Monday, 26 March 2012

Homework project

My daughter is only 6 and has had her first project work to do over a 2 week period.  As part of the numeracy course she has to produce a booklet based on the Mr Men character Mr Noisy. Therefore the work involved is about different kinds of sounds and there would be prizes for some of the best booklets chosen by the teacher.

When I received the notice about this homework I thought that the kids are a bit young to be doing project work like this, surely the teacher can't expect too much from them.  The advice given was to think of as many different types of sounds as possible and group them together, e.g. musical instruments, body sounds, sounds you like/dislike, and put the ideas into a booklet.

My daughter was extremely enthusiastic about this initially, and the first idea that we came up with was "noisy things at home".  With that in mind, we got out the Argos catalogue and my daughter proceeded to search for things that would make a noise, e.g. washing machine, microwave, kettle, toaster, etc. After all that sticking, gluing and subsequent writing she decided that she was bored of it and didn't want to do anymore.  The next couple of days was a battle to get her to do anything further in the production of this "booklet".  At this rate, all she would be handing in would be a single sheet of paper and to me that was clearly not good enough.  She needed to put more effort into it.

Over a further two days I was constantly thinking about the project and the ways in which I could make it more interesting for her.  In the end I came up with the idea of making it a fun activity by creating various puzzles.  The thought crossed my mind that it would be mostly my work and the teacher would definitely be able to tell but at least my daughter would have some input by attempting to solve the puzzles herself, and she would in the end have something more substantial to hand in.

I therefore proceeded to copy and paste various animal pictures from the computer's clip art in one column and type out the animal names and sounds in the next two columns in random order.  The idea was for her to to draw a line from the animal to its name and then link it to the sound that it made.  She found this extremely fun and wanted more.  So over the week I produced various similar puzzles, including a crossword, wordsearch and a spot the difference, the latter taking me a total of about 5hrs to make over 2 days.  I also made sure that she had her own further input by getting her to create mind maps of sounds that she like and disliked.

In the end she really enjoyed doing the project work and it ended up being about 15 pages worth of work and was happy to hand it in.  I also discovered that I had a tremendous time helping to make this booklet and really enjoyed myself - it was fun for me too!!

When my daughter handed in the project I didn't expect her to receive anything for it but as it turns out she did!  Most of the other children came out with standard paper certificates congratulating them on their hard and some of the others had received special laminated and coloured versions.  To my astonishment my daughter came out with one of the laminated ones which congratulated her for the most interactive booklet.  I spoke to the teacher and said that I had not expected my daughter to receive this special certificate because I had done most of the work.  She responded by saying that was irrelevant because the point was that she got involved and we both did it together.  She had clearly shown a keen interest in the subject and could not stop talking about when the kids had to show their work to the class.

My daughter did win a chocolate |Easter bunny as well but when she put it to one side in the classroom, apparently one of the other children smashed it out of spite. The teacher had an inkling who that might have been and she generously gave my daughter another one the next day.  She in turn then shared it with her lovely!!

Next project - the Easter bonnet!!

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