Using Digital Tools and E-Pals to Enhance Descriptive Writing
Santa Maria-Bonita School District
Title: Who's My E-Pal?
Note: Prior to Lesson One, the teacher should have already set up E-pals with another class, preferably out of their "neighborhood".
Materials and Technology Needed:
- E-pals (Gaggle.net is a wonderful site for setting up filtered student e-mail accounts!)
- At least one computer station as a center, but a mini lab would be wonderful!! If neither are available , the school computer lab could be used if it has Internet access and a word processor.
- Digital Camera
- Review with the students the form of a friendly letter with at least two paragraphs for the body of the letter
- Create a story web on the chalkboard using yourself as an example
- Discuss what some possible topic sentences could be for the paragraphs in the body of the letter (recent activities, schoolwork, goals, etc.) One of the paragraphs must include a physical description of themselves using very descriptive language. Discuss that the paragraph must have enough clues to help their E-pals guess who they are from a digital picture.
- Review supporting sentences
- Add sample supporting sentences to the web
- Students then create at least two story webs about themselves NOTE: ONE MUST HAVE PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONS AT THIS TIME!
- Students then write the paragraphs into the form of a friendly letter.
- Students type up the paragraph to send to the receiving E-pal. This can be done as an attachment or as text in an e-mail message.( I would suggest the attachment strategy, especially as their writing improves and the length of their messages increases).
- Each teacher must then send digital images of each student, or a group image, to the receiving class. The image must be clear enough to determine which student matches the description in the letters.
- Have fun making guesses and predictions. Send your guesses to the original class to see if you are correct!! If not, try attacking the clues again. Work in teams or groups to help solve the mystery!
- Use a rubric to assess their letter writing
- Teacher observation
- Is the descriptive language clear enough to allow the receiving class to solve the puzzle???
- Can the receiving class read the clues and solve the mystery?