Monday, November 08, 2004


The price we pay ...

Back in September, we transferred Emma from her French Immersion elementary school to a "Gifted/Talented" magnet school. We did this for several reasons. First of all, we had the option; lots of qualified kids end up too far down the waiting list. Second, Emma wanted to do it; though she liked L'Etoile du Nord, she thought this school would be great. Third, the school has an "integrated" junior high, meaning that Emma can stay there for a good long time. Fourth, it's the kind of school we would have loved to go to as kids -- lots of hands-on projects, less structure, lots of cool stuff happening all the time. Fifth, there's a five-day afterschool French program on-site at the school, so Emma can continue to work on French if she wants.

Emma got an assignment last week: make a map or model of her bedroom. She was required to include symbols, a legend to explain the symbols, a scale, and a compass rose.

People! These are first graders! What are you thinking?!? Teach them to read, write, add and subtract, please.

Anyway, the assignment didn't get started until yesterday, the day before it was due. And of course, Emma didn't want to do a mere map; she wanted to build a little diorama of her room in a cardboard box. Naturally, what should have taken an hour or two chewed up the entire day. As we try to explain to Emma how to make a three-dimensional representation of her dresser, she's playing with Smudge or doing some other useless thing. The project chewed up at least six hours.

Here's the end result. The whole experience proves to me that the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, which was used to determine Emma's status, is weighted rather heavily to favor procrastination -- an area in which Emma is, unquestionably, gifted.