At Bell Primary our second language is Italian. Although we no longer have an Italian teacher, there is an expectation that we incorporate Italian into our weekly program. My Italian language is very limited so I needed to be creative in thinking of other ways to engage my students in the use of learning some Italian words.
Having used EPals before to collaborate with a class in the United States with a Grade 5/6 class several years ago made me once again go back to EPals to find a classroom and teacher in Italy who would like to converse with an international school.
Livia is from Genoa in Italy and teaches ICT to a Grade 5/6 class. She conducts lessons with two classrooms consisting of 44 students. This really suited my needs and another member of my team was really keen to join in. She is a second year graduate and I felt it would be a great learning opportunity for her to join in. It was also one way of bringing a staff member on board. It will be through her that hopefully other teachers will come on board with trying new and exciting learning opportunities for their students.
Livia and I set up personal Epals email for our students and then assigned students to each other. For the first email we encouraged students to introduce themselves and share information about their personal lives as well as school. They were also asked to consider some questions they would like to ask their Epals.
Several of my students received their first emails today and were so excited. The great thing about Epals is that you can translate what you write into Italian. Livia and I are getting the students to write in their native tongue and then copy what they have written before translating it into either English or Italian. They then paste their original message back into the email. This way students receive both an English and Italian version.
We hope that after writing to each other a few times that we can then start setting pairs a task or question that they can work on together. It is anticipated as we get to the end of the school year that we will try to do a Skype hook-up. The time difference may be an issue but I am sure we can work around it. Stay Tuned!