Contest: Dismaying class assignments

It’s the end of the school year and it’s time for a new contest. In honor of Mike Schmoker’s classic Crayola Curriculum article

  • What’s the most dismaying / inane / worthless class assignment you’ve seen or heard about?

Last October I blogged about my son’s assignment to write down all the numbers between 1,000 and 2,000. Here’s another dismaying class assignment:

State Floats

  • should be the size of an inverted shoebox
  • basic box should be covered (paper, paint, tissue, etc.)
  • do not have to have wheels
  • should include state name prominently displayed
  • should represent your chosen state – should have 2 or more items of importance from your state (ex: famous landmarks, crops, products, natural resources, state flowers/birds, etc.)
  • should be colorful (may use such items as crepe paper, construction paper, giftwrap, plastic figures, silk flowers, popsicle sticks, cotton balls, foam, styrofoam, cardboard, foil, paint, clay, felt, etc.) – be creative!
  • must be accompanied by a 5 x 8 card listing
    • state name
    • student’s name
    • geographic region the state is in
    • 3 important things the state is known for
    • 1 "interesting fact" about the state

Floats must be completed and ready for “parade” on Friday, May 23.

Presentations

Students will be presenting their floats to all of the other 4th graders. They will be shoring the information from their 5 x 8 cards (listed above), and they will need to give a brief explanation of their float.

The floats will also be on display at the [school name] State Fair.

Your turn. What you got? Deadline for submissions is June 10. Please either comment below or link back to this post from your own blog. Winner gets everlasting fame and a CASTLE mug!

Update: See the winning entry!

42 Responses to “Contest: Dismaying class assignments”

  1. With 3 kids, I’ve seen them all! My top 3:

    1. Endless variations of “Create a family crest of a character.”
    2. Make a coat hanger mobile that represents a book. (With specific instructions about the hangers and how the cardboard is supposed to hang down off them.)
    3. Write 6 “temporal” sentences for each vocabulary word. Then the words are things like “umbrella” so it’s either inane or impossible.

    PS – These were all high school assignments.

  2. Do you think a better assignment would have been to memorize the the states and interesting things about them? Sure, this assignment is a bit over the top, but I would prefer it to the mind-numbing memorization of things the kids could look up on their phones.

    OK, I will also play along. See a lot of kids reading books with ‘study guides.’ Great pieces of literature, like “To Kill a Mockingbird” reduced down to “________” was the neighbor to the Finch family.” I understand making kids accountable for the reading assignment. I don’t understand the drumming of the joy of reading OUT of every book. How about big themes?

  3. Thank you! I think teachers do that every year because other teachers do that ever year. Same thing with the stupid planet models. And weekly spelling lists. Don’t get me started…

  4. Students were assigned the book “Freak the Mighty” ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freak_the_Mighty ” were asked to create their own “SLANG” dictionary. They had to come up with terms for the letters A to Z that are commonly used today by teenagers. I wish I had a copy of the rubric as it is awesome.

    Here is the best part… the “slang” dictionaries were used as part of the student’s semester portfolio for student led conferences… It was a hard sell to parents… I freely admit that I might have missed the importance of this assignment somewhere along the line!

  5. My daughter’s beginning band was learning musical notation. The assignment was to cut out the Xeroxed pictures of notes on a staff, glue it to a 3X5 notecard, then label the note’s correct name on the back to make flash cards. Once the assignment was finished, they would play games with a partner using the flash cards.

    My daughter freehanded the lines, spaces, and notes herself in various colors, adding some simple decorations to each card. She also labeled the note names correctly on the back.

    The teacher made her do the assignment over and did not allow her to “play games” with the cards until she had completed it according to the original directions.

  6. Bring in tissues, paper, classroom supplies, cookies, [insert item here] for a grade/extra credit.

  7. Any assignment that can be excused with a no homework pass.

  8. Cursive: Not a big fan. Wasted my entire sixth grade learning nothing except that I finally mastered cursive. Have a son with an IEP that forgoes learning it, BUT there is more than a generation that still writes in cursive, and this other generation growing up that can’t, but more importantly, cannot read it. It’s working up to be a big generational schism.

    Example of state floats was mediocre, NOT dismaying. It’s not even close to writing out number 100 – 1000. Also, it’s the type of assignment that is a little blah (recall oriented), that can be pretty easily ramped up to something better. As Terry Shay points out there are even worse examples of this.

