"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Unfortunately, when you are a fourth-grader faced with the daunting assignment of a half-hour presentation to your classmates for the first time, the journey seems much longer than a thousand miles....
I will confess to being a little amazed that Jude's teacher was asking that of the students, although he did qualify it with saying the parents could help in any way necessary.
"Help" might be a loose interpretation of what we did. Let's just say, some of that thousand-mile journey has drag marks from where we hauled him along, kicking and screaming.
I am not sure what happened with this very bright and creative child. How can he hate writing so much? He can come up with stories that will have your sides splitting or your jaw dropping--just don't ask him to write them down! Typing is not any better.
When Jude's teacher told us at the first parent-teacher interview that he had skill in teaching kids to write, I was relieved--I knew this was an area that Jude needed a lot of development in... I guess he still does.
However, Jude did do most of the work involved in preparing for his presentation on Optical Illusions. I gave him pointers on where to start looking, and he did research and took (mental) notes about the things he learned, and found a cross-section of images that could be included in a presentation. I showed him how to create and format a PowerPoint slide, and he put the bones of the presentation together. I had to sit and do the typing while he dictated out those aforementioned mental notes, though, in order to make the deadline. Oh, well. He got it finished in time, and did a great job presenting to his class--in fact, he encouraged so much class participation that instead of the twenty minutes the slide show took at home, it was more than forty-five minutes long! The activity part of the presentation had to be cut short to compensate.
The "kicking and screaming" parts? Those were the several pep talks Jason and I gave in varying tones about always giving your best effort, how the Bible tells us to do everything we do as if for the Lord, having a good attitude, etc. Yikes. That's about as much detail as I want to go into on that topic.
He did a great job up there in front of his peers. Here he is, standing on the podium behind the classroom's "Smart Board" interface.
Encouraging the class to figure out how this schematic will work:
Those Smart Boards are pretty neat. (Yes, it would be totally impractical to use one in my small home... but I still want one! ...In that "wouldn't-it-be-cool-if" sort of way. I don't want one, really.) Modern technology can be pretty fun! :-)
Guess what? He gets to do another similar presentation on plants in May. I'm just hoping that now that he has done this once, he will tackle it with more self-motivation than he did the last one.
Maybe that first, single step will seem less daunting.