Last winter break, Dylan came home with a Solar System project that I know my neighbors spent beaucoup bucks at JoAnne Fabrics and Hobby Lobby getting supplies and then hours and hours cutting, folding, painting, etc. We encouraged our son to create his on his own from supplies we had at home. The Solar System he created was not a thing of beauty, but he did learn about scale and how to transfer that to a replica of the solar system, and the order of the planets. String, balls of colored paper and a bend coat hanger did the job.
I am so proud of my son for taking his learning into his own hands and asking his teacher to change the project. I am so pleased with his 4th grade teacher Ms. Lardo, for taking a chance and allowing student choice to modify her lesson plans. I hope that other teachers will see this project, and perhaps allow student choice to transform their projects from a very low tech diorama to a more 21st century project, with an authentic audience and that embraces creativity.
When I checked before writing this post, he already had 2 comments and 54 views of his video, and I have only shared it on Facebook! Talk about an audience larger than his teacher or class! Dylan saw the comments people left for him earlier today, (thanks @jepke and @JMGubbins for taking the time) and was so pleased to have feedback from viewers. He eyes lit up. I had tears in my eyes.