    The worst I’ve run across is letting kids print out web pages, and tape/glue them to a poster for a report. Hey, at least make them summarize! It’s a rookie mistake I’ve noticed a lot, so I try to point out ways to make it a little better.

    Here is a pic from my son’s open house of projects from one of the teacher’s he will have next year
    http://picasaweb.google.com/mizmercer/Classboards/photo#5206319534502632642
    The picture was for state reports. They have pics, etc. but note they are asking why, how, and where questions (and answering them). They also had charts and visuals to show their comparative population and industry resources in some interesting ways that I hadn’t seen before. It looks like your son’s float, but there is analysis going on.

    In a sense I’m glad you have a project that has the potential of rehabilitation, because I think it is a better discussion to talk about how things can be improved, rather than stuff that just needs to be killed off.

  9. HeHe…cursive! Ugh! I just had a “discussion” with my grandma the other day (okay – she lectured me for 10 minutes) on what are teachers thinking not teaching penmanship. She is 96. I waited until she was done and calmly told her that it was irrelevant and not needed today – today we need kids who can think and produce – after all not enough of the generations can. We would not be in many of the dire straits we are in today if they could.

    How about: My son learned the different biomes in our region by coloring the pictures of them – oh, he is in 8th grade.

    How about: diagramming sentences.

  10. OK, don’t get me started on the projects that everyone does just because everyone else does…how many times have I had to say to my class “I am really sorry that we are not making coat hanger turkeys like the other classes. We will be spending our time blogging and participating in a live webinar with Discovery Education!”

    Worst assignment ever- my son, who has his own blog, a creative mind, and reads anything he can get his hands on…spent all of his “quiet learning time” this year writing rote numbers on his number scroll. He saw it as a contest…can I write more rote numbers than any other kid in my class? His teacher saw it, I am sure, as a way to keep the class quiet while she did reading groups. I saw it as a complete waste of time…a LOT of time…ALL YEAR!! Yesterday, he brought home his number scroll- he got from 1-4,100 this year. He brought home no certificates or rewards for his creativity, his reading ability, or his overall love of school…but for his ability to write to 4,100 he was rewarded with a sand bucket full of sidewalk chalk, swim goggles, and other summer fun items. What the????

  11. I love the project where kids construct a covered wagon out of a shoe box and old tee-shirt. Not as an art project but to help them understand just how life would have been as a pioneer. Or when a high school biology teacher gives extra credit to students who bring Kleenex and then “bonus” extra credit points for those who bring namebrand Kleenex. Especially in a district where about 60% of the students qualify for free/reduced lunch.
    This by the way is a practice which was immediately halted once brought to light.

  12. Filling out a daily book log of books read in class. Books outside class were not counted. The book log was not checked or graded. All books could only be the level the student was evaluated at the beginning of the year.

  13. Like Sylvia, I’m not completely dismayed by the state float assignment. It is certainly better than memorizing the states and facts and offers an opportunity to do some art work, something often sadly lacking in schools. I guess I would have to know the grade level to really make a judgment. Second grade? Not bad. Eighth grade? Just dumb.

    Maybe the real issue here is a curriculum that probably requires them to know stuff about each state, that as Sylvia also points out, they could look up on their phones. The other way to go about this would be to discover issues faced by the different states (ie, water in California or farming in Iowa) and have kids do some real problem solving.

    I was dismayed by the 8th grade science assignment where each student “researched” an element and typed the information into pre-formatted factual report. Because they used the Internet for research and Word for typing the report, this counted as her “technology” lesson for the year. Oh, I forgot, they copied and pasted a graphic into the report. Extra credit was to build a model of the element. I actually felt like the latter was the best part, again because kids could get creative with the artwork. The rest was pretty much rote.

  14. This topic is timely since my 3rd grade son just finished his model of the planets. Made me think that the only thing that changed from when I was a kid was the number of planets.

  15. An oldie but a goodie.

    High school history students taking turns reading out of the textbook during a block schedule period. IF they behaved, students got to do popcorn reading – the “new and exciting” updated version of reading aloud where the last person to read gets to select the next person to read.

    Fun times were had by all!

  16. In one of my graduate classes, we had to read chapters in a psychology book then take vocabulary quizzes. There was never any assignment that was geared towards long-term learning or understanding; just matching and multiple choice.

