A teacher on Twitter recently remarked on the benefits of using slides that students provide to generate Star of the Day interviews. I concur! If we use student slides, we don’t have to wonder what is important to students! Students also get to ask a question about others. (Thanks to Skip Crosby and Cynthia Hitz for this teaching hint; elementary teachers can ask parents for slides.)
Victoria Maximova and I volunteer to team-teach a weekly beginning Russian class for OLE (Opportunities for Lifelong Education). Some in the class have now had two years’ worth of eight-week sessions, and some have only recently started. One of the more advanced students types words into the chat that she thinks beginners might not recognize (a trick I learned in an Agen French class with Daniel, Sabrina, and Carla). We have grown to know one another fairly well by sharing pictures and questions.
Because I wanted to use a particular video this session, we have been asking students about their favorite cuisines and dishes. We also ask who likes to cook, who likes to do dishes, and who in the household does those things.
Today two (married) students said that they like Italian cuisine. It happens to be International Pizza Day, information that I had shared as part of calendar talk. There are laws in Italy about everything having to do with preparation of pizza! Victoria lives in Italy, and she added that there are laws about preparing espresso as well. We started talking about who likes coffee, tea, whether with milk…
And then, because the man in the couple said he liked pizza best, we talked about the Italian law. We explained that Anchorage pizzarias do not follow any rules. A student said she likes pizza, but not Hawaiian pizza. What is Hawaiian pizza? Off we went, and we learned about legal pizza ingredients.
Suddenly it was the end of class again, so naturally we never got to the slides in our program about the little video we were going to watch. We may never watch it. Discussing “real life” always takes priority, and it is especially interesting with Victoria, who has fascinating stories about Italy and Russia to share. I wish I could team-teach all my lessons with her …
My takeaways here: 1) use students as the curriculum. 2) team teach if possible.