Five Ways to Provide an Authentic Audience for Your Students

I am so very pleased to host Brenda Martin from Teaching Dreaming Learning. You will add so much to your students’ time in your classroom if you use even one of her ideas. 

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains.  The great teacher inspires.

–William Arthur Ward
As a classroom teacher, I want my students to look back on third grade with fantastic memories of our hands-on science experiments, our fabulous writing projects, interactive field trips, and our classroom community of 21st century learners.  I want this for them, but most of all I want them to leave knowing that they can make a difference in this world.  They have a voice.  I want them to be inspired.  This year, I worked to inspire my students by providing them with an authentic audience, an audience beyond the walls of our classroom or even our school.  This post is dedicated to teachers who work every day to inspire students to change this world…one project at a time.
Five Simple Ways to Provide an Authentic Audience for Your Students
    1.  Work with non-profits.   Find a non-profit organization that your students are passionate about or one that connects with your standards.  Encourage students to make a difference in this world by working closely with real life organizations.  This might mean blogging with students in Kenya, Africa or raising money for victims of a weather disaster.  Let your students choose and you will provide them with an experience they will never forget.
    2. Contact the local news.  Are your students proud of their accomplishments?  Of course they are.  Celebrate their work by bringing their projects beyond the school and inviting the local news to learn about their work.  News organizations love hearing about great things students are doing and your students will see how their work is getting recognized.  The more people who see it, the bigger difference they can make.
    3. Mail or email their work to organizations.  When students know they are writing a report or an opinion piece for more than just a grade, their work becomes so much more meaningful.  This year, I had my students choose their topic for their non-fiction report and then choose their audience.  They wrote their report for a classroom grade and then we sent it off to organizations all over the world including the Indian Embassy, local pet stores, even the White House.  Guess what…many students got letters back.  This simple addition to report writing showed my students that they have a voice in our world. Check out this project created by one of my third graders and sent to President Obama.  I know this was a report she will never forget!
    4. Contact your local museum.  Whether it’s a history museum or a science museum, ask if you can share your student’s work for a seasonal display or even on the website.  It’s a great opportunity for students to celebrate their achievements with an authentic audience of other museum goers and these organizations often love to showcase student work.
    5. Give your students the gift of a digital portfolio.  This is a simple way to share their work ALL OVER THE WORLD.  Now Grandma from Tennessee and Aunt Tina from Mexico can view student work on their digital portfolio. Click on the image below to download this resource for free.

What have you done to find an authentic audience for your students? We’d love to hear about it. Please share with a comment.

About Brenda

I am a teacher, mom, and wife from Denver, Colorado, but not always in that order!  I have been teaching in the elementary grades for over ten years. Over my years of teaching, I have become passionate about 21st century education and have become a trainer to help teachers transform classroom practice by incorporating critical thinking skills, communication, collaboration, and creativity into daily instruction. I work closely with my teaching partner, Ryanne VanSciver to bring these trainings to teachers across the Denver metro area.  You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Teachers Pay, Teachers, and on our blog.

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