Thursday, March 03, 2011

3/3/2011 The Perfect Grade

WOW!! I'm SO proud of Gabriel! He scored a perfect '6' on his most recent book report, both for content and for presentation. Overall he scored his first 'O' for Outstanding. His teacher is a tough grader, so I know he earned it! This is a first for him.

I guess it's politically incorrect and Tiger-Mom-ish to be happy about a good grade, but when you've got a kid like Gabriel, for whom great capabilities compete with even greater resistance and ambivalence, it's cause for celebration.

This most recent book report was to present a "How To" project. Naturally, he picked something related to electricity: How To Make A Battery From A Lemon. This actually was fun to help him with ("go pick some lemons from our tree!"), what little I had to do -- little enough I felt it was reasonable -- and I learned a little myself. It was pretty cool to see an LED light on his Electronics Playground lit up by his battery cells made from lemons, hot-dipped (zinc) nails, and pennies (copper, kinda).

I'll take a little credit: though Gabriel objected and though it caused a fair amount of stress and conflict, I insisted he start this project as soon as he got the assignment. He had to work on it a little bit every day until it was done -- I was not getting stuck working on a book report over a long holiday again. This was painful, but not as painful as cramming it into the last few days, and he was done almost 2 weeks before it was due.

How is it that this kid, for whom symbolic manipulation, logical reasoning and concrete concepts comes so easily, and creates such a struggle for us with math, so easily does so much better with fuzzy intangible stuff like writing and expression?

Come to think of it, I was never any good at liberal arts either - math and science were more my things -- yet the only subject in which I consistently got good grades in was English (well, French too but that doesn't really count), despite constantly not "getting" it. My brain shut down immediately when it came to interpreting literature, but somehow writing and spelling always squeaked me through English classes. Maybe my son has inherited some of that.

He's not going to inherit my crummy grades though. I refuse.

Grade regardless, I'm really proud of what a great job he did on this report, and how much he got out of it. Homework be darned, there's so much more value to the projects -- that they can do themselves that is. He'll remember this, and it will set the foundation for all his future understanding of battery chemistry.

Let's see if I still feel that way after his next report: on poetry. Throwing us right from our comfort zone into a field of nettles.


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