Contributed by Kara Bellis, Middle School Language Arts Teacher
This year my colleague and I participated in the Global Read Aloud which provided an authentic learning experience for my students. Students read the book Fish by L.S. Matthews and corresponded with students in Australia and New Zealand. When beginning this new venture, I was overwhelmed with fears of not meeting the ELA standards and being behind with my curriculum. However, as the weeks progressed, I realized my students were still conquering the mandated standards of reading, writing, and speaking. More importantly, they had engaged in a unit they were authentically engaged in, and as a result their responses were of higher quality. Projects emerged from the correspondence that may have never transpired otherwise. Students were going home and logging on in the evening hours in hopes of speaking directly with children from Australia based on the time zone difference. So, did the students benefit from this authentic experience to showcase their literacy? Has their education been impacted even though I didn’t directly teach the standards and curriculum? If so, has it been impacted positively or negatively?