Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A Little Variety



We’ve been working on a big four-week project for Q-ster’s social studies class on family and ancestry. He completed a simple family tree and dressed a paper doll in a costume from his cultural background. We looked up Chinese clothing in wikipedia, and he cut out some of my scrap brocade fabric to look more or less like a changshan.

The next big piece was writing about a family tradition.  This was a bit tricky.  The instructions said that it could be any kind of a tradition, not necessarily a holiday, but the supporting questions – What kind of clothes do you wear for this tradition? What kinds of foods do you eat for this tradition? – really leaned towards selecting a holiday.    

Typically, that would mean that we should pick Chinese New Year, since it would theoretically be the exotic, unusual topic.  Then we stopped to strategize. I don't really know all the customs inside out and there are so many  Chinese-American kids in his class that we decided to go for Christmas. I helped him with ideas for an essay, and he wrote it, making a tidy copy that we could mount to posterboard along with the rest of the elements.

The last piece of the project was an oral presentation.  SwingDaddy helped him with an outline, and we both acted as audience while he practiced.

There are fewer than a dozen second graders in his mixed-age class, so a pair of kids were assigned for each day, with Q-ster going last.

On the first day, we asked, “Hey, which ones of your friends spoke today? What  family traditions did they talk about?”

Child #1 talked about Chinese New Year. Child #2 also talked about Chinese New Year.

On the second day, we tried to be solemn while we asked, “What family traditions did your friends talk about?”

Child #3 talked about Chinese New Year. Child #4 talked about Chinese New Year.

Day Three.

Chinese New Year.  Chinese New Year.

Yep.  Christmas was going to be a nice bit of variety.

On the last evening before Q-ster’s turn, I told him to remember that if he made a mistake or forgot to talk about a section, no worries. Just move on, it’s ok.  I told him that I give presentations all the time, and I make mistakes too.  It’s ok.

SwingDaddy baked sugar cookies and the boys cut out snowman and tree shapes, covering them with red and green sprinkles. It never hurts to have some edibles when you give a talk.

The next day, we arrived in class, were ushered to sit down, and he started his speech. “Hi, my name is Q-ster and I was born on . . .” And then the fire alarm went off.

We all evacuated.  His teacher said that she went over to him, expecting to need to calm him down for being interrupted, he said, “That’s ok. My mom does this every day.”  I guess you never know what will stick in kids’ minds!

We got back into the classroom, and the little dude did a good job.  And handed out cookies.  Win for everyone!

2 comments:

Waltzing with Widgets said...

Good choice on the holiday selection! At first I thought, no kidding, they have fire drills at home *every day* !?

mayberry said...

Ha! I'm sure everyone was more than ready for a little Christmas cheer!