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Diane Yano

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					       College Writing Ethnographic Research Project Workshop #2: Excerpt
               Commentary Unites (continued) and Selecting Themes

                          Kiely Hall 220A: December 6, 2010

Diane Yano

Conceptual Memo #2

Experiences of 11th and 12th grade students in a remedial english class


   I walked into Sewanhaka at 10:50, the end of fourth period. As I walked up the steps,
faces overcame me in the hallways; it is very crowded. Making my way into the
classroom Mrs.Sullivan was putting up the class' "Do Now." The Aim was: How can we
write our concluding paragraph? The Do Now was to copy a defiinition of 'concluding
paragraph’ with questions that the students should answer to help wrap up their personal
narratives. Class starts at 10:54 and there are 7 students on time in their seats. After the
bell Mrs. Sullivan tells the students to copy the Aim and Do Now quickly so that the class
can go to the computer lab, the 3 late students walking in late are told to hurry,sit down,
and copy. When the class moves down the hall to the computer lab everyone takes the
same seats as last time. Chantel is the only one not present, Carmen says she took a fall;
Mrs.Sullivan asks if she's okay. While the students log in and resume their essays the
teacher goes up to Rebecca and suggests she restart her paper saying "It might even be
better than last time."

   Going around the room I notice the titles of some of the narratives: Mia (Spanish for
mine), The Team, My life as a Teen Mom, Second Chances. Students are multitasking,
writing a sentence then answering a text; asking Mrs. Sullivan a question, fixing an idea
then turning to their neighbor to talk. When asked how long the essay has to be, or how
many paragraphs Mrs.Sullivan responds "There is no set structure in personal
narratives..."After they finish this essay they are working on listening comprehension
again she states, to which Etiopia responds by putting her head down onto the
keyboard saying "Nooo." "The better we do, less I have to do it" is the teachers answer.
The last day they will have to finish these narratives is Thursday, the next time I see
them. Taking a peek on some of the computer screens I see one of Jose's beginning
sentences to a paragraph: Trust is important, it is something we all need. He continues to
write about how he wants his father to trust he is not being a bad kid doing wrong on the
streets. Regina writes on the opportunity she's been given in being back in the school,
she's excited to graduate with her class though she considers she is "not the brightest kid
in the bunch." Ryan is reflecting on this year’s football season, and how being on the
team is like having another family that can win regardless of the scoreboard's final score.
Mrs. Sullivan walks around suggesting student's don’t put every word of the day into
their essay because it sound like their trying too hard, and when it is almost 11:37 she
tells them to log off and we wait by the door until the bell rings.


    I asked Mrs. Sullivan if i could ask the students who were finished with their papers
on Thursday a couple of questions, but she said it would be too distracting for the other
students. It might be even more difficult for me to reach them next week, as they will stay
in their regular classroom from now on.

Patterns, Insights, and Breakthroughs

I notice throughout this second observation that many of the students are repeatedly
conflicted with not having a wide range of vocabulary that they think will better satisfy
the teacher. Regina was the student who had a list of the Word of The Day words and
was trying to use all of them in her essay to make it sound nice, to which Mrs.Sullivan
promoted her use of "trepidation" but also gave the previous response. Later on, Carmen
went on google and was looking at a words list...Etiopia said she should "start speaking
proper English." Carmen takes a look at the list and turns to her to say: Your Achromatic!
Both grils laugh and I hear Etiopia say she wants to put nice words into her essay, "like
nonchalant." Tanya, who sits in the front row of the room, asks how to spell rarely and
Mrs. Sullivan urges her to try to spell it on her own; while she does, Mrs.Sullivan asks
“And what letter do you think we could take out?" With less than 20 seconds Tanya
smiles and goes back to writing. The students seemingly want to improve their lexicon in
class and look to Mrs.Sullivan for the extra inclination to give them the courage to do so.

