Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Student of the Week
Yesterday, I helped my 11-year old son put together his student-of-the week poster. For those of us with elementary school-aged children, this is an annual rite of passage. It usually occurs during the student's birthday week unless his birthday is during the summer, in which a case a free week is arbitrarily assigned. Jack came home yesterday and announced that the third week of October was all about him. The first time I took on this project when Emily was in 1st grade, we began the necessary preparation a week in advance. We got the poster board from the local art supply store and began gathering photographs that chronicled each major milestone in her life. We carefully arranged the photos on different sizes and colors of construction paper to create a stunning visual display. She drafted the verbiage but I wrote everything out in my best Catholic school block lettering. It was fabulous. Now in my 13th year of constructing these projects, I was able to pull together the necessary materials within a few minutes. I went to the computer and found the requisite photos -- last year's Christmas card with the kids and the dogs, a family photo with my husband and me, Grandma and Grandpa, and a couple shots of Jack engaged in some frolicking good times in our favorite summer vacation spot, Yosemite. I printed them out on standard white printer paper with a color ink cartridge badly in need of replacement. Using a blunt tip pair of school scissors, he crudely cut out each picture to fit on his display board, two pieces of white drawing paper that I had taped together. He quickly arranged them on the paper and pasted them down with a glue stick. He found an old brown marker in a kitchen drawer and wrote out his name across the top of the poster. In the upper right corner, he penned several key facts about himself, each line drifting slightly upward. We completed the entire project in about thirty minutes. As I looked at the final poster, I could not overlook the contrast between this effort and the earlier ones that I had done with my kids. I began to feel a bit sheepish but Jack was completely satisfied with the results. This morning, as we rolled it up and tucked it under his arm to protect it from the drizzle, I realized that this was probably the last of these posters that we would create. My sentimental moment was interrupted by the realization that the progressive decline in the quality of these kinds of projects had reached its nadir. Like Picasso's blue period, my elementary school era is coming to an end.