the students – it’s a solid group. I’ve had a few good conversations with a couple of them and they have been more responsive than not. I actually do feel like a meaningful role in the project as well – by stroke of luck, my art experience has come in rather handy! I’ll be able to help them along more actively with their decisions in designing the site, I was able to provide suggestions for exhibition spaces, and I’ll be bringing in my mat-cutter and teaching them how to cut matboard frames to make the presentation of the photos really pop.”
            -Christopher Miller

My team project seems to be coming alone OKAY. The students are very burnt out and I think they are already in spring break mode. I still think there is a lot of work to be done before next week's video shooting. I feel as though each time I come the kids are doing less and less, but I try my best to get them motivated. Our group still may need to practice their scripts more before next week and they also need to finish making the water superhero's costume. In other words, there's a lot of work to be done in a small amount of time. I have faith. 

The barriers to my team's success would definitely be their attitudes and lack of motivation towards the entire project. Each time I show up on Wednesday afternoons, the group has a very slow start to whatever it is we need to accomplish for the day.  However, I think about halfway through the meeting, I can generally get whomever I'm working with more in the "zone".

Yes and No. There are some days that I come in and can really get a majority of the group motivated to do the water project, and there are other days where I feel completely useless because it all starts with the students.  They need to take an interest first in this project and feel passionate enough to want to be there. I try my best to emphasize the importance of the project, but in reality, they're teenagers! I think in order to become even more engaged, I could offer to help more when it comes to the tasks they are unsure how to begin.  For an example, Molly told a few member of the group last week to start making the cape for the superhero. The two group members just starred at each other like they had no idea what to do.  That's when I jumped in, took their cape, and started to give a million different ideas on how to make this sheet a cool looking cape. I'd say at that moment I saw their light bulbs turn on. Sometimes everyone just needs a little push.”
            -Aimee Dobersztyn

Working at the Bayview high school has been a very great experience. This experience has shown me what student's learn throughout their community and what they can do for their future. Our project is working in the water industry throughout Milwaukee. This project is coming around very well. Our student's are very dedicated and working well. They all have their independent roles and work hard to complete them. For this project we have one complicated barrier. Attendance.
Weeks go by and attendance is usually great or really low. Attendance is one component that we need to work on to have success. Success is exactly what we need to accomplish this project. Furthermore, I think being a College Project Manager is a very helping tool to our students. Us being there is someone they can ask questions to and if they need help. I think a College Project Manager means to them as a guide or helper and is someone they can relate to because of not the wide age difference. I think its important that we engage with the student's so it shows them we are interested in their projects and we want to learn more. 
I think this service learning project is very interesting and unique. It doesn't compare to the other service learning projects which is why it is unique. I am thankful that I get to be apart of this service learning project because it is working around kids and it is a good experience for my future career.”

            -Mercedes Brown

"The team project is coming along great. Spring break for the school I am helping out with is coming up soon, so the projects are speeding up quick. The group is on the finishing touches to their project. All that they have left is to put their actual voices in the presentation that they made. The students made a slideshow and are editing the slideshow to replace the computer voices and put in their own voices. This is the last step with their project. The slideshow is complete.

The barriers that the team is dealing with is that students are not showing up to Lead to Succeed. This is causing a problem within the group. Some of the students for whatever reason cannot make the Tuesday class and because of this do not know what is happening when they return. So the students who do show up are reminding them what they have done or showing them what they are going to do. Some students are now joining Lead to Succeed, so plugging them into groups is difficult. The reason why it is difficult is because the new students do not know what is happening and trying to find a role for them can be challenging. The way that we overcome the problems is easy. We inform them what needs to be done and how they can be included within the group. Each student has a job that they need to do and when someone new comes in they help them out. The students are excited about doing this project. So, when someone new shows up they want to inform them on what is happening and are inviting them to be part of the group.

