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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Bringing Cultures Together

Project URL:

How it works:
Students participating in this international project are exposed to many different components of technology: research, blog writing, e-pals, and PowerPoint presentations. After choosing a country, students research and gather information on various topics related to their subject, using templates to help organize their work. They are assigned a student from E-pals.com to e-mail regularly, with hopes of asking questions and learning more about the country's culture, people, and more. The teacher helps set up each E-pal link, contacting the teacher in the appropriate country and linking the student with a student in his/her classroom. Students are also required to create a blog. Here, they use their creative writing skills to take the research they have gathered and incorporate it into three different blog entries. Students imagine that they are on a journey in the country they are researching. They write a blog to express their thoughts and feelings on the many sights and experiences. Using factual information from their research tied into creative writing, they create a PowerPoint presentation for their final project. Students must produce a minimum of eleven slides, each with specific information on their country, and they make their presentations to the class. Each assignment gives students great exposure to the many different aspects of technology in the classroom while having important learning experiences.  

Standards addressed:  
Students employ the English language for information and understanding, and for literary response, enjoyment, and expression. Critical analysis and evaluation develops students’ abilities to read, write, listen, and speak. English for social and classroom interaction outlines strategies, both in and out of school, that LEP/ELLs must master to communicate effectively in English. English for cross-cultural knowledge and understanding articulates the components of acquiring a “second culture” in both social and academic contexts.

Materials used: 
For this project, each student needs a computer with Internet access and Microsoft PowerPoint software. An LCD projector will be needed for the classroom when presentations will be made.

The students:
The students involved in this project are ESL advanced students who have completed three or more years of ESL. Their English ability is relatively strong, and they have very good command of the English language. They are asked to choose a country that they know little about, but want the opportunity to learn a lot about. Students work individually throughout the entire project.

Overall value:
The use of e-pals and blog writing is a great addition to what would have otherwise be a typical research project. Students are able to ask questions about the country being researched and get information from a real person, not just another Internet site. In addition, students practice their writing skills through e-mail writing. By creating a blog, students are exposed to a way of communicating that is commonly used throughout the Internet. Students tap into their creative side, and imagine they are actually in the country they are researching. This is great way for students to use the information they collect, connecting it with their research by writing about it in a creative way.

This project can be done at any time. Students may need extra time in setting up with e-pals. In addition, it is helpful to give students a model copy of a blog entry, since some students felt the blog was seen as "lying" rather than creative writing. Once they begin writing, they quickly get involved.


About the teacher:
Cari Gersh is currently an ESL teacher at Christopher Columbus High School. She has been teaching for three years, and teaches all levels of ESL. She recently graduated with a Masters Degree in ESL and participated in the New York City Teaching Fellows program.


Subject Areas: 
Social Studies

Grade Level: 
10 -12



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