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Teaching Foreign Languages Workshops Home
    8: Engaging With Communities

Put It Into Practice: Activity A

Before You Watch
Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic
Put it Into Practice
Action Research Project
Reflect on Your Learning

Library Video Chart
Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B

Activity A: Creating Electronic Communities

Electronic communication can help teachers -- especially those who teach a language in the absence of a local community of speakers -- provide their students with opportunities to interact with native speakers. Throughout this session, you have seen several examples of email interactions. In the article "Communities of Learners," Spanish-language students in New York communicated with students in Chile. In the video, students in Marylee DiGennaro's Italian class exchanged information about U.S. and Italian homes with students in Italy.

For this activity, imagine that you have set up an email exchange with a classroom in a region where your target language is spoken. Design email tasks for students that will span the entire school year. You can use the Plan for Email Interactions (PDF, 56 K) form.
  1. Theme/Topic. For each month of the school year, select a theme or topic from your curriculum that can be the focus of students' email exchanges. Keep in mind that current events may arise that you will want to incorporate into the exchanges. Although planning the interactions is important, be prepared to be flexible so that students gain the most from the interactions.
  1. Preparation. Determine how you will prepare students for each exchange. For example, what vocabulary terms and grammar structures will students need to understand in order to write their messages? Also, are there cultural aspects that students need to learn about?
  1. Email communication task. Describe the email communication task that students will complete each month. For example, if students will be studying sports, they can describe their favorite sports and those of their family or friends in the email.
  1. Cultural inquiry. Finally, determine what questions about culture students should ask their keypals to respond to in their email. You may want students to ask their keypals about the same topic that you are studying now. You might also have students ask questions about a topic that you will be studying the following month or about a current event, so that you can incorporate the responses into future lessons.
AssignmentSubmit your plan for email interactions as an assignment.

Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B

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8: Engaging With Communities > Introduction | Before You Watch | Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic | Put It Into Practice | Action Research Project | Reflect on Your Learning
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