Friday, May 16, 2008

The Project

My son came home this week with a big assignment. He had to pick a country (Canada) and research it and then decide on a "project" that he could present that would graphically display six important facts. They told us we could do a poster or place mat or let our creativity go wild. This sounded like a challenge to me and there was no way I was going to help my son turn in something ORDINARY. He wanted to use clay as his medium and I suggested that we put the facts on a totem pole since he listed totem poles as something found in Canada. Perfect, right? I thought so. I bought some clay and then used a wrapping paper tube as our totem pole mold. Here is my preliminary sketch:

Now, at this point, some of you might be thinking that I'm one of those overbearing moms that take over their kids' assignments trying to compensate for a lack-luster school performance as a child but this is not the case! All these items where listed by my son in his research and I merely put them all together and supplied the inspiration. From this point on, he was in charge!

Well, not quite. I started slapping clay on the wrapping paper tube so that he could then add the embellishments. This took about an hour and by the time he came home from school I was ready to instruct him how to successfully add the final touches. Unfortunately at this point, the wrapping paper tube was saturated with moisture and starting to collapse. He very gingerly applied pieces to form the fish, blueberries and Caribou and used a pencil to carve out some details. We tried to preserve the structure by inserting a bat into the tube and then stringing it so it would stay straight. This is what we ended up with:

It started to crumble as it dried and there was no way to reconstruct it much less paint it, which was supposed to be the next step. This was Wednesday night and it was due on Friday. I began to panic. My son, however, did not feel any pressure whatsoever. I could've said, "screw it" at this point and pulled out some poster board. I'm sure my son wouldn't have minded. But no. I could not let go. I had to find some way to make it work! How did this turn out to be about me? I don't know! I am so aware that I am acting irrationally but I can't stop myself. It's like when my mom took over my serpent mound diorama and I turned in a work that was clearly not mine. The cycle is repeating.

I had an epiphany at his rookie league game on Wednesday and decided to recreate the totem pole using paper. I knew it would work! I had it elaborately planned out in my mind. When we got back from swimming lessons at 4:30 on Thursday afternoon, we immediately got to work. Here's the final result:

Not bad, huh? We actually did it together! OK, I cut out all the paper but he wrote all the words, embellished everything and glued it all on (with guidance of placement from me).....and he did learn his facts which was the whole point of this exercise. So there! I betcha no one else's project in first grade turned out this cool (I'm patting myself on the back right now with the knowledge that I'm more talented than a seven year old)!

1 comment:

David A. Davison said...

Kyle has a project due next week, what is your availability?