From: Mercedes Monaco
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 13 Oct 1996
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
I was sitting at a computer watching a child play a game, when Olivia came to me. I had been working with her before and had gotten her started on a computer, but now she wanted to know if she could write to the wizard. I told her that was a great idea. The only problem was, I thought, that the kids were going to write on the internet originally, which wasn't an option. I told her she could write to him but that I had to ask Maurice something first. He told me she could write it in a word processing program and print it and that the wizard would respond. Olivia and I sat at the computer and I showed her how to start the program. She was didn't like the font or the size so I explained what a font was and how to change it and let her go through until she found what she liked. At first she didn't know what to say, but I just told her to tell the wizard about herself and ask him/her about him/herself. She seemed to really like writing him, and wrote quite a bit. She told him her name, gender, and school, that she liked the 'niners, and the names of her four friends. She noted that she had more than four friends, but that these were her good friends. Everything she told about herself, she asked the wizard. She suggested that he be called Gandolf and asked if he went to school, was a boy or girl, if he liked the 'niners, and how many friends he had.
I thought it was great that Olivia took the initiative to write the wizzard. I felt kind of stupid not knowing what her options were and wish I had at least a little more of a clue what was going on than the kids, so I could answer some of their questions. Olivia did a great job with her letter. She misspelled some words and I wasn't sure if I should jump in or not. I let a few go, but when she spelled know as now, I jumped in and told her that the word had a silent letter and she said, "Oh yeah" and changed it. After she finished I had her reread the letter to see if she'd notice some of the mistakes. She didn't notice them but as she was reading it, she read it correctly even when it was written differently, which is interesting. I also notice that she, like most of the kids, typed by looking for the letter on the keyboard, but knew the keyboard pretty well. I think a typing tutor program would be *very* useful. I know there are a lot of fun ones out there (that's how I learned to type when I was her age). Learning to type will help her the rest of her life. It'd be cool if we could help start that for some of the kids.
How can we continue to encourage the kids to take initiative? Why do we tend to see what we meant to type, rather than what we actually did type?