That is one of the latest accomplishments of Winter Break at my household. It is a cut-away of the earth depicting the four layers that exist within our planet. The yellow is the core, the green is the liquid outer core, the red is the mantle and the thin brown layer is the crust. The blue outer covering represents the water that covers our planet and the green represents the land masses.
Pretty cool science project for a sixth grader, don't you think? Except it's not for his science class...it's for his english class. Here's the assignment: After reading a nonfiction book, create a toy that is based on the content of the book. The toy is supposed to be something similar to what you could find at a museum gift shop. I think the oldest's project fits the bill pretty well. He has a key that goes along with it and everything. My only beef with the project is the fact that the kid didn't read a word of the book he's basing this "toy" on. He looked through the book, found a diagram similar to what he created today and decided what he wanted to do. There's no part of this project that causes him to prove he actually read the book at all.
As an educator, I understand the importance of setting up lessons that touch all the different levels of intelligence as well as the importance of cross-curricular lessons. But this project has very little to do with english. It didn't improve his ability to write sentences, it didn't challenge him to read and then interpret the theme of a book...it was easy, time consuming and quite honestly kind of expensive. The worst part is, I've read the rubric with the boy and he's gone above and beyond the expectations for this project. He's done what he needs to do...
...and he did this one all himself. He selected the book, he picked the project type, he decided what he wanted to do and he did it. I offered a number of suggestions and he rejected them all. The only thing he didn't do for this project was use the knife to actually cut the section of earth out of the styrofoam ball. I did that part, but only for safety issues. He's really proud of himself on this one, his little sister has been admiring the project for most of the afternoon and dad is happy it's completed way before the due date of January 11th.
I just wish it had something to do with english...
So, the break is over. In less than 12 hours, I'll be talking to first bell, passing out their IA's and showing them their updated grades and moving on with the rest of what we have to accomplish this quarter.
4:45 am is going to be awfully early...and it's gonna be chilly tomorrow too. And, I kinda missed my kids at PHS, so I'm okay with going back.
We'll see how it feels tomorrow.