I’ve already written several posts on #iwla15, but it was such an amazing conference that there are still more to share. Today’s blog post was inspired by the How Can Teaching World Languages Save the World? presentation by Jacob Hunter of The World Food Prize. There were a lot of great sessions in this time slot (Trivia Crack!?, the award-winning: Five Spanish Teachers and a Bag of ‘Tricks’), and it was extremely difficult to pick just one. However, I truly believe in the magic of using Content-Based Instruction (CBI) with Comprehensible Input (CI) methods, and I also admire teachers like Carrie Toth (Twitter: @senoraCMT; Blog: SomeWhereToShare) who get their kids involved in helping those from the target culture through various initiatives. I knew that this session would give me inspiration for a truly magical unit in the future.
The presenter shared a lot of information about The World Food Prize, about the fellowships and other scholarships available, and educated us on the global issues that The World Food Prize takes on. The World Food Prize recognizes individuals who advance or improve the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. The organization heavily encourages students to get involved and solve current global problems as they relate to food, water, etc. It hosts the Iowa Youth Institute in April and chooses 80 students, who have researched and written a paper on global food security issues, to represent Iowa at the Global Youth Institute in October here in Des Moines, Iowa. Students meet with delegates from around the world and country to discuss relevant issues at the Global Youth Institute, and have the opportunity to earn relevant, powerful scholarships that will allow them to make a real difference in the world. The USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship and the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship are two such prestigious scholarships. While these opportunities are not exclusive to Iowa, I feel that we as Iowan educators – world language or otherwise – need to take advantage of these amazing opportunities that are right here in our home state that can benefit the world.
I also really liked the activity that Jacob had us do during the presentation. It was nice to get up and be hands on during a conference, and I tried to plan my own session, #HackYourClassroom, with this in mind. In the activity, Jacob read off statements that pertained to food, hunger, and water. For example, “I worry about if I will eat tonight when I get home.” We had slips of paper that were numbered and said never, sometimes, often, and/or always next to the numbers. As he read of the statements, participants then stepped forward or backward based on what Jacob told them. At the end, you then looked around and had a visual representation of what hunger looked like in the USA. It’s really quite a powerful message, and reminded me of this What is Privilege? video:
I can see this being used in all sorts of units to help students visualize the big issues we tackle in our classrooms. It would be great because students would have to listen to the statements you are reading in the Target Language (TL), and it would also help them visualize the importance of what is being spoken about. If you wanted to enhance the visualization component of this activity (especially important for novice levels), you yourself could act out each statement you read or have the students act it out while they move forward or backward. This would be a great activity for Chapter 5 of Felipe Alou (which deals with segregation here in the US) or for most of the AP themes (Global Challenges, Sciences and Technology, Families and Communities, Beauty and Aesthetics are the ones that I think of). How powerful would it be to take the statistics from one of those Did you know? videos and have students rearrange themselves based on those facts! That would be great for number reviews, too! Or, if you have heritage speakers or advanced students, consider allowing them do the research for various topics and allowing them to be the teacher!
Thank you, World Food Prize, for all you are doing for our students and for the citizens of the world!