Never mind the politics, what happened with the diorama, you want to know. Or maybe you never even heard about the diorama, but here I am to tell you all about it. A few weeks ago Dash struck terror into my parental heart by bringing home his first project assignment - for that most iconic of American elementary-school items: a diorama.
Now, I had only heard of dioramas in The Simpsons and the like, and never really knew what they were, other than something schoolchildren were required to make. Luckily, Facebook and Google came to my rescue when presented with a requirement for one of our very own, and I soon discovered that for these purposes a diorama is a 3-D scene presented in a small space, for example a shoebox.
As luck would have it, Dash's project was to be just that, and we even had a shoebox in the house already. (Several of my friends suggested that I might have to go out and buy a new pair of shoes in order to get it, and wouldn't that have been just terrible, but no, we were all set. Ah well. Maybe next time.) It was to portray a habitat, and should use recycled materials as much as possible.
I was afraid this marked the beginning of a long career in doing my children's science projects, something I really didn't want to ever get roped into. But Dash, to my delight, seemed to know exactly what he had to do, had a clear vision for his art, and would barely even stop to listen while I read the instructions and gave a little advice. I didn't press him to look at the photos I'd found online, since he obviously knew what he wanted. Apparently all those years of pestering us to "help him" make masks, robot suits, jet packs, Thor's hammers, wings, swords, shields, and rockets out of cardboard boxes were not for naught.
A couple of days later notification of an extended deadline came home, along with a "rubric" for the marking of the diorama. (I can only assume that some of the parents felt they needed more information for their masterpiece.) We were told that two points would be awarded for having the correct plants and animals in the habitat, two each for labelling at least one plant and one animal, two for labelling the whole thing with the name and location of the habitat, and two for neat presentation. Right, then.
So without more ado, and with great pride, I present Dash's first diorama, made entirely by himself, aged almost six-and-a-half, with no help from adults.
Close-up for detail. I didn't say anything about the missing 'n'. I thought it added a nice touch of authenticity. He was so enthusiastic, so certain about exactly what he wanted to do, I was just standing back and staying out of the way, lest I accidentally say anything to break the spell.
I happened to be in the classroom yesterday, so I saw all the dioramas on display. I'm pretty sure there was more parental input than just spelling advice on the ones that had printed labels, for example. Sheesh.
Dash's may not have been the neatest, the one with the best writing, the most realistically drawn, the one with everything spelled correctly, or the most beautiful; but by heck it's the best first-grade diorama I've ever seen.
I hope his teacher can see that too.