Author Topic: Question about childrens school projects.  (Read 3989 times)

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Sharnita

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #60 on: January 18, 2013, 08:15:59 PM »
Maybe the teacher just realized the same kids have the same parents and just give up  the fight.

CuriousParty

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #61 on: January 18, 2013, 08:20:16 PM »
I very much want my DD to do her own work, but expectations are getting out of line.  We just got a three-page packet detailing the requirements for an upcoming Social Studies Fair - a tri-fold board, research on your chosen topic (book, web research, interview) a detailed drawing, a craft box filled with tools, a write up of your research, it goes on and on.

DD is five.  In Kindergarten.  She can't even read the instructions, never mind follow them independently, and I very much doubt she will understand enough of the process to benefit (and yes, this will be coming up in the parent/teacher meetings this week).

So clearly we will be helping quite a bit.  The most annoying part - the line at the bottom explaining that since the children don't actually get a social studies grade, the grading rubric (yes, the added-up-to-100-points grading rubric) doesn't really mean anything.

And believe it or not, this school was very carefully vetted.  You wouldn't believe what the other nearby schools expected preschoolers to do.

JenJay

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #62 on: January 18, 2013, 08:22:59 PM »
I very much want my DD to do her own work, but expectations are getting out of line.  We just got a three-page packet detailing the requirements for an upcoming Social Studies Fair - a tri-fold board, research on your chosen topic (book, web research, interview) a detailed drawing, a craft box filled with tools, a write up of your research, it goes on and on.

DD is five.  In Kindergarten.  She can't even read the instructions, never mind follow them independently, and I very much doubt she will understand enough of the process to benefit (and yes, this will be coming up in the parent/teacher meetings this week).

So clearly we will be helping quite a bit.  The most annoying part - the line at the bottom explaining that since the children don't actually get a social studies grade, the grading rubric (yes, the added-up-to-100-points grading rubric) doesn't really mean anything.

And believe it or not, this school was very carefully vetted.  You wouldn't believe what the other nearby schools expected preschoolers to do.

That is insane. I'd be ticked. It's as bad as that school that made headlines because it assigned homework to the parents and the child's grade suffered if the parents didn't complete their assignments.

Sharnita

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #63 on: January 18, 2013, 08:29:11 PM »
The thing is, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody in administration in the building or downtown is,letting teachers know they want to see kids doing projects that use tech, etc and are displayed for the public. It could be one teacher's idea but OTOH, admin could be asking teachers "where is ..."

CuriousParty

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #64 on: January 18, 2013, 08:47:50 PM »
Sharnita, this is a small private school.  There is no downtown.  There's...maybe 60 kids total in k - 5?  I talk to the principal every morning at dropoff.  These are well-meaning educators who I think have lost sight totally of proportion/reality.

This will be coming up in Parent /Teacher conference, and I fully expect to hear "Oh, we know the kids can't do all of that themselves, just help them do what they can..."

But then what is the point of the project? I passed Kindergarten, tyvm.

Sadly, as I said, I looked at a number of schools.  This was our #2 choice, as there was not a slot in our first choice, but both of our options were far and away better than others that said they adhered to "a developmentally appropriate model" without even the slightest understanding of what that is.  At least here DD has recess (three times a day) in addition to play-based instruction.

There's a slot at #1 next year.  We'll be there, but I expect the problem to persist on at least some level.  Curriculum and educational expectations don't line up with what we know about development, and they aren't being adjusted as we learn.

Don't get me started about the organizational strategies I've had to put in place just to track all of her homework/extra credit work/book lists/sight words/Fingerplays....

AylaM

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #65 on: January 19, 2013, 12:08:23 AM »
Growing up I didn't do a lot of my big projects.   I did not do a single project on my own until college.  :-[

Mom did a lot of work on my school projects.  As I got older, she did less, but it was because I started getting mad at her for trying to help.  My homework was all my work, but she would proofread and make me fix mistakes.  But the projects were horrible.   But, as I said, it got better as I got older.

Up until about 7th grade she basically did my projects.

7th grade to 8th grade she would do the pretty parts and would really edit the papers a lot.  When my original paper was done I'd be turning in 50% or more of her "corrections".  She also tended to choose the projects if I was given any leeway.

