Fieldnote, 19 Nov. 2012

Not many students to tutor today at the library, so I ended up spending most of time wandering around the front area, and also playing games with students who finished their homework.

As I walked in, I noticed the bike rack art project coming around. Unfortunately, I was unable to photograph any of the work because I had little battery life left on my cellphone. I noticed a tutor or perhaps a teacher leading the students in the project taped off the rack via paint by numbers. Students were assigned a single color to work with. I should have asked this leader of the project more about her work, but she seemed very preoccupied with the youth–a group of ten between fourth and sixth grades.

I sat down with two students, Jonathan and Jana, both students at Maxwell Elementary, a bilingual school. We played a game of Jenga with one another. We have fun conversing, and playing. Jana seemed to have the most fun of us all.

I was able to help one student, Jimmy, with his homework, a sixth grader. He was studying biology. I was asked by Miss Elizabeth to help him because she had trouble with some of the science homework. We spoke about bones, muscles, and cells–based on his reading handout. He had to answer short sentence responses to questions based on the reading. The young man had some difficulty reading, but overall he seemed interested in what he was reading. Of course some of the more difficult terms gave him problems in terms of comprehension, but as I broke things down for him he seemed to have a better understanding.

We also spoke of the digestive system. When we spoke of the intestines, I asked him if he ever ate tripas. This led to some talk about different Mexican food, but also where “tripas” go when we eat them. Eventually, Jonathan and Jana (who wandered in and out of the tutoring room to check on me) stopped over to ask what we were talking about.

“You don’t want to know,” Jimmy said.

“Why?”

“Because we’re talking about . . . poop.”

“Gross,” Jana and Jonathan said.

“And tripas,” I said.

I proceeded to tell them about what we were speaking of with Jimmy’s homework. As I was doing this, Jana proceeded to produce a McDonald’s cheeseburger from her backpack. She began to eat it. At this point, Jimmy reviewed some of the nutrition information he had read applied to the burger.

“I think it has proteins in the meat, carbohydrates in the bread, and something with the cheese.”

“Calcium,” I said.

“Yeah. And LOTS OF FAT.”

“That’s the best part,” Jana said.

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