   Rebecca, who deleted her essay by mistake in the last class gave up 20 minutes into
the class and Mrs. Sullivan gave her a reading comp. assignment on dogs that the teacher
thought would appeal to her because she wrote about her dog in the lost essay. Towards
the end of class I hear ask Mrs.Sullivan "Is this for special ed people?" No, replied
Mrs.Sullivan, reminding her that she did an assignment similar to this one before.
Rebecca addresses Mrs.Sullivan with a frankness that reveals she does not conceal her
perception of herself as unproductive. On the other hand, she doesn't want to be taken as
"insubordinate," a term used in both sessions I've seen. Actually, when Rebecca said to
the teacher "I'm not trying to be insubordinate," Etiopia laughs and points to her
exclaiming "She said the word!" Last time I observed the class I encountered another key
term, "U" and "S." They stand for Unsatisfactory and Satisfactory, the only options for
the teacher to give on the students' report cards. Mrs.Sullivan was going around and
asking Carmen, Etipoia, and Rebecca what they would prefer if they didn't stop talking,
its become an address term for the teacher to use in regards to the way the student
behaves in the class. It's difficult to fail the class since there no grading Mrs. Sullivan told
me, and thus she says there is no "motivating factor" for the students.
Brianna Fulgieri

Student Motivation in Middle School Classroom Settings

Conceptual Memo # 2

1. Overview/ Summary I walked into the room along with the class; the noise level was
pretty loud until Mrs. Mayer walked in. She walked in and stood in the front of the
classroom, she stood there with her hands behind her back for about a minute, as she
stood there the class settled down and became silent. One student immediately raised his
hand, Mrs. Mayer replied with “what, how could you possibly have a question we didn’t
even start yet.” (After the class was over Mrs. Mayer told me that the student who had
raised his hand in the very beginning of class always has irrelevant questions no matter
what is going on) Mrs. Mayer now began class with “Boys and girls please take out your
homework” She proceeded to go over the questions, she would read the questions out
loud and ask for volunteers to answer the questions. After the student would answer the
question Mrs. Mayer would give them the colored pieces of paper. After all the
homework was done being gone over, she asked them to pass it up. The students were
finishing up a group project today which allowed me to go over to students and speak to
them individually without interrupting the class. Here is the question I asked to several
students. What are the colored pieces of paper and how does it benefit you? The
responses I got were: In Mrs. Mayer’s class she has a point system, which is what the
colored pieces of paper are. Each is worth 100 points. When you answer a question right
she grabs a few and hands them to us. Another student told me that it is part of a point
system and the point system allows the students to either miss a home or add points to
their tests. Then I asked a few students if they like the idea of the point system and they
all agreed it was a way of getting them to want to participate because they benefited from
it. One thing that one student said to me specifically stood out, she told me that she is
actually a very shy person but when she is in Mrs. Mayer’s class she normally isn’t. I
asked her why and she said because Mrs. Mayer makes her feel comfortable. I sort of
gave her a look meaning how and she responded that the point system really helps, it
makes her want to participate and speak out loud and even if she answers a question
incorrectly she still receives points for trying, maybe not as many but still it’s the fact that
we aren’t penalized for getting a question wrong. She told me that Mrs. Mayer on the first
day of school told the class that she rather you raise your hand and get the question
wrong and have tried then not raising your hand at all. Going off from this one student I
now went to other students and asked them how comfortable they felt in Mrs. Mayer’s
class and why. Here are some responses: “Mrs. Mayer from the first day made us all feel
welcomed, she is sarcastic but we all know she loves us” “Her out of all my teachers has
never once put a student down for a bad answer, she makes us feel very comfortable
because she always listens to what we have to say” By this time the warning bell had
rang and the students were anxious to leave the class, they packed up their belongings
and shuffled out the door.
2. Problems and Setbacks From 10 – 10:45 all 8th grade teachers had a meeting so class
was cancelled and students had to report to the auditorium.

3. Patterns, Insights and Breakthroughs The one thing I notice most is her handing out the
points, I spoke to some students about them today and they really help her class, they
make the students want to participate. I realized because of this the students respect her,
when she walks in the room without her saying anything they all become silent.
Peter Chow

Ethnographic Research Memo# 2

-“How do students perceive the way they learn in peer group outside of school?”