    In my own 8th grade social studies class, our teacher was washed up well beyond his years. When he couldn’t come up with something for us to do, he’d throw in a VHS tape he’d made of the Bob Hope Christmas Special – this was during the first gulf war. He’d get up each time to point out “the tears in that soldier’s eyes.” He’d sit in the back in his La-z-boy.

    Other times, he’d make us color pictures of boats and things from some workbook series using crayons he’d provide.

    In retrospect, the Bob Hope specials (we saw the same special 13 times that year) was poor. At the time, I was simply stunned he’d have us coloring that river boat. Now, I remember it. The creative act of taking the time to look at the historical picture, color it, and turn it in… stuck.

    Still, a poor assignment, but it reminds me today as I work with teachers that the better assignment usually do always include creative components in them.

    I think your example of the state “float” isn’t great, but it isn’t poor. With many of these assignments, the details about the size, the number of things, etc., are done more to make the projects look consistent and fit into some decidedly nice looking classroom display.

    For the reader whose daughter was penalized for the music lesson, I think the teacher wasn’t evaluating it the steps for music, but for the ability “to follow instructions.”

    Following instructions, making colorful things, etc. is all important, sure, but too many folks have lost the foresight to see what’s most elemental and important. 5% in the assignment’s rubric is one thing, 50-95%? I think that teacher’s making life too easy for themselves.

  17. Let’s talk about spelling! Here are three assignments that were repeatedly given to my daughter when she was in second grade:
    - Use the 10 spelling words in a paragraph that makes sense. However, the lists of words were based on specific spelling rules, not on their meanings. The teacher lowered her grade on this assignment because the paragraph did not have a good concluding sentence. Of course it didn’t! The words had no connection to each other. If you want to teach writing, then do so, but not with disconnected spelling words.
    - Assign a number to each letter (e.g. A=1, B=2, C=3, etc) and have the students add up the points of each spelling word. If you want to teach math, then do so, but not with spelling words.
    - Give the students spelling words that are misspelled on purpose, or that are scrambled up, and have the students write them correctly. Yikes! Asking little kids to study the words that are spelled incorrectly runs the risk of imprinting the incorrect spelling of the words into their brains.

  18. The state float project posted herein is actually a long standing tradition at the elementary school where the assignment was given. As one of your wiser posters noted, the floats’ guidelines are given for reasons of displaying them in the form of a “parade” at the annual school fair. The students also present their float in the form of a presentation while the other students take notes. A game is later played in class using random interesting facts that were presented about the 50 states by the students.

    Sometimes giving students base guidelines to operate within, then giving them free reign on creativity is a successful teaching method. Free reign without boundaries…. not so much.

  19. @smokey: Thank you for the comment and the additional information. I particularly appreciate commenters who are willing to disagree with me because that stretches my own learning. Here are the issues that I have with the project:

    1. Not much academic content. Most of the time and work involves cutting, pasting, gluing. Since this was for a fourth grade class, I think there could have been more substantive depth to the assignment.

    2. What academic content does exist is of the ‘memorize and then quickly forget’ variety. How much of what an individual student learned, either from his own project or from other students, will be retained a couple of months from now? I’m guessing not much.

    So while a few kids probably learned a few things about some states – and maybe gained a little understanding of the diversity that accompanies our nation’s broad geography – I remain of the opinion that the Crayola Curriculum still exists and that much of this time could have been spent more productively.

    Many thanks for participating in this blog.

  20. Scott: You should take into consideration that the state float assignment isn’t merely an assignment to “decorate a shoe box” and memorize the 50 states. The assignment to make a state float concludes an entire semester’s introduction of the process of Research and Presentation. The students (9 and 10 yr olds) are introduced to various research methods (library, encyclopedias, almanacs, web sites, etc.) and then taught how to utilize them via indexes, glossaries, search engines, etc. to research a particular subject. In this instance, each student chooses a state of interest as his/her subject. The students are taught note taking techniques, how to produce a presentation outline from their research and notes, and how to write an interesting and informative presentation complete with introduction and summation. The state floats are assigned as a creative way for each student to present their information to an audience of their peers and teachers.

    So… although it may have struck you as a dismaying irrelevant assignment without merit or potential for retention, the floats actually wrap up a semester of foundational academic work in how to research a subject, write a formal paper, and present the information to an audience. It is also an assignment that allows for differentiation when working with a large group of students with diverse abilities.

    That aside, had you seen the pride on the faces of each girl and boy as they carried in their floats, heads held high, you might have been left a different impression of the state float assignment.

