#SOL18 Day 20 School Projects

Last week, I texted my sister a frantic SOS. My son's class is celebrating the 120th Day of School (first graders have moved on from the 100th Day of School- that's SOOO kindergarten!) and each child was asked to make a creation with 120 objects to wear to school that day. We first got notice of this long before March, which would give us more than enough time to complete it. However, life has been....busy, to say the least. So March 20th was rapidly approaching and I had no idea how to make a shirt with 120 things on it. 

My nephew is in third grade, so this is not my sister's first rodeo. She had tons of ideas on what Alex could wear for the 120th Day. I begged her to make it for me and I would owe her big. She came up with an adorable Ninja t-shirt. 

When I went to pick this up at her house, she had a huge poster board on the floor for my nephew's latest school project- an Olympics theme visual. He already had a huge travel brochure project (Hello- 1985 called and wants its project back!) due right around Christmas. Needless to say, a large part of the project was being done by my sister with contributions from my nephew. What if he didn't have a mom who had the energy, time, ideas and finances to organize this project for him?

As a teacher, I question projects that put so much burden on parents.  Many of my students would not have the funds to pay for poster board, t-shirts, and craft materials or a family member with time to put all this together. I understand the spirit of wanting kids to make their own creation, but what if you are handicapped with a mom like me who is not crafty at all? Or what if your family doesn't have extra cash to spend on supplies? And what if you are one of the only kids who shows up without a creation? 

A colleague at work was telling me how her son was assigned to write a BOOK about the American Revolution in 4th grade. A book. An entire book. He had no idea how many chapters it had to be or really what the American Revolution was all about. Where is the teaching in an assignment like this? 

I think we need to stop and think about what we are assigning children to do at home and consider giving them more time in school to have these learning experiences. How do you feel about projects that put a lot of the burden on parents? 


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