Thursday, March 10, 2016

Google Hangout with Monterrey, Mexico Provides Authentic Learning Experience

Who is your favorite teacher?
What is your favorite color?
What type of music do you like?
Do you like hamburgers?
Do you know the movie Frozen?

The above questions may seem simple, but translating these questions into Spanish and then carrying on a conversation surrounding the topic with native speakers challenged our 8th grade beginning Spanish speakers to test their skills in an authentic way.

Using Google Hangouts, we met with a class of teens from Monterrey, Mexico. Each of our students had the chance to sit in our "hotseat," ask questions in Spanish, and then carry on a conversation based on the response. In turn, students in Monterrey also asked us questions in English.

While the conversations related mostly to "favorites," they also turned philosophical and funny at points. One Monterrey student wondered how we would define success. At a different time, our students wanted to know if Monterrey students were familiar with the dance move "the dab." Laughter broke out on both sides when Monterrey students sang Frozen's "Let it Go" in Spanish and when we accidentally mistook their question about the Japanese comic form Anime for favorite animal.

Overall, it was amazing to see how easily kids from different parts of the world connected with one another. Their likes tended to be more similar than different, and it was most impressive how well all students could carry on a conversation and read between the lines despite the language barrier.

De Pere Middle School students had a fantastic time getting to know the students from Monterrey! Muchos gracias to Patricia Gonzalez and all of your fabulous students!

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