  21. @smokey: Thanks. That helps me feel a little better about this particular assignment. Still seems like there’s a better way to capture all of the good work that you note went on behind the scenes?

    Now if we can only work on that high school coat hanger mobile…

  22. My sons go to a great school and have a great teacher yet their math curriculum requires them to compete one busy work worksheet a night. Talk about dull. For some reason each page ends with drawing a certain number of squares and circles. I just don’t get it.

  23. @Scott
    I’m sure this won’t help much, but I believe that the “guidelines” for the float are excellent. Sorry if you feel it is a waste of time, but the first time a Trojan condom gets hung for Homecoming (because you ar playing the Trojans, of course) you will support the parameters necessary set forth.

    As for the number list, etc. WTF are people thinking? I agree.

    Cursive? Scott, would you like my disertation in longhand? My penmanship is lacking – therefore, I love to type. Oops, how about those “handwritten notes” that are so important in building someone’s self-esteem. Can’t type them, or forward-thinking individuals will think I don’t really care. I do see “grandma’s” value in this to a degree.

    I don’t think there is a need to stretch every thought process we have into a techno-takeover. Some things are adequately simple and should be respected for such.

    That said, I think there is good value in this line of thought, and I’ll continue to think along this line until another line avails to make me think that I should think about this thinking differently. Just thought I’d have fun-sorry.

  24. Just for the record, I never complained about the guidelines themselves! If you think making a float is a worthwhile use of student time, the guidelines are just fine. Whatever assignment you give should have some helpful parameters, particularly for smaller children. It’s the underlying substance of the assignment that I have concerns about (although I feel a little better about it now). Did ANYONE read Schmoker’s article?! If so, do you just think he’s imagining things?

  25. Scott, I did read the article last year when you posted it. I’m re-reading it now to make sure we are on the same page. The complaint was that activities in the classroom had no basis in the overall educational objective (learning to read). So your argument is that the floats are not related to a learning objective or the the learning objective of learning about the states.

    My commentary was that they could learn something in the recall category by pasting specific factoids on the float, but there were extensions or better guidelines you could give the activity to take it beyond recall.

    I guess maybe I don’t get your point about what is lacking. Is it the lack of higher level thinking, or just the idea of learning about states? If you want the kids doing more analytical thinking, the higher order stuff will get you there. I’ve also seen projects like that FAIL because developmentally (especially low and EL kids) have NO idea what the heck you mean when you say something like develop a thesis question or a hypothesis about your state, the solar system, the revolutionary war, in fourth or fifth grade. They need it modeled, they need the assignment grounded in something they have some minimal background knowledge about. Those factoids can help them get there, but they won’t take them any further if they don’t do some analysis.

    Since I work in a state that has mandated scientifically based reading programs that involve a lot of scripts and routines, and pacing guides, I haven’t seen anything like crayola curriculum in YEARS. What I have seen is that when teachers are faced with assigning reports/projects, they tend to focus on the factual because it can be difficult to teach kids how to ask for/do more.

  26. Alice, you and I can talk all about this at NECC! =)

  27. After re-reading the intent, I agree that you weren’t knocking the parameters-my apologies for taking this too wide. Consistently I hear “boring” and “make it worth while” on this and other sites that seem to portray that technology can be the cure to this. I like the float concept because it does a couple of things that many here have said are important – make learning fun and tak pride in what students do. A noted above, grade level makes a difference, but even HS Homecoming floats serve a purpose of teaching students to come together for a mutual goal and learn how to work together, so I see some real plusses in this, even though it MAY not help their academic progress in math and language arts. It may, however, be something that sticks with a student as they see the state of Oklahoma or Nebraska, for example, as it proudly rolls by the class.

  28. Teacher on Vacation in FL Reply June 4, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Hmmmm… I can’t say that I am nearly as bamboozled by this project as others in this forum. I can see several adjustments that could be made to get kids to think deeper about their topic and have it be more meaningful. Still, and I may be remiss in saying so, I’d so much rather have kids, especially young kids, complete a project such as this one than, say, read a social studies book and answer the questions at the end of the chapter. Maybe I am just sore because this topic makes me feel like some of the projects I have assigned this past year might be viewed as being equally inconsequential. Things I like about this project? The collaborative nature of creating a product and sharing it with others who have created something similar. Things I dislike? Lack of the use of technology and the opportunity for choice and higher level skills.

