The global awareness lesson I chose involved using e-pal to communicate with students in China. Because students are already participating in the Chinese immersion program, this was a tie in to lessons already happening. There is a classroom in China learning English. Our classroom is in America learning Chinese. Because of this, both classrooms can benefit while enhancing their direct knowledge of each other's culture through their discussions. Our classroom will email/respond weekly in English. The classroom in China will email/respond weekly in Chinese. Through this, the classroom in china will be reading English but responding in their home language while our students will read Chinese while responding in English. Both classrooms benefit.
To incorporate it into the classroom, we would first practice using the system and emailing.
To begin the lesson, we will look at and discuss an email and how it should look. We will brainstorm as whole group what we could talk about in an email and what kind of details should go in an email. We will then discuss and brainstorm questions we could as someone we are writing in a first email.
In a separate lesson, we will discuss basic information about Chinese culture. We will fill out the KWL chart of what the students know and want to know about the Chinese School Culture. We will then read the article and discuss what the children learned about Chinese School Culture. What the children want to know but was not answered by the article, they will ask in their first emails to the students in China.
Finally, we will individually compose our first emails to our e-pals in China. This will be followed by the children checking their email and responding weekly for the remainder of the year.
Ada, thank you for sharing your activities...great unit! I love the fact that students will be teaching their languages to one another and corresponding weekly throughout the remainder of the year. The KWL chart is an excellent way to activate their prior knowledge and to revisit and see their growth of knowledge at the end of the year. With China, especially Singapore and Hong Kong, ranking high in reading, math and science, it would be interesting to see if, through this correspondence, that would have an even greater effect on these students in terms of student achievement.
Thanks Kelly! I like that they are teaching each other as well. Also, they are not limited in the activity by what they don't know because they are writing back in their first language! So even children who have limitations can easily participate successfully. Your idea is interesting! I hadn't thought about changes in student achievement because of their interactions! I really believe that would be a possibility worth evaluating!
Hi Ada! This sounds like a terrific activity. I like that you are exposing your students to another culture and that you are facilitating language immersion via the ePals website. I recall when I was taking Spanish in high school that our learning was somewhat limited because we were not speaking with native speakers of the language on a regular basis. Also, we learned about the culture through lectures, videos and readings, which is informative, but not as much so as talking with people of the culture. I think that digital technologies will continue to improve the way we learn. I like your lesson because it incorporates 21st century skills, reading, writing and research. As teachers, we have a responsibility to educate the whole student. Your lesson is a great example of this. Way to go!
Thanks Stephanie! I had the same issue with Spanish. With no-one to speak it with it really disappears quickly. I still get a kick out of recognizing various words or sentences though! Learning through videos and readings is how I was learning as well, and it was not easy. Thanks again!