Friday, October 01, 2004

Escaping the exam

My daughter received kind of a hopeful assignment from her language arts class today. It gave the students an option for their quarterly exam grade -- they could either take the big, hairy test on "The Giver," or do a project instead. The projects were the sort of things I would have loved to do as a kid: write a three-page sequel to "The Giver," which ends in such an uncertain, unsatisfying way that most readers will have to make a sequel in their mind anyway; do a diorama depicting a scene from the book and write three paragraphs describing it; write a newsletter for the futuristic community described in the book; or do some sort of thing about bicycles that I couldn't quite figure out from looking over the paper. The chances of my daughter doing well on a test on this very low-plot, high-concept book are pretty slim, so I was excited that there were other options. She, of course, was so overwhelmed by the thought of all the writing and creating called for by the projects that she figured she'd maybe just take her chances with the test. I think I've got her talked into writing a sequel now; there are three weeks to do it, and lots of people to help her, and really no wrong answers. The biggest challenge will be not just writing the darn thing myself and dictating it to her. Bet I could get an A, too.

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