Saturday, November 20, 2010

11/20/2010 Passport to rebellion

I was determined to get the boys' projects that are due right after Thanksgiving done this weekend, so that we don't have to ruin the holiday.

This is proving to be very difficult. I'm really furious that they both have projects due right after a week off of school -- that means Julian's 4-week project and Gabriel's 3-week project include a week of vacation time, and right before they're due. Families travel, have visitors, relax, have time off during Thanksgiving. We're not talking about a paper due for a college student; this is time-consuming, labor-intensive work for the parents.

I think this time we need to rebel against Gabriel's "passport" project, partly on principle and partly because it's just too much work and not enough time. It was given Nov. 10th and is due Nov. 30th -- a span that includes only 6 school days -- and it was given concurrently with the main project, the "country study" report.

The "passport" project includes a booklet of questions in which you're supposed to draw a flag of the country of origin (that's a 1-night project right there) and trace your ancestors' path on a map and make a clothespin doll with the traditional clothing from the country of origin and bring in a dish from the country for a multicultural feast (separate from the "country study" recipe).

And answer these questions.

Family History
When did your family or ancestors come to the United States? (What year?)
Where did they live before?
How did they travel to the U.S.?
How long did it take them to get here?
Describe the route they took, who came with them, and their traveling experiences.
Tell what happened when they first got to the U.S.
What was hard for them to get used to?
What was easy for them to get used to?
What do you think they miss the most from their old home?
Tell what special traditions and customs they brought with them.
Did they bring any special mementos or favorite things?
Did they bring knowledge of any special skills or languages?
Description of the place they left.
Place name:
The physical setting (mountain or valley, hot or cold, rainy or dry, etc).
Tell something about what it might have been like to live there.

Make a drawing of the flag of the place your family came from
Name of country:

Additional information?

Color the map to show the place your family left, and the route they took to the United States.

Come to class ready to show something about your family's immigration to the United States! We encourage students to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to find out the answers to those questions by asking the family members would would know! Parents should provide guidance in filling out the passport.

This is in addition to the Country Study report, which is the main report!! And regular homework, at least when there's school.

Really, this is too much. Or is it? Do other 3rd-grade parents think this is excessive? What about the assumption that you have relatives to ask these questions of? Or the assumption that this is what you, the kid and the relatives want to be doing over the holiday?

I don't know, I'm starting to think the only thing that Gabriel should turn in is a note from his parents saying this is too difficult for Americans who have assimilated, and is too much work in too little time. But I don't have the gumption to rebel against teachers and stick Gabriel in the middle of it.



Louise said...

I agree with you. My family assimilated a looooooooong time ago, and my answer to most of these questions is, "I don't know. My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents lived in California. Generations before that are long dead and can't help me. The end."

they call me mama said...

I don't know the answer to most of those questions, and I've been doing family genealogy for years. I still haven't found the immigrants on my mom's side and my dad's dad's family has been innorth america since 1760, at least. I'd return it with "our family doesn't have this information" for nearly all the questions, which is absolutely true. If she wants true answers to tar questions rather than fiction, those are the answers. Dumb assignment.

MommaWriter said...

I saw this assignment in a friend's home the other day (she attends another school in our district) and had much the same thoughts as Kristi. I don't know if anyone in my living family knows these answers. And we're from all over the least 5 different countries and probably more. Think I could argue that my parents immigrated from Texas?? Honestly, I think the clothespin doll takes the cake. *So* thankful I haven't seen anything like that at our school! This year's big project is to research and write a report about a famous American and then dress as that person and so an oral report about your life. I can handle that.

DaVE said...

This was one assignment where I had no qualms about unilaterally tweaking it. Specifically replacing "United States" with "California". We're not French-American or Irish-American or ... we're *American* dammit. I find the assumption that we're expected to be hyphenated imigrants just off the boat borderline offensive.

Gabriel's ancestors arrived from New York and St. Louis via Accord and Rabbit. This makes the project more relevant and more amusing.

For example, for the question: "Tell what special customs and traditions they brought with them:" Gabriel wrote (at my suggestion) "Dad brought flannel shirts." Given his parents' computer science backgrounds, you can imagine how we answered "Did they bring knowledge of any .. languages?" Yes, and of linkers and debuggers too!

I figure if protest isn't fun, you ain't doing it right.