Fieldnote 10 Oct. 2012

Mexington library. Making up for the hours I missed yesterday as I participated in a colleagues community even in the Northside, at a bookstore just a street over from where I will be tomorrow at the elementary school helping Maria with her English, and testing to see if there will be as much chaos as last time with the PBS.

This evening, there are the same children I recognize. A few approach me to say hello, and I greet them. Getting to know the community, and they me. I sit down with Yvette, a twin. Shortly thereafter her sister Yvonne stops by to observe. Yvette and I are working on a computer to look up desert animals. Ms. E, one of the lead tutors, asked me to take over where she left off so she could get to some planning. I gladly assented.

Yvette already had copied and pasted images from google onto a Word document on the laptop. She had an image of a snake, an armadillo, a lizard, and a roadrunner. According to Ms. E, we should write a few sentences about each picture, especially focusing on the things each animal ate. Afterward, we would print up our work, and she would apply her creation to posterboard for a display in her class tomorrow.

We conducted some searches about each animal through Google, and we each took turns looking for items she could use. I did my best to guide her as she did the work on the computer. I noticed she typed with two fingers, but she made very few mistakes. She didn’t appear to use computers much. This was interesting as the previous night I had been discussing aspects of literacy, educational attainment, and access at the community event I previously mentioned. As I worked with Yvette here, I saw how she used her alphabetical literacy with some of the practical tools she needed to master in order to complete this form of academic discourse/visual rhetoric she would offer for her classmates.

I showed Yvette how to resize images, and she had a fun time with this. The sentences we typed came from notes I wrote by hand as we read the different websites we discovered through using search terms such as “What snakes eat.” Wikipedia helped us greatly.

I asked Yvette to generate some sentences, and I took notes as she spoke. She then typed the sentences we generated together on the word processing program.

We saved her work on a thumbdrive, and one of the library staff members printed Yvette’s work. The staff member also provided us with some heavy construction paper in order to apply the images. After Yvette cut out the images and applied them, I encouraged her to draw a desert scene. I used some of my experiences to help her draw a saguaro. She also outlined some purple mountains, and she added an orange sunset.

Phoenix, I thought.

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