My co-author and I received a very thoughtful letter from a fourth grade teacher with more than twenty years’ experience from upstate New York. She writes:
There were a couple of times I found myself cringing with a tad of guilt as I read the book. Although I wonâ€™t do a cereal box or diorama book report, I usually do a few similar type book reports each year. I give the students quite a bit of time to complete the project at school (I help to supply the materials as well), but there are always some students that need some extra time. In that case, I have to let them work at home. I try to give the students a week to work on the project, along with many discussions about budgeting time. I feel these book reports allow some of my non-writers a chance to express themselves in a different style. It also allows the children an opportunity to learn about budgeting their time. I do think children need opportunities to learn, take risks, make mistakes and be successful. I feel very comfortable with these projects, but your points are well taken.
And, you can go to the forums and discuss the many issues she raises, including, “Because of your book I am going to rethink my shaky policy about ‘no homework, no recess.’ Do you have suggestions as to alternatives?”