We had a great time presenting with Erika Shupe and Kris Morehead on a session called “Teaching outside of the box.” We all shared a story and it got me thinking about real audiences and how motivating they can be!


Erika’s Latin class in Bozeman, Montana noticed that The Weather Channel had used a random list for naming the winter storms. They thought it would be neat to give the storms classic names from Greek and Roman culture so they sent emails suggesting they help come up with the next year’s list. Long story, short… The Weather Channel read the emails, loved the idea, and started a collaboration.

For the last few years, these students have had the opportunity to do press releases and share their story for local and national news, NPR and more! They were directly emailing top meteorologists and even got an official visit from the Weather Channel to their school. They are still choosing names and learning a lot about history and culture along the way! Here are the names they chose for this year’s winter storms.


I love that Erika took action on this project. This whole journey started with a simple email. We can all do that.

Is there an organization or charity you could help, donate to, or support?

Corazones para Peru (school, family, community)

Haiti Replacement Homes (environment/houses)

Could your students come up with a solution/solve a big problem?

Samsung Community Challenge (PBL, tech, current issues)

Could you come up with a big idea to help native speakers in your community?

Nike – School innovation 

What have you done in your class? What could you try? What contests, grants, or charities would give out kids a chance to use and develop their language skills?