Friday, May 22, 2009

Kitty Kampaign

(Please forgive using a "K" in place of a "C." I couldn't help myself.)

One evening while at the grocery store we called home to see if the kids needed anything. One of them said, "No, only a kitty. But we've got that covered."

We came home to their strategic campaign for another cat. On the windows, on the bathroom mirrors, taped to our night stands, put on the railing for the stairs were pictures and posters advertising and pleading for another cat.

Some examples:

PS. Contrary to what one of the posters implies, I had nothing to do with these posters.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Honoring Night

After the 5th grade students have presented their projects to their classmates they are honored, along with their mentors at a special night at the school. Each child sets up their poster boards and stands to answer questions from other parents and visitors.

The program gives the mentors an opportunity to speak of the students strengths and abilities. I loved watching these kids stand confidently listening to their mentors praise them.

For many of them, completing the paper and presenting to their classmates stretched them far outside of their personal comfort zones. But they did it! Each one had every right to be proud of his or her hard work and accomplishments. I know that I was bursting with pride for all of them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother of the Year!

After all these years of hard, thankless work, the world has finally realized how incredibly awesome I really am! Click on this link to see just how great I am!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

PCCS Honor's Project

An important part of the 5th grade experience at Prairie Creek Community School is the Honor's Project. As a progressive school, much of the student's studies are emergent, integrated, experiential and student-driven. As a kind of "capstone" project, the children are to select a mentor, choose a topic, research it and present it in 4 different ways: a written paper, an oral presentation, a poster board, and a "doing" component where they engage the other students. As a kind of joke we said that Emma had to "defend her 5th grade thesis." It really is a big deal, and an incredible accomplishment.

Emma chose for her topic "Ancient China" and a friend from our church was her mentor. She chose this topic because she had studied other ancient cultures and now wanted to know more; she was fascinated by pictures she had seen. I realized at the beginning that she was probably "biting off more than she could chew" and would need a lot of involvement from her mentor and from me.

Early on we developed a pattern that worked for us. Seeing the project as a learning experience, we read the books together and talked about what was useful information and notecard worthy. Sometimes I read aloud; sometimes Emma read. She wrote out some of the notecards or dictated to me what she wanted written. After we'd read a few books, we made a mind map of the topics. After we'd read all of the books we made a "road map" for the paper. (For a young mind, the traditional outline with Roman numerals and letters didn't make sense.)

As we began the paper, Emma sorted out her notecards into the various topics. She quickly learned that not all of the information fit nicely into her paper and would need to be omitted. She also found that gaps in information meant more research. As with the notecards, some of the paper was written in Emma's own hand and some was dictated to me. I did very little editing except to occasionally say, "That's a bad sentence. Try it again."

I was very proud of Emma's project. I felt she learned so much not only about ancient China but how to research and compile information. She learned how to plan and pace herself. She learned that she can work longer and harder than she thought she could.