Unit Description:

In this unit students will establish an educational partnership with a classroom from another country to practice their second language skills. This partnership will be established through ePals Global community and will include email and Skype videochat communication. Students will communicate via email over a several month period in the cooperating classroom’s native language and then will have the opportunity to videoconference with that classroom as a whole class to practice their speaking and listening language skills. The ePals Global Community site handles the contact information between the two classrooms so a teacher can contact a potential partner with the click of a button.


Standards (California State Content Standards):

*Second Language Acquisition is not a part of the California State Content Standards.

Sample Lesson:

Individual Instruction: The lab portion of the this unit will last over a period of several months as students spend about an hour a week communicating with their electronic pen pal. For this lesson sample, a classroom in California who wishes to learn Spanish will participate with a fifth grade Columbian classroom at Colegio Campestre Americano School who would like to learn English. They will share information with each other about daily life doing their best to use the other’s native language and using Google Translate when necessary. They will communicate back and forth responding to the other’s questions and asking for information back.

Whole Group Instruction: After students have established a friendship with these students by communicating through email back and forth for several months, students will come together as a whole group and videoconference the fifth grade Columbian classroom. They will practice listening and speaking as they communicate verbally with one another. It will be motivating for students to learn the language because of the relationship they have built with their pen pals and a desire to communicate effectively with their new friends.

Assessing the Tool:

1. Was the tool simple to use as a teacher? For the students?

3. What could be done differently to maximize the effectiveness of the tool?

Assessing the Lesson:

  1. Did this lesson enhance student multicultural understanding?

  2. Did this lesson develop collaborative skills amongst the students?

  3. Did this lesson allow students to reach an understanding of the overlying concepts and objectives?