03 February 2009

A project based on motivation

Here in Kentucky we're still digging out from last week's ice storm. Yesterday I was able to get online for the first time in a week, so today, it's back to blogging!

If you've taught from a textbook for very long, you've found that they're just not motivating to students who aren't already self-motivated, and motivation is absolutely the key to success. Anyone without a brain defect that inhibits language can acquire another language if motivated enough. I'm convinced that our biggest task is finding ways for our students to interact with the language in ways that are 1) meaningful to them and 2) meaningful in light of the world around them, because that's motivating.

A project I came across seems to be especially good for this, because they get to pick the topic of their interaction, in the highly visual and auditory format of the internet (and isn't this generation visual!). I talked about my Spanish 2 students completing last years' best internet worksheets in this post. You can read the entire project description and requirements in this document.

It amazes me the sites they come up with for this--usually something they're really in to that I wouldn't even think of. Some of the best ones I've seen are Coke Costa Rica and McDonald's Mexico. I also had students do Nestle's cooking site and Louis Vuitton handbags. Disney and Nike are always favorites. There are a million choices out there, anything from the Dominican Republic's official baseball league to Warner Bros to Pantene, the White House, the art museum El Prado (careful with that one, some of the art is, well, nude), and Nintendo Wii. The limit is only their imagination!

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