In a previous article I discussed teachers assigning send home projects. These were the more lengthy projects that children were to complete at home along with the help of a parent. In that article I gave some pros and cons of assigning send home projects.
Not long after that article was written, one hallway of my school was filled with castles. Some of the castles were very elaborate. All of the castles, except for one, looked as if much time was put into their making.
Some of the castles were made from painted cardboard, some from wood. Some had small pebbles plastered to them. Some castles were created by an individual student and others were created from a group of two or three students. Three of the castles were marked with first, second, and third place signs. I was very impress with the work that the children (and the parents) did.
Later I caught up with the sixth grade teacher and commented on her project assignment. Several other teachers also commented on the work and time that the project must have taken.
The teacher noted that time did go into the project. She also stated that the project was for extra credit and was not mandatory. She had given the students a list of requirements and showed them an example from a book. They could then choose if they wanted to work alone or in a group.
She had some outside supervisors come in to judge the castles based on the list of her requirements. She said that both the children and the parents were very excited and positive about the project.
I think that when assigning a send home project it is a good idea to make it elective. This way students who do choose to complete the project can receive extra points for their efforts. However students that do not choose to complete the project are not punished.