February 18, 2008

Rant on 5th Grade Art Projects for Reading, Take #1005.

I’m going to rant again about 5th grade.

And the art projects.

For book reports.

I so frickin’ hate this. I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it.

‘We’ just finished making a miniature parade float for Abraham Lincoln. Mr. T had to create this float based on reading about a President and putting specific information on it.

OK. What do I hate most about these art projects? No way in hell can a kid do them by themselves. The requirements are too… weird and difficult.

For instance, this one had to be made of natural materials. Making a float dealing with a President wasn’t a big enough pain. It has to be made of mainly natural materials.

So Mr. T wanted to make a log cabin. He got out yarn and twigs and thought he’d be able to make it that way. Right.

Kids don’t understand what WILL and WILL NOT work. Add to the fact they get this picture in their mind and frustration ensues when they can’t create it.

Mom and Dad end up stepping up to the plate to assist. I never make it MY project, but he certainly has not done one of these without my guidance.

Then there is the grading. What may look to her as in ‘You spent 10 minutes” can in actuality be hours and hours of failed versions, ending with one that finally took. NONE of that is accounted for.

The last project, he spent literally 5 hours on, cutting and pasting, and doing all sorts of stuff to be ‘creative’ as they always say to be ‘creative’ and he got an 80 because she didn’t like parts of it.

Each time he finishes one of these projects he says to me wistfully, “I hope I get an A”.

How screwed up is that?! The kid reads the book, puts HOURS into a project and then goes to bed praying that he has done it all right so that he can get an A.

And if he doesn’t get an A this time… I’m marching in to talk to his teacher. This is an absolute crock.

I’m done. I.Am.Done.

And from this I learned... Abe Lincoln didn't have a middle name. I feel as smart as a 5th grader now.

School project.jpg

Posted by Boudicca at February 18, 2008 10:50 PM | TrackBack

Oh, amen sister! A-men!

We had to build a log cabin in fourth grade... as a book report.
Screw that.
I have a boy who loves to read, but now hates to read for school because he afraid of being hit over the head with an absurd art project in the end.

Here's your reward!

You nailed it, Bou.
Your post dredged up all the frustration and confusion all over again.


Posted by: Roses at February 18, 2008 11:03 PM

That's not education. That's torture and busy work. They tell us teachers to assign crap like this to include those whose learning styles are more hands-on... but those kids often don't care and don't do them anyway, and the others are left holding the shoeboxes and popsicle sticks in a frantic effort to please some teacher whose subjective opinions weigh heavily on a child's future.

Yes, I'm a teacher. I'm an art teacher, however, and we do all our projects in the classroom. My students have enough homework in their other classes.

But I have three other children, ages 13, 12 and 8, and I have to agree with you -- pointless busy work is not appreciated in our house. There's so little free time as it is; don't eff-up our lives with unnecessaries. :)

Sorry for the reciprocal rant... LOL

Posted by: GradualDazzle at February 18, 2008 11:23 PM

Agree with your rant. But please pass my compliments to your son - the project turned out great from my perspective. Unnecessary and pointless, yes, but he did a very nice job. I give him an A+.

Posted by: jck at February 19, 2008 01:40 AM

I so frickin’ hate this. I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it.

I hear you, I hear you, I hear you! Cut the busy work! They learn more from free time playing outdoors!

Posted by: Peggy U at February 19, 2008 03:07 AM

I hear you, but this project turned out GREAT! If she doesn't give him an A I'll be very shocked! And ready to make the drive if you need backup...! ;)

Posted by: pam at February 19, 2008 08:13 AM

I don't understand how a teacher can grade creativity.

Everyone has their own perspective.

They can grade on elements, did they have them all, follow directions, etc.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at February 19, 2008 09:31 AM

Shades of yesteryear. I so remember that kind of crap, although my kids didn't get nearly so much of it. And like Gradualdazzle said - the kids they are accommodating with these things just don't do it anyway.

No way should a parent have to take that kind of time to help a kid do project after project. (who is in school here!) Not only that - but the work is supposed to be reading the book and doing a report - the "art" should be extra if they want to do it. ARGGGG!!!!

We've got your back - yell if you need reinforcements!

Posted by: Teresa at February 19, 2008 06:29 PM

you can always ask to see her rubric- the list of criteria by which she grades those projects. Then make her show/tell you what could have been better. Then maybe next time she'll give out the rubric before the project is due so that every one knows how its graded...

Posted by: holder at February 19, 2008 06:58 PM