  29. I agree with the statement ,’I'd so much rather have kids, especially young kids, complete a project such as this one than, say, read a social studies book and answer the questions at the end of the chapter.’
    4th graders need time to move around out of their seats, socialize, collaborate, and be creative. This assingment gives them the opportunity. Is not creativity what we are trying to teach and reach with students? In the real world would not an art department be given similar work assignments with guidelines similar to this assignment? This project has guidelines but the guidelines can be pushed by a creative student. Some students only time to shine is in a creatively decorated shoe box float. This project gives an artistic student a way to be artistic more than thirty minutes out of a six day cycle.
    I would hope to see this assignment in my child’s classroom.

  30. I like art as much as the next person. And I’m not a big advocate of the ‘read and answer review questions’ assignment either. But couldn’t the ratio of engagement with academic content to cutting/pasting be better here? Does ANYONE agree with Schmoker’s article or are we all satisfied with our current elementary curricula (and thus dismissive of Schmoker’s statement that we have way too many arts and crafts projects and way too little engaging academic learning opportunities)?

    Oh, and what WOULD a dismaying class assignment be, then, if the one I cited isn’t it?

  31. Yes, I have read Schmoker’s article, and I just re-read it also as I wondered what had been missed. Although I do believe what he states and don’t find that he is exaggerating or creating anything, what he suggests several times is again what has been called, “boring” repetitively when compared to technology. I would probably agree, but it’s hard to argue both sides of a coin – we need more technology and activity-based assignments to encourage creativity…and…we can’t have the kids doing this fluff. Yes, it’s a balance issue, and (as we know in education) we’ll never get it “right” for the majority of critics (that would include all of us, by the way).

    My other concern is that when we hear names like Schmoker and Kohn, do we just automatically say, “It must be so” due to their influence? If so, maybe we are also bad products of a system that has not encouraged us to evaluate and decide on the merits. I don’t’ mean to take away what they have brought to us, but it is almost that we perceive their ideas as “untouchable” and we simply accept them. This is why I like the blog. Many of you are WAY smarter and better educated (probably also much more handsome/beautiful, rich, famous, and cultured) than I am, but we can also share ideas, vantage points, beliefs, etc. with an open mind. I think fame closes that door to many of us. Then again, maybe I just like conflict and/or to argue.

    @Scott
    You did have the “perfect” dismaying assignment: Numbering from 1000-2000! That is a farce, and I can’t find a way to even start to support that one (and believe me I’ve tried – is the student learning to form numbers through repetition?).

    Truly, I believe that we miss lots of opportunities to make connections for people (birth to death) because we don’t consider the artistic ties to learning.

    As for dismaying: Have your child go through these flashcards of math facts (+, -, /, x) three times this week. Not bad at all at face value – repetition of these base skills is good. How about the same set of flashcards, however, for the kids that got 10% right on the last assessment compared to the kid that got 100% on the last three assessments. Hmmm…Differentiation, anyone?

    Another peeve of mine may be the whole concept of practice making perfect… Not if it isn’t done right during the practice. How much “in-class” repetition is simply that (such as reading the equivalent of 2 Harry Potter books) if they aren’t able to read or understand the words on the page? I really don’t know how much of this happens, but I know my kids are “readers” and when they were in the elementary (one still is) reading aloud meant dad correcting mis-pronounciation, but I’m sure that wasn’t/isn’t the case when they read to themselves.

  32. I’m going to take the liberty of adding here Gary Stager’s post from last year:

    http://snipurl.com/2e5y0

  33. I love this topic, even though I’m still not sold on the state float assignment as being entirely useless. First of all, I think that there’s a lot I don’t know about the assignment. For instance, assessments? Rubrics? Correlation to the current curriculum?
    I also read the Schmoker article, and found it really interesting, so much so that I in turn blogged about it.
    http://in2thetrenches.blogspot.com/
    I have several questions about the outcome of his observations as well, which are in my blog post.
    What I love about this topic is where we can go with it, especially with educators from all over the place weighing in on the topic. I’m still not ready to be a swing vote, though.
    One more thing, as a proud survivor of parochial school, these are the truths that I know. 3rd grade consisted of 2 things- rote memorization of times tables, and standing in front of the class until they could be recited flawlessly, and cursive writing. Neither of those did me any harm. My penmanship is something that still makes me stand out from my peers, and I have always scored above the 95th percentile on math tests. In fact, the high scores I received in math on the SAT’s and the GRE’s are what afforded me the opportunities I have had- college, grad school, programs, and even internships. BUT! Like anything else in life, I believe that there must be balance.

