Authentic Project Ideas – Recording History in the Making

State College Penn State University    April 2, 2020

We are all living through a historical event of world-wide impact.  As with all history, we learn from what we experience, and should record these lessons for the future.

Keeping a diary, log, or photo-journal of current events about COVID-19 is an authentic way to record history in the making.  It is also a way to open up honest communication with our children about what is happening.  Honest age-appropriate communication to stress the importance of what is happening, while allaying overwhelming fears.  Even young children can keep a photo-journal of current events, without focusing on the parts they are not old enough to process and handle.

There are unbelievable pictures of empty streets in cities throughout the world.  Scenes that most of us have never seen in our lifetime.  This is an opportunity to learn more about our world, our inter-dependence, and develop a greater appreciation for others.  This is a time to increase our humanity.

The focus of my blog is authentic learning.  Make it real and make it count.  There is no better way to teach and learn.  Education is also the key to understanding, and understanding helps replace fear with rational thought and action.

Stay Safe, Stay Well

Caring Cards

IMG_20200327_104810127

With approximately one-third of the world’s population under some sort of restrictions, there is no better time to reach out to relatives, neighbors, and friends who are feeling isolated.

I have been making and sending cards out to people I know, and the reception has been humbling.  It is amazing the difference getting a card in the mail can make to someone feeling isolated and alone.  And it also helps me to feel less isolated, by reaching out to others.

Our children are feeling isolated as well.  This is a great time for children to make cards for others.  Not only are they authentically learning about giving and compassion for others, making the cards will help them feel less isolated.  (And they are also authentically practicing writing skills.)

Don’t forget to have them address the envelope – possible authentic geography lesson.  They should also put on the postage – this may lead to an authentic project about the cost of mailing letters, the history of stamps, stamp collecting…

For teenagers, they might want to make and send cards to nursing homes and thank you cards to hospital staff and first-responders.  They can do the research for what they would like to do, find addresses, etc.

And the above photo is a virtual “thinking of you” card for all of you.  Stay well!

Project Ideas for Teaching at Home

3028

I have always felt that authentic projects are the best way to teach.  With so many parents being called upon to educate their children at home, I wanted to reach out again to offer the ideas on my blog.

I started this blog as a way to share my passion, authentic teaching and learning.  I retired a few years ago, and I was ready to slow down.  But, I found that I still needed an outlet as a teacher.  My blog allows me to continue to share the ideas that I have about how to authentically educate children.

Thank you for allowing me to share my passion.  Best wishes to everyone and stay healthy.

 

Authentic Project Ideas – Coin Collecting

IMG_Foreign Coins

This is a post from awhile ago, but I thought I would repost it now.  Children are at home, and sorting through coins is a great activity that can be done at home and can involve lots of authentic learning:

While searching for information on the United States Mint, I accidentally ended up on a site that sold coins.  (Don’t you love how companies set up domain names with one different letter from another domain, hoping you will type a wrong letter and end up at their site – and maybe not even notice.)  Once I realized I was on the wrong site, I was fascinated by the price of coins.  What makes a coin extra valuable? Some of the current coins were still in circulation, why would anyone pay more for a coin that they could still get for face value in circulation? What is a “proof” coin? Do the pictures a country places on its coins (and/or paper currency) tell you something about that country?

I was then reminded of the coin collection I had as a child, and how much fun it was to collect coins.  I learned so much about geography and was constantly using math without even realizing it.  (Value of foreign currency, exchange rates, saving my allowance to buy a coin I really wanted…)

So many questions, so many possible authentic teaching moments, and maybe even an authentic project…