9th grade and up she tended to take over the posters and physical displays.  I did the reading, writing, and any computer displays.   This is where the big split really happened.  I went out of my way to use powerpoint whenever I could.  I also threw quite a few fits when she tried to edit my papers.   Her doing the posters I was more or less ok with because all the hard work was mine and it wasn't obvious.  But the papers? I'm wordy and technical and she is creative and emotional.   she kept trying to re-write huge segments of my papers and I would get so mad at her because it was 1) against the "how to write paper" rules for my school 2) obviously not mine, and 3) I hated her writing style.

College was amazing.  I only had to make one poster (it was hideous  :D) and I could do powerpoints all the time.  And by the start of my Sophmore year, mom lived about 5000 miles away.

Now that she's in college I proof-read her papers.  And can see it from her side now, sort of.  She stopped asking me to proof-read because her papers came back looking like I'd spilled blue ink all over them.  When I read her stuff I want to scream "who writes like this?" I'm sure she felt the same back then.

kherbert05

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #66 on: January 19, 2013, 04:35:46 AM »
This issue is why my district has a policy that all graded work must be done in school with staff members present.


A few years ago we had a controversy at our school. A group of 4th graders got very poor grades on a science fair project. It was obvious the parent did it and it did not meet the requirements (was a demo not an experiment). Because their had been a long term sub (teacher on maternity leave) their grade was adjusted by admin.


Next year same group of boys doing invention convention refused to work in class. Brought in huge project that was a recreation of an invention not orginal. During the interview process they could not explain anything about their invention. Continueing questioning resulted in them stating that Uptight staff member of district/father of one of the boys did the project while the boys played Grand Theft Auto (these were 10 yo).


They got a 50 lowest grade we could give at the time. There was a storm of protest. Admin was going to adjust the grade again because teachers were "unclear in their instructions". Except I had videoed the interview. The boys got the 50's (they deserved 0) and the fat hit the fan. The reason the project was done at the uptight staff member's house was he didn't allow his son to watch TV and didn't trust the other parents to "protect his son's innocence" but he allowed 10 yo to play GTA. The man was a geek in the IT department - no excuses for "not knowing" GTA was Rated M.


Rules changed to NO projects outside of school the next year.


Growing up I can think of two incidents.


Electrical project in 5th grade.
I was pulled aside with some others that had very "professional" projects and made to give an in depth explanation. 1 by 1 the others confessed to their parents hiring people to make their projects (I grew up in Memorial).


My turn I tearfully confessed that Dad had done the soldering and that my cousins had rewired a piece of equipment that had been faulty when we bought it. I had done the complete design. Dad had checked my plans for safety. I laid everything out. Original plan was that I would solder under Dad's supervision. But my hands were badly fissured, and dad was afraid that because the skin was cracked and open I might get sick from handling the solder and I had/have fine motor control problems due to the pain. We had taken the broken part to a family get together on a Saturday, because we were going to stop and replace it on the way home. My cousins saw it as a challenge and fixed the piece. The teacher apologized for doubting me, when I had always been honest. (I had more experience with electricity/wiring than your average 10 because I had helped dad on various projects and hung out with my contractor and engineer cousins watching them do various projects and helping them)


8th grade paper in English. Teacher announced at the last minute that our papers had to be typed (on a typewriter no PC yet). We happened to have one. 4 hours and many sheets of paper and tears later Mom snapped sent me to bed and typed the blasted thing herself. Mom included a  note fessing up a but also saying that since typing was not taught at that level it was unfair to us kids to expect us to a have access to a typewriter b- be able to type properly. Mom also made me take a typing course that summer
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geekette

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #67 on: January 19, 2013, 06:29:30 AM »
I'm not a parent, but I'm relaying what my experience as a kid was.
I was expected to do all my own homework and assignments. If I needed to go somewhere in order to get research materials (we had a limit on the number of online sources), I could ask to be driven, and I'd be given money for extra materials if they were required or I could give a good case to why I wanted to use them on my project. The only help I got on the actual content was asking my dad to proofread my final copies if he had time after work - mum can't proofread, and dad worked odd, long hours, so it was luck of the draw.