         When I entered the premises of Flushing library, I immediately headed for the 2nd
floor. I looked at the side for a seat and headed for one I found near the back of the room,
I was seated with 5 individuals, 4 males and 1 female. The oldest gentlemen has gray hair
and had a pair of headphones on, he was obviously listening to the radio because it was
so loud you can hear the radio host talking and then music. He was reading a news paper,
at the same time I heard a phone go off, beside this there was a teenager in front of the
oldest gentlemen, who was reading a book and had a binder open in which he would take
the book off the binder and put it on the side, upside down so the pages were forming an
arch, he scribbled something into the binder and then replaced the book back on top. In
another table I see a dark skin person who was reading a cluster of papers as he clenched
his pen with his right had and his head leaning against it as he looked down, he was
rotating his head side to side to read his text. Beyond that I see that there were two
teenager girls who sat next to each other, at once I knew she didn't know English well
because she had an electronic translator. She held it with her left hand and a pen in the
right, he wore a green hoodie, the had white apple earphones and was looking at her
translator at times, the girl in a pink striped sweater kept glancing off the person she was
sitting next to, the girl in the green hoodie. The one in pink would glanced as the other
would work and didn't mind as she kept working.

I notices that the many people who were here this Friday at 2:27 pm where mostly
reading books or newspapers. There was very few taking around since this was a library
or they were inaudible to my position. What was very interesting is that a women in a
white shirt was using her laptop to learn English, she has a writing program that showed
videos how to move a pen to display the characters of the alphabet. She was alone but she
was leaning without a teacher in this environment. Beside the laptop she had a sheet of
paper which I can see many trials and errors done unto it. I also observed that she was
Chinese as the video showed a male, I did not hear what the man was saying but the
subtitle was in Chinese at the bottom of the video.

A brown skin male and female were a few tables away from my side and were looking at
the female's screen even though he had his own laptop in front of him, I head that he said
“you look good in that picture”. A Hispanic male was in front of me, I could see his
screen and he was watching a video and had Itunes up in a second window on the same
screen, he was multitasking.

I moved my location to the teens room to see if there was more a group oriented setting,
and it seemed to be more.
There was music in the background of christian rock and I overheard two oriental females
talking. Talking about school, she said that “ I only need to study math today”, the other
one said that “Yea same” I went over to them and introduced myself, stating that I
wanted to ask them some questions for a college report, they smiled and said “sure”

I first asked “How often do you use the library?” and the girl on my left answered “ Well
I come here everyday since it's so close but I also use the one at school.”

Which school do you go to? “Cardozo, you know I think I seen you in the hallways a
couple of times”

I said “Maybe I use to go there” I then then asked them what year they were in and “they
responded that they were seniors.

I continued with my planned questions “At what times do you use the library?”

“After school but when we use the library at school, it's usually in the morning and
sometimes after school if we don't come here.”

-Why do you use the library?

To meet up with friends, talk, study and learn I guess, it's just a natural thing for us now.

-What is your favorite place in the library?

Usually the teens sections but if there is an empty table we usually take that since it's
available but we really like the windows. At school I guess in the back by the teachers
area so we can hide.

-Do you prefer solo or group study spaces?

Group study spaces because they offer more things than what we can do alone.

I thank them and notice that they were helping one another on math, a while later I see
that one of them got how to do it as she said, “oh that's how you do it”

They then debated on what Colleges wanted, high SAT score or average.

In front of me I saw a group of three Asians, they didn't have any thing out in front of
them but they were taking, they had their jackets off and their book bags on the floor but
one of them had a cellphones out. At 2:59 they did group of Asians that didn't seem to be
doing anything started to take out books and papers from their bags. A Group of people
entered the room and they were all talking about music, there was a girl that was sitting
by herself reading a book. Two females in black jackets were quietly sitting in a corner
and had binders out, the only thing that .
Strange thing is that the library has all the latest generation of gaming consoles, so the
room has many other people who are not trying to study but just to play the games
available. They were playing Halo 3 when I was leaving.

