Notes on "Brandon" and "AJ" for Final Assignment


Math lesson 11/18/09
Brandon and AJ worked together on the math assignment for the day: doing some problems from the math book. They sat together on the floor in the hallway (so they wouldn't disturb the other students) and worked quietly. Their conversation was mostly about the math, and they stayed on task.
  • Brandon: Wait a second, I don't get that.
  • AJ: (shows him his work.) The answer for #15 is 35.
  • Brandon: (writes answer down.) Then I'll do #16. (Does the problem for 15 seconds.) My answer to #16 is 24.

Their system is to either split the work, or both do the work and compare answers. AJ explains that "One way is more efficient, but the other way is more reliable." I ask if they are at about the same math level. They both nod their heads, then Brandon tells me, "But AJ is quicker."

They go back to their math work, and they stay on track, working quickly and efficiently.
  • Brandon: Haven't we done this page before?
  • AJ: Brandon, we're just three problems away. Let's do this. (encouragingly)
  • Brandon: We'll both do #25 and then...
  • AJ: (cutting him off) Yeah.

I ask them if they ever do their homework together at home. They look at one another, "No, not really, unless we have a playdate." They finished their work well ahead of the other students and brought the work to me, telling me they'd finished and asking what they should do next. I asked what they wanted to do next.
  • Brandon: Sudoku?
  • AJ: I think Mrs. Woods is teaching the lattice method.
  • Brandon: Lattice method? (they peek in the class, and chat for a moment)
  • AJ: Brandon wants to go over the homework because we didn't use estimation.

Guided Reading 11/20/09
AJ and Brandon are in my guided reading group. We were on the rug in the music room, and the two boys lay down on their stomachs the whole time. Throughout the entire lesson, they were kicking each other's feet, not disrupting the class, just kicking and entangling their feet. At one point AJ was reaching over and touching Brandon's face, not really in a mean way, maybe just a little bit annoying, but Brandon didn't seem to react beyond kind of shaking his face. They stopped when I looked over at them and gave them a quizzical look.

Lunch 11/20/09
Brandon and AJ and Eddie are all friends. I can't really tell if there is a special relationship between AJ and Brandon, or if they are all equal friends. I get the feeling that Eddie and AJ are friends, and AJ and Brandon are friends, and by default Eddie and Brandon are friends. Brandon and Eddie stood in front of a girl's desk teasing her by taking away her yogurt. The actions were initiated and done by Brandon, and Eddie stood right next to him, while AJ stood behind them, eating.

Recess 11/20/09
Playing foursquare at recess. Brandon and AJ play foursquare with some of the other fifth grade boys. There is a separate game for girls because the boys play more "wild." In foursquare, they don't seem to target one another. Brandon eventually gets AJ out, and as AJ fetches the ball, he says in all seriousness "Brandon, you're so good!"

Another boy, "Mills," comes along to play after all four squares are filled, and AJ tells him he can't play. Brandon follows suit, and tells the boy he can't play. Then, one player gets out, and AJ calls over to the excluded boy and says:
  • AJ: Mills, you can play!
  • Mills: No, I'm playing basketball.
  • Brandon: I'll vote for Y if you play. (Referring to the yin-yang yearbook cover design that Mills was lobbying for before lunch)

Mills doesn't come over to play right away, but waits until is friend comes over to join the foursquare game.

These two boys, AJ and Brandon, are both peaceful, non-confrontational children. They don't seem to get riled up easily, if at all. If/when a conflict arises, they work to diffuse it rather than let it get worse. They are mature enough to resolve it themselves and don't need outside intervention (although conflicts don't arise between these two because they are largely aligned).

Interview 11/23/09


AJ:
  1. Maybe Tommy thinks sports are only for boys. (Are sports only for boys?) No, she can play if she wants to. Games are for everyone who wants to.
  2. Becky is right to insist, it's fair that everyone should be included.
  3. Billy should try to get Tommy to let Becky play. If this doesn't work, Billy should go and play with Becky so she doesn't have to play alone.
  4. The teacher can insist that Becky be included. Billy should try to resolve it on his own first. He should intervene; it's not OK to not say anything because Becky is his friend. "If I were Becky, I'd be mad if I were Billy's friend and he didn't help me."
Brandon:
  1. Maybe Tommy is afraid that she will beat him (he relates this to something that happens in Bridge to Terabithia, a book we are reading in Guided Reading) Like how Leslie beats all the boys racing.
  2. Becky is right to insist because everybody is allowed to play. (Even if she's not any good at the sport?) Yeah, even if she's not good.
  3. Billy should let Becky play and explain to Tommy that it doesn't matter that she's a girl.
  4. (He looks confused at first, and I ask him if he thinks the teacher should be called, and if the teacher can do anything to resolve the issue.) They (the students) should just let Becky play. The teacher can tell Tommy that everyone can play.