Fieldnotes, 12 March 2013

I started the day off with a visit to a local elementary near the center of the city to speak about my career. It was Career Day, and I volunteered to speak on behalf of academics. When was the last time this happened? Never according to the principal.

Thanks

Thanks

I met a variety of professionals. If I was smarter about it, I should have networked around and asked them to share some of their writing for the department book project. I will not dwell on that. BUt I will mention that I met an accountant, a scuba diver, a dancer, an artist, a restaurant owner, a real estate agent, a deejay, and a construction worker. Something like being on the subway again.

I spoke to two classes of fourth graders. They were eager to ask me questions. I decided to split my talk into an activity and lecture. I distributed to the students the “path to college” worksheet distributed during “Commit to College” Month at the Library. I did this activity with the student so they could think about what year it will be when they graduate. When I revealed to them how many years I went to college, they all shake their heads.

“No man! That’s too long!” said one young man.

Note from elementary school students who welcomed me to their classroom for two quick lectures followed by short question and answer sessions.

Note from elementary school students who welcomed me to their classroom for two quick lectures followed by short question and answer sessions.

I enjoyed the range of questions ranging from the homework I do for my boss, how big the books I have to read are, and why I like reading so much. I joked with the students in the first class. I had a more difficult time doing this with the second class.

After the first class, the teacher asked Jose to walk me to the next room. As we walked I asked him, “hablas espanol, verdad?”

“Si!” he said, with gusto.

“Que bueno. Y de donde eres?”

“De Mexico.”

“De que parte?”

“De Chiapas.”

“Chiapas . . . that’s far.”

He didn’t say anything.

“Te gusta tu escuela?”

“No. Mucho? No, no–”

“Jose, Dr. Alvarez, this way,” said some woman with a folder waving at us.

I told Jose about the library, told him he should stop by sometime, lots of folks there speak Spanish.  We shook hands goodbye.

The second class had two assistants keeping students in-line. I think they were disciplinary assistants. I noticed one man sighing at one student, as well as being impatient with another student, whom I swore took a swing at the man. Another woman, whom I initially thought was the teacher, kept a stern face. The teacher, as soon as I entered, left the room. She returned when it was time for me to leave, when the next group was entering. She timed her entrance.

At the end, the students gave me the card.

—————————-

Later at the library, a somewhat slow night. I helped two students, and for a good portion of time I mingled with students in the reading/activity area. I took this photo during some of my downtime during fieldwork on the early evening, around 6PM. 

A "slow" evening at the library.

A “slow” evening at the library.

The students I helped had math homework to work on, multiplication tables. One student, a first grader, had to compose short answers to questions based on her sight words, or her spelling words which she was learning to write and spell. She was also performing single digit addition and subtraction, as well as a word problem. I was interested in the ways this student conducted arithmetic with visual aids to help her count.

The other student I helped was in fourth grade. He struggled with his reading, but with is math he was very efficient. He was practicing multiplication tables. He had troubles with his sevens table over six and eights, nines, elevens, and twelves almost entirely.

When I finished with both these students, I had some downtime. I observed this literacy event:

Students crowding around two computer screens--the screen on the left various YouTube videos of the Harlem Shake. On the right, a video game. Over on the left, another youth reads alone on her cell phone. There are five empty computer stations, except for one over on the opposite wall. There one youth is watching music videos on YouTube with an onlooker friend behind him.

Students crowding around two computer screens–the screen on the left various YouTube videos of the Harlem Shake. On the right, a video game. Over on the left, another youth reads alone on her cell phone. There are five empty computer stations, except for one over on the opposite wall. There one youth is watching music videos on YouTube with an onlooker friend behind him.

 

 

 

 

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