During my observation I notice that my tape recorder would pick up a lot of ambient
sound like the heater making noise or just static and it was confusing as it would create
an echo like effect where the voices would go in and out as different sounds flooded the
recording. I was using my laptop mic to fix that but, it's kinds hard to hold a laptop to
record. Another thing was permission to record with so many people around, I just
recorded when I talked with people and with their permission but it also picked up a lot
of extra things too. Transportation is no problem and time was no problem too. After a
few hours I see that there are kids who come to play at the library because of the games
and this posed a problem as I see that priorities are shifted.

I got some people to help answer the questions and they weren't scared to answer then
when I approached them. I wish I got more people but it got really hard when a lot of
people started to play games. I did learn that students are quick to change what they
prioritize first. Those that do stay on their goal seems to do well and I see it helps as the
two girls I witness did learn even and perfected their understanding of the topic.
John Gallo

Professor Zino

English 110

December 1, 2010

                                    Conceptual Memo

Student-Teacher interactions at an after-school program


         I walked into the After School Program at 3:00 P.M. As I walked into the
classroom a Caucasian girl around six years old stood up and said “Mrs. Raffeto I don’t
feel too good” and literally 20 seconds later threw up in the middle of the three tables.
Mrs. Raffeto was the supervising teacher. Mrs. Raffeto said “ Stephanie, its okay just
take a seat over here and ill send Mrs. G (a supervising teacher) to get the nurse” and as
Mrs, Raffeto said that Miss Karen the program moderator walked in and comforted
Stephanie and called the janitors to clean up the mess. The teachers reassured Stephanie
that it was no big deal and to cheer up and stop crying because Stephanie was
embarrassed. The nurse came and called Stephanie’s parents who came to pick her up
20 minutes later. All the students were in the same St. Gregory the Great sweatshirts and
sweatpants except for James a Caucasian boy in the fourth grade. I asked him why he
wasn’t in uniform and he explained that he earned a NUT Card and I asked what that was
and he said it stands for “NO UNIFORM TODAY” and he earned it by assisted the
Kindergarteners at recess. Mrs. Raffeto came over and said “ Yes James was hanging out
with the Kindgerarteners and they really look up to him” and James smiled and Mrs.
Raffeto gave James a “High Five”. Once everybody got settled Mrs. Raffeto said “Its
Homework time and remember Homework Time….” She was cut off and the class
recited “Quiet Time” and she said “Correct”. A little African American girl around 5
years old walked up to Mrs. Raffeto and said “Why is that man here?” pointing towards
me and Mrs. Raffeto said “He’s here making sure all you guys are being good” and the
classroom went silent for about ten minutes but then returned to be extremely noisy
again. The table all the way in the corner consisted of two girls one Asian girl and a
Caucasian girl, Allison, in the third grade and three African American boys who were
drinking Capri-Suns and doing their homework and not looking for assistance by the
helper teachers. Three students sat on the rug against the window and James was one.
He read two of the five year old Caucasian boys a story. Joe, a fifth grader who is clearly
the oldest in the room today just walked in. The teachers gave him a lot of responsibility
because of his age, but I could tell he elt alittle embarrassed being in this program with
the little kids. Allison is back today and the other supervising teacher Mrs. M**** yelled
at her saying “Allison do your spelling words” Allison responded “I am!” and Mrs.
M**** said “you should have been done by now, you’ve been working on the same 10
words for nearly an hour”. Twenty minutes later the helper teachers were still sitting
with the middle table and working on how simple words such as “cat, dog, and school” fit
into simple sentences. The firthest table of two girls Asian girls around 6 years old and
one Asian boy around 7 years old finished their homework and wanted to play so one of
the helper teachers Mrs. G started playing tick-tac-toe with them until they caught on to
the concept and played between the three of them at the table. Cameron and Jamal joined
the far table as Mrs. Raffeto handed snacks out. After snacktime:
         Kyle (African American age 8): “Mrs. Raffeto I forgot my book upstairs”
         Mrs. Raffeto: “Every week it’s the same story Kyle”
         Kyle: “I’m sorry”
         Mrs. Raffeto: “ No problem, try to remember next time, Mrs. G will take you to
get it now”

One student Christopher around 7 years old African American was convinced I was a
teacher and kept coming to the desk I was sitting at and taking the scotch tape and
bringing it back and forth to his table and my desk, I didn’t say anything and heard him
say to Allison “He’s not yelling at me. I really like this teacher” I continued to jot. He
kept doing the same thing for five minutes and then got tired of it.


