Monday, October 6, 2008

School Projects

I am not feeling very charitable towards Junior High teachers right now. I have a fairly short list of things I absolutely detest. Right near the top is school projects (sorry if I offend any teachers out there) and at the top of the detestable school projects list lies diaramas (closely followed by the slugs we've been finding outside lately). I thought we'd had our fill in elementary school, but I was wrong. Spencer has had two projects assigned. He's had a choice, to some extent, on both. What does he choose? Diaramas, of course. Did I mention I detest them? I realize that, since he had some choice, it's not all the teachers' fault and I should not direct all my unkind thoughts in their direction. I am mentally sending some of my frustration in Spencer's direction, but who assigned the projects in the first place? Hence, the uncharitable feelings towards the teachers. And, to be fair, the German teacher is getting the majority of those thoughts.

The first is a project in English on a book he read. He's choosing to do a diarama of a canister falling out of an airplane with two people and a dog holding onto it. I'm stomaching it. He wants to carve the plane out of foam, etc, etc, etc. Fine. He's outside with a plastic knife and some planter foam as I type.

The second project is for German. It is worth 100 points. The helpful guidelines state that a simple project will take 1-2 hours and be worth 25 points. A complex project should take 6-10 hours and is worth 100-150 points. Spencer wants the extra credit, so we're going complex. Do the headaches and griping count as project time? The teacher sent home a list of 29 suggestions. They include obvious things like Choose an animate object and describe it in German. That, at least, fits into a German class theme. Or, "Convert a recipe to German or find a recipe in German and translate it to English. Then use it." Ideas 11-29 have the instructions, "In the ideas below, take the concept and apply it to German." Good Luck. Number 13 says "When does a fisherman use math? What does it affect?" Number 14 says, "How about advertising?" How about number 21- "Use Patty Paper to show the Pythagorean theorem or a tessellation." And my personal favorite: "Is math/algebra used in shoe design? What things change the geometry and design as the shoes get larger for bigger feet? Is there a perfect shoe size from a designer's stand point?" All of those things are obviously German related. Can you tell that the German teacher also teaches math? I'm thinking someone didn't want to come up with seperate projects for seperate classes. I realize everyone's time is precious, but come on!

Spencer, of course, has decided for his German project that he wants to build a 3-D model of a German town. A complex diarama, ahhhhh! I asked which German town, because I think he thinks there are cookie-cutter towns all over Germany and they all look the same. He thought he might like to do HAMBURG except it MIGHT be a little too big. Ya think! I'm liking the recipe idea or maybe number 26- "Make and fly a kite". Maybe we could shape it like Germany or something.

I have griped. I have vented. I feel somewhat better. I am still a little torqued, but I think I will live. Dumb (ok, I'm not all the way better) German project is due in 10 days. English project is due on the 24th. Spencer has 7 classes at school. What are the chances we'll be done with projects on the 24th? Not so good. You know it's a frustrating afternoon when you wish it was summer vacation.


Jenny said...

Um, I'll take my life over yours today. The only creativity I have to come up with is how to keep myself and the kids entertained, and decide what to feed us. Good luck!

The Lahr's said...

I hear you shannon, Liz comes home every night with Extra credit math for 6th grade-ALGEBRA- yup guesswho stays up for 2 hours and helps her learn 10 number order of operations equations....yeah real fun!And the ferris wheel diorama
she HAD to make with ONE day notice for the Deerfield Fair yeah I totally feel your pain!
More power to you. I guess our blessing would be that it is a good thing we have smart kids right :)

Baby Oven said...

Shan you have my deepest sympathies! I am not dealing with that right now but I know one day I will. Good luck, maybe Spence should do something productive like write the missionaries letters entirely in German or sew German leiderhosen (sp?) and wear it for Halloween. Just a thought

Shannon said...

baby oven-

I passed along the suggestion for lederhosen and it was not well received, partly because Spencer wasn't sure what those were. Greg and I explained, but that didn't change the decision. Thanks for the input, though!

Shannon said...

The Lahr's (Sandy!)-

At least we did get 10 days notice. One night for a ferris wheel would have really ________ (fill in with your favorite expression!). Somedays I wonder how my parents got us all through school without blowing a gasket!

kyleandbeth said...

AMEN on the diaramas! I also despise them. They were invented by someone that is more artistically inclined than I am to make those that are as artistically retarded as me feel inferior. I am all for the math options, though. I bet "translating" numbers into German from English might be considered in the simple category.

Keith and Nicci said...

Coming from a former teacher herself, those projects sound absolutely ridiculous (I am proud to say that none of my students ever completed a diorama:), and it does seem pretty obvious this German teacher was "multitasking assignments." I know teachers are swamped (man, that was cruddy), but there really is no excuse for that, especially at the junior high level when teachers can focus on only 1 or 2 different subjects, unlike elementary school teachers who teach all of them.

Feeling for ya.

Tim and Katy Glemser said...

Ha ha ha! I was busting up with laughter over this post Shannon! Oh dear, we miss you guys a lot. It's so fun reading about your adventures. Good luck with the diaramas...although I totally was the kid in elementary school who thought diaramas were the coolest thing ever. Then again, that was in elementary school. You are dealing with junior high diarama obsession. Have fun!

Heidi said...

It just goes to show that the comments "Mom's almost done with our project" is true! They won't do it without you standing right there watching/helping them. Hang in there! I'll watch for any good coupons for ya:)