"Creativity is contagious, pass it on." ~Albert Einstein

Monday, February 24, 2014

Making Learning Authentic

I witnessed something the other night that I think ought to happen more often.  I witnessed students and teachers from all over the United States (and two from Honduras), using Twitter to practice and learn. Yes, I said Twitter.  The students and teachers were participating in #spanstuchat that was founded by our two Spanish teachers Rebecca Huls and Kara McNeese.

I can't walk by their rooms without having a big smile on my face.  I hear laughter and music, I see movement and students having fun while they are learning. The enthusiasm that is emitted from their rooms is inspiring!  

What are they doing that makes it so special? They are making learning authentic in their classrooms.  I've seen their classrooms set up as an airport terminal, complete with TSA check-in at the door.  Students walked in, went through the routine of checking in and had to do it all while speaking Spanish.  One of my favorite times to sneak into their classes is when The Market is taking place.  Students bring all sorts of baked goodies, set up their booths and sell their items using fake money.  Oh yea, they do this all while communicating in the language they are learning.  Last week the Olympics were taking place in Honors Spanish.  Talk about a fun learning environment!  Don't believe me?  Check out their class hashtag #auroraspanish Social media in the classroom?  They have that covered too.  They knew that their students were using Twitter, so they created #spanstuchat, a monthly chat focused on student voice.

Are you making learning authentic in your classroom?  Are you making your content relevant to your students. Are you still doing activities and units that you were doing when you started teaching? Change it up!  I've always said that creativity costs you nothing.  Thank you Rebecca and Kara for providing such an awesome learning environment for your students!

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