Pen Pal Project

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SWBAT use information gained through text and video to write to a pen pal.

Big Idea

Having a Pen Pal can help me argue?

Warm Up

10 minutes

Today is Model Monday.  For more information see the warm up in an earlier lesson here.  

Since we will be beginning our Penpal project today, I want to give students a bit of practice responding to text with evidence in the correct way.  I will ask students to refer to the evidence poster in the classroom which they also have a copy of in their binder. (I gave this to students earlier in the year.  Shout out to the person who created it.  I wish I knew a name.  I found it on Pinterest.)  

I like the simplicity of this short list of text based responses, so it is perfect to use with todays model sentences. I'll remind students that they are a few of many ways to build a response with text references.  I do not want them thinking these are the "be all end all" ways to do this.

Copy the following sentences:

1. I did not find evidence in the text to support the authors statement on page 1, "Dogs are superior to Cats."

2. For example, the author gave several general examples of cats acting in a negative way, but did not provide the professional opinion of an expert in the field to support that this is comma behavior for all cats.

3. Based on what I read, it seems that the authors biased and did not consider both sides of the argument.

Below these write:

What I notice about these sentences:




After their discussion time, I will ask students to share what they noticed and I'll steer them toward what I want them to notice. I want them to notice that each sentence makes reference to the text but in different ways. We'll talk about how the different ways work, that eatery single sentence shouldn't be like these but several should and the value of referencing the text when you are explaining yourself.

Today's Model Monday task is a little different. This is the point when I would ask students to create their own three sentences based on the models. However, instead of asking students to create three randomly generated sentences in their entry, students will use their Penpal work today to create authentic sentences based on the three models above.

Students can copy the sentences they use in their work into their journal as they create them. Discussion, etc will take place in the wrap up.


Lesson/Independent Work

40 minutes

Pen Pal Week 1

To summarize the program, here is a brief description from Joe at Pen Pal News:

"PenPal News is an online program that connects over 25 thousand students from around the world and across the USA to discover new cultures, learn about important global issues, and practice foreign languages with native speakers.  Our curriculum guides students through weekly Common Core-aligned assignments on national topics such as history and culture, as well as global issues like the Environment and Technology.  

Assignments include educational videos, engaging texts, and discussion questions that make communication interesting for students and easy for teachers.  Students submit their assignments and write to their PenPals on our website application, and teachers can log on to review and comment on their students' work.  This short video shows how it works using an actual exchange between students in America and Afghanistan.

The program is open to students age 10-22 with beginner to advanced language skills.  Our next sessions begin in September and October,  2014 and we offer a complete 6-week free trial for first-time teachers.  Interested teachers should sign up to secure their spot at Penpal news.

Essentially, today, my students will view the video of the week, read the associated article, respond to the questions and send their responses to their penal.  Since this is the first week, they haven't met their pal yet.   Starting next week they will see their pals response to the same information/questions and get a chance to react/respond directly to them. There is also a question that allows students to introduce themselves to each other.  Today, we're getting our feet wet in a very "real world" way.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

To wrap up class today, I want to bring the class together and allow students to have a quick conversation about today's work to complete the Model Monday entry. Each student should have used the Model Monday example sentences to craft sentences in their penpal responses.  Three based on the models would have been copied into their entry.

As always with Model Monday practice students will share their three sentences at their table and choose one per table to share with the class.

We will build from here with in class writing and journal tasks and the next Model Monday/Penpal Day.

*Additionally, if anyone is not finish with their Penpal tasks I want to remind them that they can access their account from home.  They actually have several days to complete any unfinished work before the Penpal Administrators forward the work to their penpal.