My first grader came home with his first “research” project for school in honor of Black History Month. We took a look at his rubric and the historical person assigned to him by his teacher. Immediately, the over planner, brain injured, OCD part of me quickly began brain storming all of the wonderful things we could do for this project. His historical person accomplished so many incredible things, this could quite possibly be the best project in the history of first grade! Then I stopped. This is what happens. When all of my friends are posting these incredible, super elaborate projects that their kids “completed” .. this is how it starts. They take control of the assignment and don’t focus on the biggest lesson here.. letting the student complete it!
I absolutely love my son’s teacher. She is amazing, caring, and pretty much everything you could hope to have in a teacher. But besides her having the perfect personality to handle 6 and 7 year olds for 5 days a week, she is laying an incredible academic foundation for her students. They receive homework almost every night, and are expected to complete weekly reading logs. Each student is assigned a day for “Show and Share” every week. Its not necessarily about the content, but more about the process. She is getting them in the habit of completing their homework each night. It may only take 5 minutes to complete, but its building consistency. They are learning PRESENTATION skills .. seriously, being able to talk in front of the class once a week and present the item you brought into school. Then offer to answer any questions or comments from your classmates. These are all vital skills to a successful academic career, and my son is learning them in FIRST GRADE.
As you can imagine, the pressure was ON with this project. To be completely honest, it was a personal struggle not to completely take over, cut straighter lines, add more color, rearrange the information so it was more aesthetically appealing, and rename titles. But I stayed strong, took deep breaths, and watched as my son gathered his information and created a project he was proud of and ready to show off!
At the end of the day, I was not only proud of myself for letting him stay in control, but I was proud of HIM. I helped him with the research part, but he had his own vision of what his project would look like and how he would share the information. When his poster board was filled with photos and writing, I looked at his face beaming with pride gazing at his hard work. Hopefully this great exercise in self control will help me in the future as he brings home other projects, and also contribute to the self confidence he’s building in his creativity and research skills!