From: Jess Thyne
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 09 Oct 1996
Remote Name: tsa-08.ucsc.edu
Ivan (Male, 8 years) Adrianna (female, 9 years)
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 found a Monopoly set, and asked Adrianna and Ivan if they would join us in a game. They seemed excited to play. Adrianna had never played before, so we asked her to be the properties manager (and I ordered the properties in a way that matched the bord), she seemed fairly overwhelmed by the comotion of the setting up of the game, so she agreed. Ivan already knew how to play the game, in fact. he said that he always won. He seemed interested in the money, so we all decided that he should be the banker. Once the positions were filled, everybody grabbed for the money to help pass it out. Passing out the money was a good shared experience, as we had to help each other remember how many of each bill to pass out. I felt that this activity made the group warm up to each other. The kids were both surprisingly good players. Adrianna figured out the properties quickly, and with help from Ivan and the rest of us, she learned the nouances of the game. Ivan could do most of the banker math by himself. He spent most of his energy saying of paying rent, "that's nothing". This statement which I used to tease him later helped Adrianna feel OK about losing money by paying rent. 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 if I understood board games, and could do math at the level of Adrianna and Ivan when I was their age?
As to Adrianna's ingnorance of me when playing with the computer, I felt as if I was an intruder in her private computer art expression. If I was trying to enjoy some painting time on the computer, I too would feel intruded uppon by a college student bugging me about what I was doing.
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 dont think so, but then what should we do?