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 Overview/Summary 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. Setbacks 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 Overview/Summary 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. Problems/Setbacks 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.