  34. @Scott – classic. Definitely demonstrates what our collective concerns are.

    @Everyone else – don’t skip over the Stager post that Scott left – it’s worth your time.

    How about this for the most inane assignment (I passed by dismayed and worthless as those seem obvious and laughable was not on the list): Bring back a document that says you did or did not practice your band instrument signed by a parent.

    Here is the background: For both of my 8th grade sons (two years apart) who took band, a practice chart was sent home monthly to record the minutes each practiced his instrument. Accountability is good. I was to sign off on these and have him return it to his teacher that would then incorporate his practice time into the grade. My first son practiced little to none, I signed his sheet showing typically 0 minutes a month maybe 10-15 minutes on a good month, and he finished the class with a B+/A- type grade. My second son, practiced equally pathetically, refused to have me sign off on such limited practice, and failed the class. It was made clear that turning in the sheet of paper showing the 0′s was more important than doing the work.

    Also, for those of you wondering why I signed the 0 sheets and did not make him practice, you will find others arguing for my above actions and me actually arguing against this position at edinsanity.com under the April 2008 post of – My child and ‘unschooling?’

  35. Scott, since one of my proposals in NECC unplugged is to discuss Web 2.0 in an EL class, and I said I’d talk about ELD projects during Wes Fryer’s preso on digital storytelling, you’ll hear more from me about this. I’m not saying that it’s OKAY to do recall only, or art only, BUT if you are teaching EL students, doing hands on stuff as you can see here: http://nicholasfifth.edublogs.org/eld
    and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27051296@N00/archives/date-posted/2007/05/04/)
    is often necessary. Teaching some recall stuff is needed to build background knowledge that they will need if they are to have any hope of doing analytic level work.

    I hope this isn’t an argument against using film or crayons in school. I hope we see them (like computers and technology) as a tool, that can be used well, but also have a potential for abuse.

    On the Stager piece, I’ve been known to show Harry Potter (as the culmination of a unit on cooperation and competition) and Old Yeller (when they read that in class). The question is, are your movies or art projects part of a larger inquiry.

    For example Louise, my son did some projects in elementary on lines, parallel and perpendicular using art in third grade that were marvelous, and he could tell me what the objective was when I discussed it with him. In subject mattter study, he did illustrations of biomes using crayon and watercolor that were beautiful, but more importantly, he will point out Taiga biomes when we are in them based on what he learned. Look at some of the chart projects that Dan Meyer does with his kids. That’s analysis and art.

    Crayons, they aren’t just for elementary, but they also need to illustrate a larger point, not just draw stick figures.

  36. Okay, it might not have been obvious here are my two entries. I still think the writing number 100-1000 beats them…

    Planet/Astronomy online research projects where students print out pictures and articles from online resources, then paste them on a poster, and present what they learned to the class as an oral report.

    Telling middle-school students to do their science projects as videos, but not provide them with either tools (camera) or any instruction in videography trusting that they already know about principles of video design like how to make a shot, how to storyboard and plan, etc. I’ve run across a couple of teachers with children who have had their kids assigned projects like this. I can hardly wait for Leroy to get an assignment like this.

  37. Mercer: I can only hope that the video assignment was a pretest for a project that would involve out of it. Then the project would make sense, let them make some experiments and then get to the lesson on how to make a video and how it can be used as a media presentation. One can only hope….

  38. In the 4th grade, I had to make an ‘Aboriginal ceremonial mask’ for our Australia unit. It was an exciting project – the masks were fired in a kiln and took about 2 weeks to complete. So – what’s the problem?

    We didn’t really study the Aborigines – so our understanding of their culture was based on stereotypes and a few photos from National Geographic.

    I’m looking at the mask right now (I noticed it hanging in my room this morning). There are ‘tribal’ engravings. Not to mention a lot of blood (and anger). I’ll probably take the mask down tomorrow. It wasn’t my fault that no one took the time to educate me about the indigenous peoples of Australia, but I try to stay away from racist decor.

  39. So maybe it is not the assignment all the time but perhaps the instructor not using an opportunity to teach effectively. The mask was a great opportunity that was missed.

  40. Where’s our winner?

  41. My daughter’s 4th grade history assignment: alphabetize a list of the major battles of the Revolutionary war. Because, as we all know, history is much easier to understand if you sort it alphabetically rather than chronologically.

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