For the past five weeks, students in Vicki Cary‘s CIS Writing class and Joel Squadroni‘s College Prep Writing class have been writing an eight to ten page Ethnography papers.
An Ethnography means a description of a culture of human kind. In more simpler terms it’s the study of a group of people and the way they do things. This project is given out because since the students are involved with a CIS (College In School) writing class, which is based on the U of M Freshmen writing course, the University of Minnesota requires students to write Ethnographies because it helps them get a grasp on primary data. Primary data is a way for students to aquire information about a subject all on their own through a first-hand experience.
“These Ethnographies are the most interesting papers I read all year,” said Squadroni. “One story I remember was about this cowboy Shoot n’ Target group located West of Buffalo. It’s a group that have monthly get-togethers where every one dresses up as cowboys and go around shooting at self-made sets, like the town bank, or saloon, and they race around the course and shoot as many targets as they can before the time runs out.”
For some students, they use writing about these Ethnographies as an advantage and find out some very interesting stories about cultures we may never have heard of before. Senior Whitney Anderson wrote her paper on “Aqua Fit,” an activity at Gold’s Gym where elderly people work out in the water. Another story was written by Juniors Lindsay Babler and Stephanie Edmonson about Minnesota Teen Challenge, a program for kids to over-come addiction from drugs and alcohol.
“We went there expecting to see the people look like the people you would see shown in health class, but when we got there, we saw people that look just like the ordinary “soccer mom,” or girls that looked just like the girls here at school,” said Edmonson.
All the students in Cary’s or Squadroni’s classes had to turn in their papers this week. Some groups of students blew past the eight to ten pages and totaled out thier story at thirteen to seventeen pages. After the intense five weeks of working on the project that required two observations about the topic along with finding out all the information needed to put together the paper, then writing a rough draft and then a final, kids are happy it’s done and over with.
“It was very stressful writing the paper because there was just so much information gathered about our topic that we just didn’t know what to, and what not to put into our story,” said Babler
Story by Joe Neumann