Monday, February 24, 2014

Helen Keller from a Second Grade Point of View - Guest Post by Paige Stilp

Second grade at our kids' school comes with monthly projects in addition to daily homework.  The first time through this process with Grant I was exhausted after all the work it took for me him to finish his project.  My desire was to micromanage everything and make it a project worthy of adult approval.  But I wasn't in second grade.  He was.

I learned to loosen up and let the kids drive and dictate their monthly projects, offering input as needed and trying my hardest to take a hands-off approach.  So what if the lines aren't straight and the paper is cut crooked?  When Alli wanted to make her family tree report out of a Christmas tree and cut out pictures of her family to look like ornaments I said, "Great idea Sweetheart."  And it really was.  Her Family Tree was the only one that looked like a Christmas tree with faces as ornaments.

Paige's valentine card - her words for the greeting ~ 2nd grade ~ almost 8 years old
Paige is our last (of four) second graders to go through the process.  She takes school very seriously and doesn't like deadlines.  As soon as she gets the new monthly project assignment she starts fretting about how long it will take and when she has to get it done.  Finishing the monthly project on time makes it into her bedtime prayers.

What I love about this concept is that it teaches the kids life lessons that they will take with them into adulthood.  Paige is learning how to manage her time.  She now knows the stress of procrastination and the satisfaction of finishing a big project on time.  She has felt the frustration of being forced to start over because she did a sloppy job the first time.  We tell her, "Anything doing is worth doing well."  If I can't read the rough draft it doesn't count.  Her writing and sentence structuring is improving by leaps and bounds.

So far this year she has researched her future career (a missionary), charted out her family tree (insisting on including The Big's as her "fake brothers and sisters"), and studied a holiday we don't celebrate (St. Lucia's Day).  This month she researched and wrote about a famous American - Helen Keller.

We just finished pulling together the final pieces of her project.  All she has left is to lay it out.  I promise to sit on my hands if she pastes the pages on crooked.  Paige's essay really touched me though and I wanted to share it with you.  Read all the way to the end - you won't want to miss her witty humor in her resource list.  Here's her report - in her own words.

She turns eight this week.  How can that be?

Helen Keller Monthly Project

By Paige Stilp
2nd grade
Mrs. Hubbard

My famous American is Helen Keller.  She was blind, deaf and she couldn’t speak.  Helen needed a teacher.  Helen’s first word was water.  She spoke in sign language.  Helen’s teacher translated what people were saying to her in her hands.  Helen’s teacher was blind too.  Her name was Annie Sullivan.  Helen wanted to be a teacher too.  Helen loved Alexander Graham Bell.  He was her hero because he sent Helen’s teacher to Helen’s family.  Helen was eager to learn.  She wanted to know about everything! Helen Keller was a great person.  She did a lot for America.

Helen loved animals.  They liked her too.  Helen was born June 27, 1880.  She died June 1, 1968.  Helen’s parent were Kate and Arthur.  They both loved Helen, but Arthur wanted to send her away. Helen Keller was in newspapers all over the world!  She was famous because she was the first person who was blind, deaf, and couldn’t speak who learned to talk. Helen Keller went to a school for blind children.  She played with them.  Helen met lots of famous people.  She even met all the presidents after President Cleveland.

Helen was not afraid of anything.  She loved everything.  Helen Keller lived in the South, but went North to go to school.  She was fearless.  Helen spent many seasons in the North. She stayed in Boston.  Helen let the fact that she was blind keep her from doing anything.  She was a great person.  Helen Keller was important to America because she was deaf and still wanted to learn.  Helen was the only person who was blind and deaf who wanted to go to college. She helped America by showing that whatever kind of person you are, blind or deaf, you can do anything that you put your mind to.  Helen Keller was fun to learn about.


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