Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dear First Grade...

I would like to start by saying that I appreciate your challenging curriculum for my daughter, as I want to start this note as passive aggressively as I can and butter you up before I tell you how much you suck.

Her first report card was so wonderful and just about perfect except where you said that "she needs to work on her presentation skills." I beg to differ. She is in first grade and I really don't care about her presentation skills nor will I make her practice.

Now I know that it is our fault for signing her up for the gifted and talented program and all, and I know she is brilliant. In fact just yesterday when I left her for a few moments by my running car, I came back to find her behind my car breathing in the "pretty smoke" - brilliant I tell ya and gifted on top of that.

When other parents at this school share about 6 year old Johny's 5th grade math brilliance, I first throw up in my mouth because I don't care, and I don't share her 6th grade reading ability - I share the exhaust story...because that is FUNNY and I really don't like talking about my kid in a gifted way. That is weird and wrong.

So, first grade, when we received in December, the "Culture Heritage" project that said:

"Research and write a report and prepare a 10 minute presentation about something special about your ancestry, a family custom or story. Be creative and make sure the student does the research and writing."

..I became unglued. First Grade??? Research? Report? Presentation??? And furthermore, I can appreciate her fellow classmates that are 2nd and even 1st generation Americans and I want to listen to their reports...but for us mutts with kids who have like 14 countries of origin, I am grasping at straws here to get 10 minutes of interesting content. But why should I worry, it is not like I have to do the work or anything.

"We" chose Scotland as that is where we were married and we both have some Scottish back there...but really we are no more Scottish than the Pope is Chinese. Really.

This is pretty much how the student directed report went:

Me "Okay Eloise, here are some Countries and family stories that you can choose from to write about.."

Eloise "How long is this going to take?"

Me "Until we are done. I was thinking about Scotland and you can talk about your last name and when your parents were married."

Eloise "Do you think I will have time to still ice skate today?"

Me "So, here is how I am thinking we will assemble the poster board."

Eloise "Can Esther do the gluing?"

Skipping to the end of a LONG day...
Me "Now I have all of the content prepared - you just need to finish assembling the poster board, copy what I have written in your own script and practice and learn what I did here."

Eloise "Why does Morrison have 2 r's. Is the 2nd one really necessary?"

In conclusion, First Grade, as much as I appreciated this lesson and all, and in as much as I know my child is brilliant and in as much as I know that we signed up for this, it sucks and they are NOT ready for this and as a parent - I went to school already and I don't want to spend my Sundays doing this when there is a perfectly good ice rink out back for me to perfect my waltz jump. Olympic trials are coming soon.

Warmly in brilliance,
Eloise's Mom


Mathmom and family said...


Really, I can't add more than that. Let's keep it real. 1st graders to not research and write reports. At least make it a family assignment and be honest about what is going on.

Kristi Pohl said...

Lucky her teacher doesn't read your blog, or you could be in trouble....hey, the fun has only just begun!

Wendy said...

I so agree - it is so obvious that they expect the parents to do these reports. We participated in a science fair and it was so obvious that the parents did all the work - and yes, they were also rewarded by winning the prizes. Makes steam come out of my ears.

Rachelle said...

Fully agree with you sista. I've been through school and do not want to have to do it again. Very lofty assignments for such youngsters. I do see her brilliance shining through with the "why do we need two r's" statement. Cute!

Jen said...

TEN MINUTES?! Holy wowza--that is a LONG time for a 1st grader to give a presentation!!!

Michelle said...

I'm totally laughing at this!

jill R said...

Just wait until you, I mean Eloise, gets to do her science fair project :-/ I am counting the days until my next child is expected to participate in this hallowed event.

I am thoroughly convinced if the competitive parents would let their kids do their own projects all by themselves, the teachers would lower their project expectations. As it is, us normal parents are drug into these projects because they are way beyond what a child that age can really handle and there's just no way they can complete what is expected from them any other way.

Tracy said...

Yep, Science Fair due February 4th - I told them NO and we are entering NOTHING and I do not feel one.bit.bad about it...lol

colored pencilgrandma said...

Good for you Tracy, not participating in the Science Fair. Having taught K-2nd grade for a long time and yes I did have HIand slower kiddos but I have gone to many, many workshops and attended many reg. school classes and many gifted programs at this level and this teacher is ridiculous. It can NEVER be a child's project with the types of assignments she is giving. She should be a teacher in the higher grades. Much MUCH literature is written about stress and pushing kids too hard. Kids need time to play and create their own projects, with minimal help from home, on their own. I would tone down your blog and send it to the teacher. Your points are very well made. I'll bet if you polled other parents they would feel the same way, just afraid to speak up. A good teacher would appreciate hearing from you and if she doesn't she is a poor teacher. Gifted, "smifted," there are ways to give reports, fun ways, other than through formal presentations. I took classes in formal presentation in high school and college NOT in 1st grade. Tell the teacher to give YOU an A+++ for spending so much time and effort working on the project with your child at home. Tell the teacher to embrace and encourage Eloise's giftedness by age appropriate challenges. A burned out learner is not a happy future learner.Amen.

One ticked off grandma exteacher.

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