Friday, March 16, 2012

What I am learning this fourth grade year.

My fourth grade teacher’s name was Ms. Hyatt.  She was a friendly lady as far as I can remember but she had a practicum student that I infinitely preferred.  Ms. Raider was a non-traditional student and probably the same age as my mother.  She had a gentle way about her and taught an advanced group of math students of which I was included.  This brings tears of laughter to my husband’s eyes since math is one of my many weaknesses in my adult life.  I can’t tell you how many times I messed up taking score during our family games.  In fact, it was declared that should never be allowed to do so again.  Is it possible to peak, mathematically speaking, in fourth grade?

Avery is in fourth grade this year.  What a season of transition she is entering.  She is not a teenager or a little kid for that matter I guess this is where the term tween comes from.  This year I have had to be very intentional about stepping back to let her establish some independence, case in point her 4H demonstration project.  In Jessamine County every fourth grade student is required to perform a demonstration.  The possibilities are endless and I was pleased that Avery, after some gentle steering, chose to demonstrate “How To Decorate Sugar Cookies”.  Students are required to create three posters and talk for at least 5 minutes. 

Ah, the posters … those blank canvases ready to be decorated and colored.  I like to think of myself as a creative person with a lot to offer anyone working a project.  After making many suggestions regarding the layout, color choices and content (which by the way were all shot down) I had to have a talk with myself.  It went something like this, “You will not be one of those people that hijacks your child’s project.  This is not YOUR project.  Let Avery take ownership.” 

Things proceeded considerably smoother after I got myself out of the way.  My stress level was greatly reduced and I believe Avery felt the freedom to exercise her creative muscles.  I handed her my point and shoot camera and told her to start shooting her cookies for the poster.  The whole project turned out beautifully.  It looked as it should … like a fourth grader created it.  I am realizing that Avery is not the only one growing and changing this school year.

My favorite cookie decorator and I in Salt Lake City last month.