I must confess, when I first heard that the "Wanderbus" pronounced, "Vahnderbus" was coming to Riverbluff High School, I was a little confused and also curious. I thought to myself, "Hmmm...a bus that is driving across the United States to bring interactive resources about German language and culture will be parked in the parking lot of the high school?" I guess I was actually kind of picturing the Magic School Bus and Mrs. Frizzle with a German accent in my mind. But as the date drew closer, and I began to read more about the experience, I thought, "This is an incredible idea." And sure enough, on the day it arrived, I was truly impressed!
I got there early, and saw the bus, shining in the morning sun, really more of a giant semi-truck. My excitement grew as I introduced myself and found out there were two representatives of the Goethe Institute, along with the truck driver, who have committed the next few months of their lives to bringing this experience to high school and college campuses across the U.S. As I watched them begin the set-up I felt like I was watching roadies for a famous rock band. The sides of the truck opened up and before I knew it, there were virtual reality displays, a photo booth, iPads stations and many other interactive displays ready for students to enjoy.
Inside the school, preparations had begun as well. Frau Buckliew and Frau Lopez had invited the German immersion students from DES to visit and buddy up with a high school German student as they experienced the Wanderbus.
When I entered the school, to find out if they needed anything from me as the set up was going on outside, I saw a ring of students, both large and small, in the atrium, right next to the front office, chanting in German at the top of the their lungs, and Frau Buckliew in the center, leading the charge. I thought to myself with a smile, "Well, she sure knows how to make her German classes visible in the school!" Clearly, they did not need my help, as the teachers and students had prepared signs and other activities to welcome the bus.
When they did finally make it outside to experience the event, I saw kids, young and old, experiencing virtual tours of Germany, learning the geography of Germany and building a "highway" out of giant puzzle pieces to experience the German Autobahn. In short, they were truly "Wunderbar Together" as the sign on the back of the bus stated.
Thank you Fraus Buckliew, Lopez, Fretwell and Ward for all of your hard work and collaboration to bring this experience to your students. It was a unique and engaging experience that I doubt any of your students (or colleagues) will ever forget.
World Language Teacher Support Specialist (and Language Enthusiast)