For my lesson I chose to search Epals.com.  The site had wonderful ideas from educators around the globe and one caught my eye.  It was a class in the UK that wanted to do a message in a bottle project to learn about the culture of students from other countries.  I took this idea and make it my own.  I first simplified the idea by doing a pen pal match with the other classroom instead of having each student focus on a different country.  What I wanted my students to do is to write a paragraph to explain about their daily lives and then I wanted them to create a presentation about their lives to send to their ePal.  Their partner would do the same thing and send it to my student.  Once the student has both pieces of information they would write an essay comparing and contrasting their lives to their partner's life.  If my students wanted to take it one step further they could create a presentation comparing and contrasting using Power Point or using a screen-cast of information they gathered.  

      If I were to actually do this in my classroom I would probably choose a different country.  I like the idea of using the UK because there are a lot of similarities, but I think it would be more beneficial for my students if they connected with a country that they know very little about.  I would also maybe extend this to classes from different countries.  It would broaden my students' knowledge of different cultures, and this would promote more global awareness.  Before I would use this lesson I would truly need to consider what I want my students to get out of the lesson, whether it be to compare and contrast their life and culture to someone else's or to truly learn about several different cultures around the world.

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Replies to This Discussion

Nicole, This is a REALLY cool idea and I can see it's usefulness in the classroom. It gives the students a different view of daily events while giving them access to reading and writing skills. I also like the focus on a different country. I think that sometimes, our students can take our way of life for granted. Very intriguing concept! I would love to alter this idea for my music classroom as well. Awesome idea!  

     Hi Nicole!  I think the activity that you created would be helpful to students on multiple levels.  Learning about other cultures is an important part of understanding the larger world, as well as our own.  Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected (due to advances in technology), so knowing how to communicate with those different than ourselves is very important.  Your activity helps students learn how to do this while, at the same time, allowing them to work on reading and writing skills, as well as public speaking and presentation skills.  Great job!

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