Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Children School Projects

The School Project - Help Is On The Way
I refer of course, to the school project.
If ever there was a need for parents to unite against a common enemy it is the school project. For those of you unfamiliar with take home school projects, or for those of you fortunate enough to have suppressed such memories, there are seven stages to every school project. Stage 1. A parent will casually ask between bites when the project is due, the child will respond that it is due in one month and the parents will process that information to mean that they never have to be concerned about this again.
Stage 2. High Noon.
The night before the day before the project is due, the child will approach one or both parents and shriek, "What about my diorama?" Stage 3. It Takes a Village to Decorate a Shoe Box

On the day before the project is due, work will be parceled out to all family and extended family members within a radius of fifteen miles. Stage 4. A sibling of the student will be reduced to tears when a beloved toy doll is surgically altered to fit inside the box. Stage 5. Emerging From the Trial By Fire
Generally sometime after 11:00 pm, anger is replaced with a sense of accomplishment when the school project is completed. All the stress and turmoil evident on the faces of the parent or parents will vanish once it is apparent that the nightmare is over. Stage 6. The Return of the Prodigal Project
Days later the child returns with the project and the grade. The project is placed in a position of prominence for a period generally lasting no longer than 72 hours before it is tossed into the trash with the coffee grinds while the child is at school. Stage 7. A Clean Slate
A child comes home with a new school project. Repeat steps 1-6.
I'm willing to march in front of the school board if you're with me on this school project issue. Many times children will get interested in their genealogy due to a family tree school project. It contains everything they will need to to research their family tree. Several schools have implemented a project such as this for students. The family tree is a history of your family and therefore it should not just be viewed as cut and dry. The events and stories that are remembered and written down as a way of preserving them can make a family history come alive.
A family tree can also include a scrapbook of the most important things about your family. The family history done from the view of a child that in the fifth or sixth grade is going to be priceless when they get older. This project can be added to a larger one to preserve for future generations. As a school project the search for your ancestors can be part of a history lesson. Learning about your own family will help you to understand other people's history. They will seem more real to the students rather than just reading about someone in a history book.
When you decide on a family tree school project such as this, the benefits will be many. Creating a book as a school project gives students a chance to practice writing, editing, art, and organizational skills. Producing a book is also an excellent way to generate interest in reading. It is similar to the effect of having children help you cook. Children become engaged by the process and interested in the result. Ideas for book projects. Each idea listed below could be assigned to an individual student. Some of the ideas also work well for small groups of students. Encourage students to invent clever, engaging titles to headline their books about one of these suggested topics.
a. The "Green" Book. Have students create a book documenting the school's effort to use less energy, improve the environment, or create a green space. Alternatively, each student could document similar efforts in their home or town.
b. The "How To" Book. Have each student pick something they are interested in doing and write and illustrate a book on the topic. Everything from stamp collecting, sports, animal care, crafting, carpentry, car care, and so on is fair game.
c. The "Grandpa" Book. Have students interview their grandparents or folks in a senior center about their life as a teenager. d. The "Poetry Collection" Book. Have each student contribute a poem and an illustration for the book. The illustrations could be hand-drawn, painted, computer graphics, collages, or photographs.
e. The "Comic" Book. Have students create a six-part series of four-box comic strips like the ones that run in the daily papers. Have your students collect recipes of their favorite dishes. Several different approaches might be used - recipes from different ethnic backgrounds of the student population, teachers' recipes, favorite potluck recipes from the students' families, best dessert recipes, favorite tailgate recipes for the high school football games, and so on. Recipe accuracy can be tested in the home economics kitchen, if available.
g. The "Nature" Book. The write-up might include: common name, scientific name, where it is found, how big it grows, interesting details about the plant or animal. h. The "Why Photo" Book. The resulting books can be hand-bound. For "how-to" information, check out my article titled "Book Binding by Hand". Some printers offer special printing programs for students.


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