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Friday, August 30, 2013

How To Help Young Kids With Their School Projects For The First Time

If your child is doing a school project for the first time and you are not sure how to help them, I hope this mini post on how to help young kids with their school projects for the first time will be useful.

When I first had to help my children with their school projects, they had no idea what to do  and I did not know where to start. It had been years since I had done any school projects myself and I had forgotten how. These days they also do a lot more projects then we did years ago.

For a young child just doing a school project for the first time, they will not be sure what to do. The school may have told them to do a project on a subject matter but may not have told them HOW to do it. This was the case with my children. The first few times they did projects, they did not have any plan. The process was really slow and tedious. They had to find information from newspapers, magazines, the internet and include them in their projects but they had no idea where to start.

Finally, I found a method that helped them see the project from beginning to end. It helped a lot. I drew them the following project plan. I think it is very useful for young kids to be able to picture what they are supposed to do.

With this plan, I was able to explain to them that they need the following for their projects:
  1. The project must have a cover. On its cover, they had to include the following information: title, name, class, date and name of teacher.
  2. The project needs a content page or index. This index must be prepared last of all after numbering the pages. Write the page number beside the heading to prepare the index page when all the pages have been completed.
  3. Then they must have a rough plan on how many pages they want the project to be. Each page can have a heading and these can be grouped together with a separate cover for each.
  4. They can prepare sub-covers for sub-topics along if they want, sort of like different chapters of a book.
  5. Finally, a summary of the whole project and what they feel about it brings the project to an end.
  6. Last but not least is the very important part on attributions by citing their sources of information.
I find that many teachers do not emphasize the importance of citing sources. Many children end up copying and pasting whole pages of information from the internet  without even reading or understanding them amounting to plagiarizing content. I tell my daughter she MUST cite sources and not copy content in bulk. She tells me that her friends who copies content and comes up with beautiful pages of copied content gets more marks for their projects than she who writes most of them in her own words. That is really very sad but I insist that she does it and that she reads and understands the content. Otherwise the purpose of doing the project in the first place, the process of learning is lost.

Here is a simple way to help explain to children why they must cite sources when doing school projects and respect copyright. Check out the Interactive Tool from Cyberbee.com to teach kids about copyright.

For the young child doing projects for the first time, you may find that they enjoy designing the cover most of all, so let them have fun with it. Get colored pens, glitter pens etc so they can get creative while learning.

Another tip for parents helping kids with project. Don't do it for them! Show them the way so they will be independant in the future. It will help them and you too.

1 comment:

  1. Yup agree 100%, my daughter's teacher also grade higher for copy cat work rather than using their own words, so we have to decide whether it is better to copy to score higher or to read and write out own words based on understanding.

    Will bookmark this for my daughter's project, thanks again.


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