first Field notes

From: Jess Thyne
Submit: Post Field Note
VisitDate: 10/04/96
Date: 06 Oct 1996
Time: 20:04:32
Remote Name:



"I", 8 years, boy "A", 9 years, girl


This was the first meeting of Barrios Unidos that I attended. I and many students sat in the computer room while the first kids arrived. There were only 3 kids for a long time. The scene was awkward, approx. 7 adults to 3 kids. We eventually moved into a bigger room and Maurice passed out the folders. The explanation of the folders was long, and I thought that it was too complicated. The letters inside the folder from the wizzard were at a fairly high reading level, so the kids barely glanced over them. After we covered the folders, I and two others organized A and I into a game of monopoly. “A” had never played before, so we made her the properties manager (and I ordered the properties in a way that matched the bord), while “I” already knew the game, so he bacame the banker. We all helped to pass out the money, which was a good shared experience which I felt made the group warm up to each other. The kids were both surprisingly good players. “A” figured out the properties quickly, and “I” could do most of the banker math. I was glad that the game ran smoothly, a good first meeting of the kids.

Maurice eventually oppened up the computer lab for the last 10 minutes of class, and I watched “A” play on a drawing game. I asked her many questions about her drawing and the computer, but she payed little attention to me, so I just watched her draw until the end of class.


As this was the first field note, and I have not been able to get much reading done yet, I have nothing to add here, except that I wonder I I understood bord games, and could do math at the level of “A” and “I” when I was their age?


• Why were the folders so complicated? Are the kids at that level, or is it too hard? Some of them did not speak very good english, so I wondered about their level of understanding. • I wondered if the kids would be able to understand Monopoly, as it is a fairly difficult game, but they played with little confusion, and they seemed to have fun. • What will happen if some of the kids do not want our help or input, but they just want to play on the computer by themselves? Are we supposed to force our attention on them? I don’t think so, but then what should we do?