I wandered through the MS computer lab yesterday. There was some great stuff going on.
Mrs. West’s and Mrs. Berrigan’s students are writing their own books. The content is all their own- some are doing original stories, some are updating classic fairy tales, some are doing non-fiction. They also illustrate the books themselves as well. The kicker is they go to publication! The books are bound and published. Pretty cool. That’s “authentic” if anything is. I’m thinking they should be well-prepared when they get to HS and Mrs. Waterhouse introduces them to NaNoWriMo.
On the other side of the divider, Mr. King had his 21st Century students running a lemonade stand business. They had to take into account all sorts of factors- customer feedback, price of supplies, temperature, demand- and adjust what they did for the next day to try to maximize profit. All of the data was also fed into an Excel spreadsheet to be sorted and deciphered. Real world work, for sure.
Great stuff folks.