Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Lindsey's Project

Lindsey has a book report due every month. Not just any old book report. It's more of a book project.

Each month she comes home with an instruction sheet on how this month's book report will be presented. Last month she "canned a character," by wrapping a tin can with her character study, then making a representation of the character and putting it in the can.

The projects are unique, fun and get the kids engaged in new ways of talking about books. I am amazed by her teacher who comes up with these projects, I don't think I could be that creative.

This month she had to make a pizza box to talk about a biography. She had to cover the outside of the box with photos of the person she read about, create an 8-piece pizza out of cardboard, then pick 8 facts about that person's life to put on each slice of pizza. On the front of each piece she wrote the fact, on the back she drew a picture illustrating that fact.

Lindsey's first order of business, which took up the first two weeks of the month, was figuring out who to write about. Abraham Lincoln? George Washington? No, others are sure to do them. Helen Keller? She will probably also be picked, since they recently discussed her in class.

"Mom, who can I write about that no one else will do?" she asked. "Do you have a library at work?"

Ironically, I do! Gillette has a great little library of books and resources available to families of children who have disabilities. I was sure we had some biographies in there that would work.

Sure enough, I learned about Jean Driscoll.

The minute Lindsey saw the book and read the outline, she loved it. She immediately read the entire book cover-to-cover, and spent the next day reading the other book option I'd brought home, too.

We went to Papa John's to pick up some pizza boxes that didn't have grease on them, and I spent the next two nights cajoling Lindsey to stop working on her project to go to bed.

"Just one more piece, Mom!" she said, as she began writing a new fact or drawing a new picture.

I think she did a pretty good job of telling Jean Driscoll's life story in 8 facts:

1. Jean Driscoll is born in 1966 with spina bifida.
2. At age 9 she taught herself to ride a bike.
3. At age 13 she has a crash on her bike and fell to the ground.
4. After her fall Jean needs an operation and has to wear a bodycast for 11 months.
5. When Jean gets out of her cast, the operation has failed. Jean will need a wheelchair.
6. When Jean goes back to school she starts playing wheelchair sports.
7. Then Jean qualifies for the Boston marathon.
8. Jean wins the Boston marathon 8 times, and sets 5 different world records.

This was so perfect for her, the girl who loves to run, whose heart is as big as a house. Last year her biography was on Cathy Freeman, another story of triumph over challenges which, featuring running as the sport of choice.

I love that we are so influential in our children's life, and that we can show them a world that's more accepting and has more opportunities than the one we grew up in. We can take something as simple as a book project and turn it into a bigger lesson than reading comprehension or following directions.  I love that she wishes so much to do something unique, that no one else was going to do.

That's my girl.

1 comment:

  1. I think that is marvelous. I just cannot help but feel there is a special task that Lindsey will fulfill in this world, and I think you are making the use of every opportunity to keep her mind open. Never color within the lines, even though she did I believe.