Monday, October 01, 2007

First Stupid Project of the Year

Today my son doesn't have any math, reading, or writing homework. Instead, he has to do a fire prevention poster, due by Friday.

The poster will be graded on creativity and neatness.

I am still trying to decide if I should question the assignment or literally have him shut up and color.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rory,

Here's my response when the kids bring home a crazy crayola project: I put a post-it note on the assignment with a note that kindly says "I'm so sorry, but (child's name) won't be completing this project. Instead, he/she will (insert age-appropriate assignment here, like writing a short paragraph on fire prevention, for example). If you would like to discuss this issue, don't hesitate to call me. Thanks!" Then I call other parents in the class and ask them to do the same thing. Usually at least a few are emboldened knowing that they won't be "the only ones." (Imagine how great it would be if more parents stood up!)

Proposing an alternative assignment is key; teachers need to know that you're not just trying to punt for your kid. The other key is keeping it polite and friendly.

At first my kids were mortified (and afraid of the ramifications). But it's led to some good discussions (at home and at school) over what is important about education. And so far (knock on wood), no teacher has retaliated against the kids or downgraded them for their alternative project. (Of course, they think I'm an absolute pain in the ___, but that's a small price to pay.)

Now my kids actually nip those ridiculous projects in the bud themselves the moment they get the handout. As 9th and 6th graders, they're "actively taking charge of their own learning" -- although I'm sure that's not how the school imagined it would happen!

Good luck, Rory. You're obviously a straight-talker (and obviously not a wilting flower) -- it'll work out no matter what you decide to do. But I'd think that the sooner you shut down these projects, the better! After all, silence can be interpreted as agreement...

Cheryl vT from Singapore

KevinKillion said...

Here's more on goofy projects and the "Crayola curriculum":

-- Kevin Killion

Anonymous said...

Be creative. Have him burn/char one of the edges just a bit. Help him to do this to prevent burning down the house.

-Mark Roulo

rightwingprof said...

So is this for firefighting class?

rightwingprof said...

Oh. And see here.

sexy said...


Anonymous said...

as an art teacher who teaches Fire Prevention for the last 17 years, the poster should never go home. It should be taught within the classroom as a unit not just to have a poster created. It is a big competition in our area. Fire Prevention units have a direct effect on the number of fires in the area. In our area, the number of fire calls have gone down and I truly believe it is due to the education of the students about fire safety.