Second graders today are doing work in school that was unimaginable when I was seven. It’s not only the complexity of some of the things they are asked to learn that is responsible for this, but also the fact that the tools they have to work with were simply beyond our imaginations 40 years ago.
At our most recent parent/teacher conference, we were asked to bring our second grader along with us. This change in protocol had an ominous color to it; we imagined them wanting us all together when they explained why we would be asked to leave the school district. Once we discovered we were not the only parents instructed to bring their child, we felt better about it.
Midway through the conference, our son retrieved a notebook computer from the corner of the classroom, logged onto his account and showed us a PowerPoint presentation he had been working on. The kids were assigned a biographical presentation. My son chose as his subject a “famous” author. A few of the slides follow.
Biography’s don’t usually bring me to tears, but I found this one especially touching.
He found all the images on the Internet and incorporated them into his project. He is not bothered by distortion as far as I can tell. Some of the images got a little pixellated in the transition, but the most prominent distortion is the fame of his subject. Yet, we all have to make our own artistic decisions.
Speaking of distortion, some of his facts are a little off. His recollection of why he put a Christmas ornament into my mouth is incorrect: we never run out of cookies.
Also, though apparently born there, I’m not sure where Mohalkvill is. I’m pretty sure he means the Mohawk Valley, but the New York part is right, so why quibble over details.
On the other hand, the part about having been born in 19 something is absolutely correct. That’s exactly when I was born. The age is correct, and I was relieved to learn that I am still alive, a fact that is sometimes in doubt but I hope he got right.
He was not finished with the project at this time, so I’m not sure if he meant to remove the book covers from my face or do the more appropriate thing and completely paste over my head. For now, we’ll have to be content that a good portion of the unsightliness lies hidden.
Being the subject of a biography is a sobering responsibility. I have to work hard to prove I was a worthy subject. This will be difficult, as my natural inclination will be to let my new fame go to my head and to begin putting on airs.