It was inevitable.
We had reached second grade. The students were expected to be more independent, have less instruction and work on…projects.
Is there a more painful experience than working on a project with an 8 year old?
So far, excuses to NOT work on projects have included:
- I’m too tired
- I can’t think about that right now
- I have to go to the bathroom
- I have to have a snack first so my brain will work
- The teacher didn’t say we HAD to do this
- I think watching TV first will get me in the mood to do my project
- And – my favorite – I don’t want to
I wish I could say that the teachers don’t give us enough time; however, 3 weeks to complete something that could take one hour is rather generous.
We have had 3 projects so far this year. Each one has been as painful as the last.
As someone who loves to create and is a maker of all the things, it is very difficult for me to understand not wanting to do a super fun project that involves glue, markers, feathers, stickers and other amazing craft items.
Players: creative, crafty mom and anti-everything child.
Project 1: The “All About Me” Poster
This project consisted of students making posters that represented who they were and what they liked. They could draw, use photos, stickers, literally anything to bring this poster to life.
The day the poster board and instructions came home, Little Mister informed us: “The teacher said we could work on this a little at a time. Like, just do ONE thing each day. So today, I’m just going to put my name on it.”
Note to teachers: your students (at least mine!) take what you say literally. If you said “don’t spend more than 5 minutes on this”, they will spend exactly 5 minutes on that assignment, not a minute more, but possibly 4 minutes less.
First, we didn’t want to share anything about ourself. “But that’s how your new classmates will get to know you!” I told him in my most persuasive voice.
“I don’t want anyone to get to know me,” said my introvert child.
End result: we made the poster over a 3 hour period of time filled with head on the table whining (him) and exasperated sighs (me), on an afternoon when Mr. KK was conveniently “at his parents house”.
Project 2: The Pumpkin Book Report
Our second project of the year was a fun one: read a book, answer a few questions about the book (this was somehow disguised as a “book report”) and decorate a pumpkin to look like a character from the book.
This one sounded fun!
Right away, we identified the book we wanted to do. Yay, us!
Next, we bought a pumpkin that was the right size to decorate and have him carry into school.
Last, was the actual work.
You must be thinking, ‘Oh, Mr. KK missed out on doing the All About Me poster so he probably jumped at the chance to do the Pumpkin Book Report!’
NOPE. Mr. KK was on a golf trip when the PBR (not the beer kind) went down.
I had Little Mister write out his answers to the questions about the book on a lined piece of paper first, so that we could correct any mis-spellings. Then I had him copy it onto the book report sheet. Seems pretty logical, right? Nope! Not to an 8 year old. “Why are you making me do my book report twice?”
Me: “So you can think of what you want to say and we can make it neat and make sure everything is spelled correctly.”
Little Mister: “It doesn’t matter if it’s neat or if it’s spelled correctly.”
Those words? From my child?
We painted our pumpkin and decorated him to look like the skunk from the book. I think we did a pretty good job. The next morning I drove him to school so he didn’t have to carry his pumpkin on the bus, with the chance of banging into the seats or – more accurately – leaving it on the bus.
As we are waiting in the drop off line, Little Mister informs me, “I didn’t want to do that book for my book report. I wanted to do the dragon book. Let’s do that one instead.”
Project #3: The Diorama
Now THIS project brought me back to my youth, making dioramas out of shoe boxes. I loved to make dioramas. And for this project, each student has chosen an animal to study and learn about and would then bring that animal to life in a cardboard box. Mr. KK would like me to note that he was present for the box-sourcing and background painting of the diorama. Objects and details of the diorama were done by yours truly and Little Mister.
For this project, we were to create a diorama about coyotes.
Little Mister LOVED animals! So far, so good!
Little Mister LOVED talking about his diorama and what we could do! Excellent!
Little Mister LOVED painting the diorama! Amazing!
Little Mister was NOT, however, a fan of glueing down the animals we bought for the diorama because he wanted to play with them.
“How about we don’t put this big coyote in and he stays here?” The negotiations began.
Me: “We can glue him down, he goes to school, then when your diorama comes home, you can play with him.”
LM: “But his feet will have glue on them.”
Me: “I will remove the glue!”
LM: “But you say not to get glue on anything because it doesn’t come off.”