Geek-bro, however, had a lot of help. A lot. Sitting beside him and helping him to the research and write it up help. The reason for this, was if he didn't have someone sitting beside him telling him to do his assignment, Geek-bro just wouldn't do it. My parents tried the hands off approach with him in the earlier years, but that resulted in phonecalls home because he didn't hand in homework or assignments. They, and his teachers, tried all sorts of things to make him be more responsible, but no collaboration of their part had any effect - not even making him go to school during the summer to do his missed assignments made him do them on time the next semester.   A part of it was he'd forget -that's a side effect of ADD - but he's also incredibly lazy. As he got older my parents 'weaned' the help - from helping him do the content to just sitting next to him at specific periods of the week to do them - but if you didn't force him to the table to do his assignments, he still just wouldn't bother.  He's quite smart and entirely capable of doing well, so it was very frustrating for my parents.
They tried not scheduling time to sit and make sure he did his assignments when he was 14, and its true he did do all his assignments that year... But he started each and every one of them the day after they were due. All of them. They were advised they go back to scheduling time to sit down with him and watch him work again.


I've no doubt that if I needed that sort of attention to do my assignments, I'd have gotten it. But if we were just struggling with the content, my parents expected us to be able to use our own resources to handle it - and if not, speak to our teacher ourselves.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 06:40:46 AM by geekette »

SiotehCat

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #68 on: January 19, 2013, 02:56:36 PM »
Thanks for the replies everybody! Its so interesting to read everyones experiences.


Peregrine

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #69 on: January 19, 2013, 03:46:02 PM »
I am now a parent of a two year old, so this doesn't really affect me that much yet.

My parents helped out quite a bit as a kid, especially on those stupid shoe box dioramas, science fair stuff, and really any of the large scale projects.  Neither they, nor I at that age, saw the point of making a paper mache topographical map of the continent of Africa in order to learn the rivers....you memorized them and labeled them on a paper map and that was that.  So much of the large scale projects were (and I think still are) feel good busy work projects that the teachers can trot out to over eager administrators and anxious parents.

I can however, fully support a project that has you write a paper, give a small age appropriate talk with some sort of visual aid.....I just don't think it's necessary nor wise to give a lot of attention and kudos to the kid that does the 6X6 foot sugar cube pyramid and paper mache sphinx with the lousy written report, over the kid that does a poster and draws pictures of those same things, but has a thorough and well written report.  These types of projects have a real way of distinguishing the haves and the have nots in the class room, and it can be just as much of a way of showing off as a kid trotting into class with designer clothes and accessories.

I realize not all kids were like me and some may have actually got something out of those projects, but the way they were assigned, overseen, and graded made them a real hassle and not something that I'm keen to repeat with my kids.  In elementary school, if there is an assignment that comes home that doesn't make sense, I would probably call the teacher, and or principal and opt my kid out of a project that was out of proportion for the topic it was supposed to be teaching.

SiotehCat

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #70 on: January 19, 2013, 05:51:16 PM »
I am now a parent of a two year old, so this doesn't really affect me that much yet.

My parents helped out quite a bit as a kid, especially on those stupid shoe box dioramas, science fair stuff, and really any of the large scale projects.  Neither they, nor I at that age, saw the point of making a paper mache topographical map of the continent of Africa in order to learn the rivers....you memorized them and labeled them on a paper map and that was that.  So much of the large scale projects were (and I think still are) feel good busy work projects that the teachers can trot out to over eager administrators and anxious parents.

I can however, fully support a project that has you write a paper, give a small age appropriate talk with some sort of visual aid.....I just don't think it's necessary nor wise to give a lot of attention and kudos to the kid that does the 6X6 foot sugar cube pyramid and paper mache sphinx with the lousy written report, over the kid that does a poster and draws pictures of those same things, but has a thorough and well written report.  These types of projects have a real way of distinguishing the haves and the have nots in the class room, and it can be just as much of a way of showing off as a kid trotting into class with designer clothes and accessories.

I realize not all kids were like me and some may have actually got something out of those projects, but the way they were assigned, overseen, and graded made them a real hassle and not something that I'm keen to repeat with my kids.  In elementary school, if there is an assignment that comes home that doesn't make sense, I would probably call the teacher, and or principal and opt my kid out of a project that was out of proportion for the topic it was supposed to be teaching.

I feel the same way.

For me, its important that my DS really know and understand the lessons being taught in school. Everything else isn't so important to me.
So, I had no problem writing his title, because I know he knows how to write a title. He came up with the title, so if I had to work that night, he could have written it himself. Working on these projects together is just more fun.

When I asked if I was doing too much, I meant compared to other parents.

