kitchen table math, the sequel: projects we have known and loved

Friday, June 11, 2010

projects we have known and loved

from Barry Garelick:
Not only is the tissue box assignment real, but elsewhere in her book Katharine talks about how in language classes, kids have to make posters about their family. My daughter had to do a family tree chart with photos for her Spanish class. The teacher lost the poster, and called my daughter at home to ask her to do another one, and said it was important for her grade. (!!) My daughter, who didn't like the assignment to begin with was infuriated to have to do it again, and all because the teacher had lost the first one. The sadder aspect of all this is parents get drawn in to the "this project is worth a lot of points for your grade" type thinking, and are afraid to make waves by telling the teacher that the student is NOT going to do this; please give an alternative assignment.

For English class in 8th grade, the teacher gave the students a choice of projects for Lord of the Flies. One was a standard book report. Others included designing a T shirt about the book. My daughter hated the alternatives and chose writing the book report. And she is not fond of writing!

I'm reading Katharine's book right now and have nothing but praise for it. I am going to recommend it to several teachers I know at George Mason's ed school. I really think it should be required reading.


ChemProf said...

See, the lost assignment thing is something that really bugs me about K-12. My general chemistry class has three lecture sections (with three different instructors) and seven lab sections. A student from any lecture section can be in any lab section, so we have to coordinate scores for some 90 students across 10 different classes. Things get lost. I have asked students to reprint something they turned in, but if somehow they don't have the file, I'll always figure something out (average in a lab report, something!) It is so disrespectful of student time to ask them to redo an assignment when it is the instructor's error. I guess that is the thing -- they don't respect student (or parental!) time at all.

Barry Garelick said...

Not only did she not respect my daughter's time (on a ridiculous assignment), but she pulled a scare tactic by telling her that her grade may be in jeopardy.

Catherine Johnson said...

There was a terrific line in the WSJ recently, something like: 'Time is the most precious nonrenewable resource we have.'

Public schools treat parent (& student) time as if it is the opposite: an infinite resource to be spent at will.