Do They Really Think They Are Helping?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 18, 2011

    We were doing a class project for Black History. I gave the kids the assignment; all they had to do at home was take some pictures with a disposable camera. The rest of the project we were doing in class. I held a meeting with my parents, sent home an explanation of the project emphasizing that I really wanted to see what the kids could come up with creatively on their own. I wanted it to be their "vision".

    Well, we get the pics developed and sit down to work on them today. At least 5 of them didn't even know which pictures were theirs. One said-"oh, I wasn't even there when they took that". Who's they? "Oh, I mean me". So you weren't there when you took it? :confused: When I asked another why they chose what they chose-"that's what my dad told me to take a picture of". They left my classroom beforehand with solid ideas of what to do-but I guess the parents just hijacked those thoughts because the kids certainly couldn't explain their choices.

    Maybe I'm just from another era. My mother would never have done a project for me. I just can't believe they think it's actually helping the children.
     
  2.  
  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,876
    Likes Received:
    229

    Feb 18, 2011

    I am at a private school, and homework tends to be more of what the parents know than what the students know. As a rule, projects are done in class for me. I understand that your project was mostly in class, and this one part (which couldn't have been done in class) needed to be done outside of class. Unfortunately, too many parents don't allow their students to do it on their own (well, referring to my parents specifically).I sent an interview home for hw this past week and the last 2 questions are reflection questions where I specifically ask the parents not to help, but I am sure parents did help...
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 18, 2011

    Parents want their child to be the best and some think that by helping they are making their child the best. They don't realize that they are hurting or hampering their child's progress, instead they feel that they are modeling and guiding their child.

    It's a hard line to cross, especially with the young ones.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Feb 18, 2011

    Projects sent home are rarely exclusively the kids' work.
     
  6. ally06

    ally06 Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 19, 2011

    Sad isn't it, especially when you went to the trouble of letting the parents know your expectations. There's nothing more you can do but it's unfortunate the kids are missing out on learning opportunities.
     
  7. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 19, 2011

    My children would come home with a homework project and there was an expectation that parents would help. However, there is a difference between helping and doing it for them. I was a helper, my husband was a doer. He once wrote a talk for our 8 year old daughter using words she could not read or pronounce. I had to point out to him that it was obvious it was not her work. Other times, he got the homework wrong, his interpretation was not what the teacher wanted.

    Eventually, all projects had to be done in class. I think too many parents were doing the homework for their kids. I breathed a sigh of relief that the teacher's had come to their senses.
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 20, 2011

    We don't send a lot of projects home for that reason. I think it's common knowledge that a parent would "help" a child on say a Science Fair project. One of my favorite episodes of the Simpsons is when Homer does Lisa's project for her and she wins because the Principal said it was the only one that looked like a child did it. ;)

    But this was just to take a photograph. I don't understand the reasoning a parent would have for doing it for them. It actually makes their projects less authentic now because they can't finish the rest which was to write about why they chose what they chose-several kids now can't answer that question because they didn't choose it. I just don't understand.
     
  9. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 20, 2011

    We see this with the Science Fair projects. So sad that they lose such a valuable learning experience. Helping? Yes, that's fine. Doing it for them? NO.
     
  10. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    7

    Feb 20, 2011

    Is it possible that the kids just really don't remember what the picture was of? It is kinda abstract, when you think about it...first graders taking a picture of something, then not seeing the results of that picture until days later.

    I'm sure the parents probably had a lot of input into it, no doubt about it.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,298
    Likes Received:
    2,192

    Feb 21, 2011

    To answer your questions - yes, they did think they were helping.

    However, until I see the exact wording of the directions that were sent home, I can't tell you whether or not I feel they were right in helping. I understand you stressed you wanted to see their vision of whatever your project was, but I also have seen 6 year olds with a camera. A picture of a stone on the ground or the dog's behind has little to do with Black History and wouldn't be worth the money spent on the disposable camera.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 21, 2011

    Maybe I've been teaching GT too long (I do encourage them to think outside the box). Either of those, if they could justify the meaning would have actually been acceptable for me.

    I have done a Thankful Project in November where they take pics of things they are thankful for-my all-time favorite was a student who did a grilled cheese sandwich. The fact of the matter is, the kids left the classroom with a thought in mind as to what they were going to do and lost that after the parents got involved. It's not really their project anymore.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Feb 21, 2011

    It's also possible that the kid thought the camera was pointed in one direction, and unknowingly actually took the pictures you saw.

    Next year, could you have them take the pictures around school, during the school day? I think you'll probably still get some "that's not my picture!" situations from kids who meant to capture one thing and actually got another, but at least you'll be able to pull it together as the kids' work.
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 21, 2011

    I actually got answers like "oh my dad told me to take that, I don't know why" or even them telling me their parents took the pic. Some of them are in the pictures so obviously someone else took it.

    I usually do that around the school-but we're under construction right now and there is not really a way to do that. But I appreciate the suggestion.
     
  15. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Feb 21, 2011

    At my daughter's old elementary school, the teachers made a big production about how "3rd grade work should look like 3rd grade work." They said that repeatedly with every big project. It was a private school, so the parents *really* wanted to step in and "compete" but the teachers did an excellent job of setting the tone for it being student work.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,298
    Likes Received:
    2,192

    Feb 22, 2011

    I understand about justification being acceptable for any picuture. I also understand the frustration of expecting kids to do the work themselves.

    Now, the concept of being thankful for something is much easier to put into terms for kids than taking pictures of something that represents Black History. Honestly, even as an adult, I would have to really research to find things in my home/community that are representative of black history.

    Did you have the same problem with the "thankful" assignment compared to the "Black History" assignment? If so, you know that sending projects home will have parents helping the kids. Sometimes parents help because of time constraints (not saying you didn't give enough time, but kids forget, parents are busy) and some do it because the read more into assignments than you expect. If not, then this assignment was over their heads and the parents didn't want the kid to be held responsible for not understanding how to do the assignment because typically an unfinished assignment is met with the attitude that the child didn't want to do it, not that he couldn't do it.

    Suggestions, keep projects to the school environment if you want to see what the kids can do on their own.
     
  17. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,397
    Likes Received:
    4

    Feb 22, 2011

    This is why for the last two days (plus one more), I have dealt with the headaches that come with helping my extremely needy group of third graders create their science fair display boards. I want them to be their projects, and this was the only way I could ensure that.
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,298
    Likes Received:
    2,192

    Feb 22, 2011

    I applaud you, amekaye. You also have good insight as to what they can do on their own and what they can't. You can also decide how much help you give. Parents, well, when they see the child overwhelmed and needing help, they don't always know where to stop. Some try to teach along the way, others just "help".
     
  19. time out

    time out Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2011

    You know what' s funny? This happens with gifts too. I love when the kids give you a gift and then ask, "What did I get you?"

    What's sad is that a lot of times the children who do complete at-home projects on their own often get overlooked because their projects don't compare to the other, more polished ones.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 222 (members: 2, guests: 201, robots: 19)
test