I do feel that I am part of the project. I try to ask as many questions as to why the students are doing this or doing that. I am trying to be part of the group and maybe give suggestions when students are stuck on what to say or write. I may not know much about what they are doing but I try to explain to them what they could do, or where to look up information. I try to be part of the group just like everyone else tries to do. I feel that if you act like a group member and not like their boss, it is much better for you and for the students to get focused and do their project."
            -Joel Guidinger

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lets take a look at progress that is being made

Our college project managers are getting to know their students more and more each week.  The students are really enjoying themselves and the work that they have been getting done.  See for yourself from our college project managers.

“The basics of how water is processed not just in Southeastern Wisconsin but everywhere is what my group is discussing. The concepts my group is discussing deal with understanding the basics of where water comes from. They are going to be explaining this to 3rd and 4th graders. They want their point to come across as simple as possible. They will be discussing where our water comes from, how it goes from large bodies of water, to sanitized drinking water in our homes. They are creating a slide show that will show how this happens and at the same time describe each step of the process. 

I think that everything my group is explaining is well thought out and relevant to the topic of where water comes from. Everything pertains back to where water comes from and the importance of that water in Southeastern Wisconsin. 

The project is progressing great. Each week more and more ideas are sorted across the table to come up with the best ideas for their project. I feel with each and every week they want to show that they know what they are talking about and sometimes can cause conflict with more discussing and less doing. I feel though they are understanding that they will have to work together and start doing more with their slide show and stick with their ideas and not change them. Each person in the group has something to contribute. Whether it is coming up with ideas, to working on the slide shows, or drawing up a sketch of what they should talk about next. They all work together great and are improving each and every week I see them.” 

-Joel Guidinger

 “At the Wisconsin Conservatory for Lifelong Learning, there are two projects being worked on. One, a board game, is a presentation for elementary school students, while the other, an animated video, is a presentation for middle school students.

The board game is coming along well. At the last session I attended (I was unable to make the March 11th session), the group had made progress on laying out the idea for the board, along with coming up with a handful of trivia questions to integrate into the game. I can only assume this progress continued during the session on the 11th.   As I had been assigned to work with the board game group, I’m not sure as to how far the animated video group is. I’m looking forward to seeing their progress at next week’s session.”

-Nick Lister

At this last meeting, the students I work with were perusing the web sites of the Global Water Center and Jones Island, two places which they'll be visiting with Lead to Succeed in the coming weeks. In addition to touring both facilities to learn about what they do there, the students will be conducting interviews for their ongoing project highlighting the perspectives of various people working in water-related careers. We came across some interesting information. I was already aware that Jones Island was where MMSD made Milorganite, a commercially-available organic fertilizer. However, I learned something new about our local water history: Milwaukee's own Jones Island was the oldest municipal water treatment plant in the country!

 This information is relevant to the group project because it is a source of local pride that they may have previously been unaware of. Hopefully, interesting tidbits like that can drum up a little extra enthusiasm about the field trip and water-related career opportunities in general.

 The group project is progressing nicely so far. Two meetings ago, I worked with students to map out a timeline and division of labor to help manage the project and break it down into stages and specific duties. Then, I talked with Alex - one of the students who is interested in working with the photography portion - and we brainstormed some options for exhibition spaces to stage an auction of the photos they will be shooting. We came up with several possibilities, a few of which were conveniently located in the school's neighborhood. I also offered to teach the students how to cut mat-board frames for the photos once they have the prints, since I have a mat-cutter I can bring from home and plenty of experience with it.”

-Christopher Miller

Working along with the high schoolers at my project site we have been able to find out a lot of information about water and what is actually in the water we drink. They have been quite engaged and  interested in getting the word out through their blog so people know exactly what is going on with the water we not only get out of the tap but the water bottles we purchase.

This information is relevant because my team is creating a blog and trying to inform the community about what they are drinking  and what additives are in the water and why it is important for everyone to stay hydrated.   We are on track with our blog and thankfully have had a team that is hard working and excited about learning more about water!”

-Kimberly Schmidt