CakeEater

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #71 on: January 19, 2013, 06:33:46 PM »
I am now a parent of a two year old, so this doesn't really affect me that much yet.

My parents helped out quite a bit as a kid, especially on those stupid shoe box dioramas, science fair stuff, and really any of the large scale projects.  Neither they, nor I at that age, saw the point of making a paper mache topographical map of the continent of Africa in order to learn the rivers....you memorized them and labeled them on a paper map and that was that.  So much of the large scale projects were (and I think still are) feel good busy work projects that the teachers can trot out to over eager administrators and anxious parents.

I can however, fully support a project that has you write a paper, give a small age appropriate talk with some sort of visual aid.....I just don't think it's necessary nor wise to give a lot of attention and kudos to the kid that does the 6X6 foot sugar cube pyramid and paper mache sphinx with the lousy written report, over the kid that does a poster and draws pictures of those same things, but has a thorough and well written report.  These types of projects have a real way of distinguishing the haves and the have nots in the class room, and it can be just as much of a way of showing off as a kid trotting into class with designer clothes and accessories.

I realize not all kids were like me and some may have actually got something out of those projects, but the way they were assigned, overseen, and graded made them a real hassle and not something that I'm keen to repeat with my kids.  In elementary school, if there is an assignment that comes home that doesn't make sense, I would probably call the teacher, and or principal and opt my kid out of a project that was out of proportion for the topic it was supposed to be teaching.

As a teacher,  I completely agree. I fail to see how dioramas, models, etc that require significant purchasing of equipment are helpful for all kids. That said, some kids love them and find them engaging and help them to learn the materials. I always tried to provide opportunities for kids who wanted to do that sort of thing without requiring that the others did it as well.

The only time I ever assigned work that required parents to buy and assist with making something was a project decided on by all the other teachers of my grade level the year before I arrived at a new school, and it was a complete disaster in every way. I generally made all the necessary equipment/resources available at school, and if kids wanted to extra, they could. It was rarely for extra marks though.

Art and craft belong in art lessons, not graded in other subjects.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #72 on: January 19, 2013, 07:46:11 PM »
I very much want my DD to do her own work, but expectations are getting out of line.  We just got a three-page packet detailing the requirements for an upcoming Social Studies Fair - a tri-fold board, research on your chosen topic (book, web research, interview) a detailed drawing, a craft box filled with tools, a write up of your research, it goes on and on.

DD is five.  In Kindergarten.  She can't even read the instructions, never mind follow them independently, and I very much doubt she will understand enough of the process to benefit (and yes, this will be coming up in the parent/teacher meetings this week).

So clearly we will be helping quite a bit.  The most annoying part - the line at the bottom explaining that since the children don't actually get a social studies grade, the grading rubric (yes, the added-up-to-100-points grading rubric) doesn't really mean anything.

And believe it or not, this school was very carefully vetted.  You wouldn't believe what the other nearby schools expected preschoolers to do.

That is insane. I'd be ticked. It's as bad as that school that made headlines because it assigned homework to the parents and the child's grade suffered if the parents didn't complete their assignments.
I agree it is nuts.  I see it as marketing tool for future students.  Parents come tour the school and they show off the fabulous work the K kids are already doing to justify their inflated tuition.  The touring parents aren't thinking "oh, crap.  Will I be up till 2am finishing a kindergarten school project?"   They see the projects and think the school is full of young geniuses. 

Bijou

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #73 on: January 19, 2013, 07:55:57 PM »
I am happy to see if I can help them gather things, at their request, (glue, fabric, paper, whatever to put it together) but they are on their own doing the school projects.  I have two grand kids who would come to the house and do projects and they did them on their own.  I remember my grandson had to do a miniature of a fort, and he used different boxes, all his own ideas, and didn't want any help at all (His mom told me about it.  That was one he didn't do at my house).  Projects done together are the ones just for fun. 
When my granddaughter was very small she did a diorama of a building that had a dumb waiter in it and she rigged one up.  Brilliant! 
They're teenagers now and I miss those art sessions we used to have.
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Sharnita

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Re: Question about childrens school projects.
« Reply #74 on: January 19, 2013, 08:04:23 PM »
See, in my experience the pressure come from the top. Administrators swoon over those things and so they might walk into your room and hear an informed discussion of the content but if they don't see evidence of a recent project they are.DISPLEASED. And group work is the best work - especially tricky in a population where somebody different is always absent from each group.