Intern Projects

Throughout the year you will be working on various projects as a part of your PDS responsibilities. These projects are not assignments, but are supportive activities for your work with students.


You will create a Google Document that you will share with your supervisor, mentor, and consultants. When you write in this space, please date and label each entry, and put new entries at the top of the document.
Some of the things you might have in this document include:
  • your observations of your classroom
  • other people’s observations of your classroom
  • pictures of your classroom
  • data from your classroom
  • your observations of other classrooms and reflections about those
  • your professional readings and reflections
  • notes from consultant meetings and/or triad meetings
Observations: Collecting information about different teachers, different students, and different classrooms will give you material to reflect upon. We recommend you allot one inquiry period a week to observing a class you are not teaching and taking/making notes on that class. Please record an entry for each observation in your Google document (time, classroom, teacher, course, and reflection). You will have the opportunity to share these observations at inquiry, seminar, consultant meetings, and supervisor meetings.
Journaling and Note-Taking/Making: Writing is possibly the single most influential activity in constructing one’s teaching life as a reflective inquirer. Writing can be shared in the form of a dialogue journal between intern, mentor, and supervisor. It is best if done on a daily basis using paper journals, notes to others, email, or writing in your Google Doc and should be done after teaching experiences. End-of-week summary reflections can be extremely helpful to build larger themes of knowledge. Beyond generating knowledge, since these texts are powerful demonstrations of your reflective writing as a component of lesson plans, belief statements, classroom stories, and articles for other teachers, they will be valued by prospective employers.
Weekly Data Analysis: Each week, during one of your inquiry periods, you will choose an critical incident, recording, or artifact from your classroom and analyze it as data. Consider the Toulmin model of claim, data, warrant as you explore and inquire about this data.
Professional Reading: Articles and books will be shared by PDS members throughout the year and should be received with the implicit promise to be read and referenced in a future face-to-face or electronic conversation. Keep a log of readings with the dates, titles and reflections on books or articles you read during the year. The importance of reading is not so much to repeat what you have read, but to connect it to experience and other ideas.
Weekly Consultant Meeting: Each week you will meet with one of the university consultants. You will then continue the discussion in an electronic form, connecting your experiences to important ideas and follow-up actions you took, or will take, as a result of the meeting.
Video Documentaries/iMovies: Interns will create a video documentary, analyzing data collected from classroom work to present an important idea about literacy and pedagogy. These are published on the PDS website.
Unit Plans: While units are often developed collaboratively throughout the year, interns must compile at least one representative unit for which they had primary teaching responsibilities. This unit* will include daily plans, daily reflections on classroom activity, and materials used in the unit.
*This does not imply one unit is sufficient.
Case Study: The case study will have two parts. In part one, keep a journal of events and artifacts (student work, conversations, incidents) of your work with identified students. In each entry explain how the event or artifact illustrates special needs, adaptations, and/or student growth and learning. In January, part two will be a synthesis of your journal in which you focus on some key ideas from your experience on how to support identified students and what recommendation you would make to teachers of your students.
Professional Online Portfolio: You will develop a professional portfolio as a website. As you plan the portfolio, consider how you will organize the content. You may want to use the Pennsylvania standards for English teachers as an index or table of contents with references (links) to materials that demonstrate how each standard is illustrated. You can add evidence as the year progresses noting how it demonstrates your achievement of the Penn State Teacher Competencies.
Your PDS activities will generate materials on the following; thus, they might be included in your professional portfolio as evidence.
  • Resume
  • Philosophy
    • Pedagogical goals
    • Literacy perspective
  • Reflections
  • Journals
    • Emails with supervisor/mentor
    • Google Doc reflections
  • Inquiry projects (video, presentations, conference presentation, paper)
    • Focusing question
    • Variety of data and artifacts
    • Analysis: claim, data, warrant
    • Connection to theory
    • Import for student learning and literacy
  • Case study of special needs student
    • Student profile
    • Classroom context
    • Adaptations implemented, evidence, and consequences
    • Consultations and meetings
    • Future recommendations for student learning and literacy
    • Appendix of artifacts
  • Curricular materials
    • Unit plans
    • Daily lessons with reflections
    • Specific materials that illustrate a range of classroom literacy activities
    • Photographs of activities or student work
  • Documents: certification, clearance, transcripts. A professional electronic portfolio is a website in which you design and present your work as an English language arts teacher.
Inquiry Paper and Presentation: The last Saturday of April will be the SCASD-PSU PDS Inquiry Conference. At this conference interns and interested mentors will present classroom inquiry projects. The presentations are twenty minutes in length. This conference includes
elementary school PDS interns and mentors, and parents are often invited. Teachers from other school districts often attend as well. Based on this inquiry presentation, or on another inquiry project from the year, interns must write a paper suitable for publication. Graduate students and University Scholars use this paper as part of their M.Ed./thesis requirements.
To-Do List
The following general “To-Do List” supports an inquiring stance for interns within the busy school life of a full time apprentice teacher. Select activities that can help you achieve your weekly goals.
  • Observe and Reflect
    • visit other classes
    • keep personal journal
    • dialogue with mentor, consultant, and supervisor using an electronic form
    • two-column format of description and analysis
      • Analysis: note incidents that seem critical to make sense of them, and explore why you noted the incident in the first place (see Ethnographic Eyes)
  • Write for Portfolio
    • have a box, notebook, electronic file, or other receptacle for your yearlong collection
    • teaching philosophy: what are my beliefs about teaching?
    • case study
    • inquiry paper
    • unit plans
    • student work
    • professional documentation and references
  • Post and Respond
    • SCoodle discussion boards
    • PICCLE general discussion boards
    • English Ning
  • Talk through Experiences
    • daily work with mentor in class and preparation
    • attend all PDS meetings
    • talk with other interns, friends, and family
    • Trust: be sure to honor at all times the trusting relationship between mentor and intern
  • Gather Artifacts for Analysis
    • videotaping classroom
    • student work
    • teaching materials
  • Read to Inquire and expand the basis for thought and action
    • keep readings identified within each seminar topic folder with due dates

English PDS Guidebook
Who’s Who in the PDS What is the PDS? Our PDS Mission PDS Beliefs and GoalsAn Inquiry Culture Literacy Theory PDS Roles: the Intern Intern Projects Mentor Responsibilities Consultant Responsibilities PDS Schedule and Components Goals and Activities