Lisa and I spent a big chunk of the weekend putting together her project on Troödons. The project was to pick an animal (prehistoric, African or endangered), find two sources of information (book, magazine, internet, encyclopedia, dvd, etc.) and write a report. These were the full instructions for a grade 2 project.
We approached it a little backwards by first seeing what sources of information we had on our own bookshelves, then picking the animal. Lisa’s very analytical approach to picking an animal was looking in the dinosaur book we have, noticing that the Troödon has an umlaut (the two dots over the o) in its name [as does Lisa’s real name], then… well, that’s it. That was the extent of the selection process. As good a reason as any, I suppose.
I clearly remember kids bringing in projects in the younger grades that seemed so polished, well beyond the talents of a primary grade student. I would hand in my lame little project with pictures cut out from a magazine or hand-drawn, little labels printed by me and a self-designed title page, bound with yarn. One project on the Olympics in grade 4 had me panicked that I would fail because it seemed so amateur compared to so many of the others. But, I didn’t fail. In fact, the mark given was A++. The teacher, Mrs. Snow, showed it to the class as an example of how the project should have been approached and how she knew that many of the projects had been done by parents, not students. Not that my parents didn’t help me. They helped me every step of the way, but the work was ultimately mine. Mrs. Snow’s lesson that day stuck with me.
So this weekend, Lisa and I worked side-by-side, culling the pertinent facts from our sources, searching colouring books for good pictures to include (like a cute little frog to show what the dinosaur ate), and deciding in what order the construction paper pages should be bound. Lisa had some awesome ideas. My favourite was to show the size of the dinosaur’s tooth by making a diagram that showed the juxtaposition of the Troödon’s tooth and her own tooth. She also used glitter glue to make the title page “extra special”, as only a 7-year-old girl can do.
At the end of the day, that kid knows all there is to know about Troödons and she is extremely proud of her project. I’m hoping we... I mean she gets an A.