Sunday, January 27, 2013

100th day of school project.

Another first for us as parents, we had no idea the 100th day of school was such a big deal. We received notification about the major occasion our daughter was to celebrate for the first time. The big day is Friday, February 1st.  The parents were asked to bring certain food items (except peanuts) for the kids to make a 100 trail mix with ten of each food item. We have never heard of trail mix without peanuts, but what the heck. Since Friday is so far away, the kids were to keep their alleged enthusiasm in check by working on a 100th Day project. But nothing is easy in the competitive, serious world of kinder.  The children were asked to make a poster (but only half a poster board could be used, due to space restrictions) with ten separate groups of identical items.  The items would then be labeled in increments of ten. Oh gosh, how cute is that? Not.  Seemed pretty straight forward and easy, until we read the last sentence. No food items. Say what?  Food items are the staple of elementary school projects.  Case in point, SS's cool turkey project, adorned with macaroni, rice and pinto beans.  What initially had the potential of a fun project quickly turned into a pain in the neck.  We waited until today because we are the worst procrastinators we wanted to work on it as a family. Another thing that has changed is that school projects are now family projects. Apparently the teachers have given up on expecting children to work on their own. As luck would have it P was sick, spent most of the morning and early afternoon in bed. But as a good Baba he sucked it up and joined in the fun.

First a hearty brunch for SS, to get her ready for the rigors ahead. There is a reason for the crappy, plastic cover on the table.

Once her tummy was full, SS tackled some of her homework.

I found SS in JJ's room with puzzle pieces in her shirt. Huh? She was supposed to be putting away her puzzles.  SS gathers all the pieces in her pouch, then dumps them in the bag. Cute girl, funky system.

Time to get to the project, first gather all the necessary materials. It was a real pain in the rear end to get all ten, but we managed.

There was cutting, pasting, and arranging. SS smeared glue all over, but we didn't care, all we had to do was throw the cover away.

More pasting and arranging.


SS's caterpillar to celebrate 100 days of torture school. It is bigger than the teacher would like, but we really do not care.  We used hearts, smiley face erasers, cake shaped confetti, Spiderman checkers, Hot Wheels stickers, clips, toothpicks, birthday candles, paper clips, and bobby pins.  The bobby pins came handy as antennas. SS was pleased with our collective effort, but felt that we did not contribute enough. We cut the circles, since SS still has difficulties with cutting.  But she was responsible for gluing them and the items, and somehow she found that unfair.  Too bad SS, your father and I already completed kindergarten, and back then we were on our own.  At least we helped. :)

Although trying to find non food items was inconvenient, once we had our items we had a great time working together. But it really bothered us that food items were not acceptable.  We would understand peanuts (allergies), perishable food, and even candy (ants). SS attends a Title I school, and that means that the majority of the families are low income. SS's project cost about $20 (go Dollar store), no big deal with only one child. But there are many families with more than one child in elementary school.  I ran into one of the class mothers at the store today, she has two kids, and was in shock that they could not use dry pasta, rice and beans. For that family that is a minimum of $40, on a silly school project. Now consider a family with multiple children, who also need to purchase diapers and formula. It's just incredibly short sighted not to think about the majority of your students.  E's mother and I were discussing this today, and she reminded me that Mrs. VP does not have children, and is a dual income couple.  We are aware that her husband is a successful contractor.  P joked than when you drive a Mercedes you are not particularly concerned about the financial circumstances of those around you.  He might be right on the money (OK, pun intended), but I just can't imagine not taking in consideration the lives of the children I work and have work with for fourteen years. Another thank you to Mami and Papi for making me aware. This parenting thing was a heck of a lot more fun before formal school entered our lives. 

P is going to have to take SS to school tomorrow. It's going to take a few days to get off my high horse.


Anonymous said...

The teacher might choose to have each child put 10 objects on a card provided. Groups of 10 cards could then be put together, by the class, to form 100s. This would be easier, less expensive, AND emphasize base 10, 10x10, etc.

During 30 years of teaching, including 8 in Kgn., I did not use food for projects like this. Many students got to eat only at school - sometimes nothing between free lunches. I did include food, e.g. oyster crackers, M&Ms in counting/math activities, but then we ate them.

I do understand why understand why parents and teachers want to use food, especially pasta.21

2china4S said...


I agree with the approach you provided, easier, less expensive and lesson learned. God food for thought about your reasons not to use food in the classroom. Wow, 30 years teaching, it is all I can do to get through homework with SS.