       I had a few problems and setbacks, first after Stephanie threw up the odor in the
room was horrendous really making it difficult for me to concentrate. The next problem I
had was the other supervising teacher Mrs. M**** came to where I was jotting and began
reading my notes, so to avoid her reading I flipped all my pages over and she asked When
your done can I read what you wrote” I said “sure” but when I was done with my work I
made sure she stepped out of the room and left before she returned.

Patterns, Insights, and Breakthrough

         I notice that teacher’s really want to help the students and try to make the students
comfortable in the environment they’re in. The teacher’s seem to always be doing work
at their desk but as soon as a student needs something the teachers are very responsive
and will do anything to help. I noticed that although teachers try to be kind and easy
going all the time they also get rattled and annoyed by students not listening. I also
noticed that when students ask questions but something not even close to school related
the teachers go above and beyond to help the students out for instance when the helper
teacher, Mrs. G, taught the bored students how to play tic-tac-toe that really left an
impression on me. Finally when Christopher expected me to yell at him shows me that
he’s been yelled at by teachers and that sometimes students at that age can be
misunderstood and just try to get attention.
Fabrice Alerte

Conceptual Memo #2

1. Overview/Summary

At 11: 30 A.M on Friday November 26th i arrived at home. At home was both parents,
cousin, and little brother. It was the day after Thanksgiving so the family appeared to be
in a relaxed state. At this time Eric was playing the video game ” Call of Duty: Black Ops
” on Xbox 360 as he usually does. This game he was playing all day and both parents
would occasionally come in to talk to him, but he stated ” I’m busy playing right now “.
After this statement they just said, ” Finish up soon “. Despite them saying this, Eric
would continue playing the video game. He had homework due on Monday, but he didn’t
seem to have any interest in doing it, for he was pre-occupied with the video games. On
November 28th at 7:00 PM, Eric was still playing video games. He was playing video
games the whole weekend. At this time, both parents had walked in and told him that he
would have to turn off the video games immediately and do his homework. They stated,
” You still haven’t done your homework?! ” in a shocked voice. He shrugged and told
them that he would do his homework as soon as possible.Thirty minutes later he didn’t
his homework yet and they demanded him to go to his room and do his homework at the
very moment. He complied and went to their room to be in peace and quiet to do his
homework. They would occasionally walk in to check on him and tell him ” good, you’re
doing your work “. He occasionally would take breaks on doing his homework and state
that he has all of the weekend to do his homework. They would respond by saying that he
has school tomorrow and can’t be leaving things for last second. They made him go back
to doing his homework after a brief break of about five minutes. They states that he can’t
be doing his homework last second and said that, ” the whole time you were playing
video games you could’ve been doing his homework “. He simply said, ” I know “. After
this they kept reiterating that homework comes first, even before video games. The
homework took him about 45 minutes and once he was done the parents allowed for him
to proceed in playing his video games. They said, ” Once homework is done, then you
can do whatever you want “. After they said this he played video games for about two
hours. The dad came in and asked, ” See, now that you don’t have homework you feel
free right? “. Eric turned over his shoulder and said, ” yes “. The dad said ” Don’t forget,
I’m expecting a 95 average “. Eric grinned and said. ” I know “. This was the last
communication between Eric and the parents, and he would fall asleep after about
another hour of playing.

2. Problems and Setbacks

There wasn’t too many setbacks, besides both parents neglecting Eric while he was
playing. There were times where they would just let him play and not interfere. Yet, once
they stepped in they were very serious about asking what they wanted out of him.

3. Patterns, Insights and Breakthroughs
The more the parents push to making Eric do his homework, the more he bound he is to
do homework. If they lay back and let him do what he wants then he will just slack off
and not do what needs to be done. By pushing him to do whatever he has to do early in
emphasizes to not leave stuff for last second. If they leave it up to him then he most likely
won’t do whatever he has to do early and save it for last second.

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