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This Foreign Language lesson plan involves students looking forward to the future and writing about their past in an “Internet Encyclopedia” entry


Computers & Internet, Language Arts  


8, 9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Internet Encyclopedia 2040
By – Hilke Maria Cornelius
Subject – Language Arts (Foreign Language), Internet 
Grade Level – 8 – 12
LESSON PLAN: Internet Encyclopedia 2040 “Beachtenswerte Leute” (Noteworthy People).

SUBMITTED BY: Hilke Maria Cornelius
SCHOOL: Meigs Magnet School

DATE: 6/09/2000


SUBJECT: German (or any target language)

DURATION: Five 45-minute class periods

DESCRIPTION: “Internet Encyclopedia 2040” asks students to project their lives to the year 2040. After oral vocabulary review and individual contemplation and planning, each student is assigned to write (in third person) an encyclopedia entry of his/her personal and professional accomplishments and contributions to the world during the last 40 years. After correcting the entries during peer and individual teacher-student meetings, students will enter the information and their current photos into an intranet document on a class/school computer. Students must correctly use general previously-learned vocabulary, specific vocabulary such as professions and family, correct sentence structure, and various tenses by focusing on the {narrative} past. (Since real photos and names are used, it is safer to keep this information within the school computer system, forego the actual internet, and make it an “intranet” project). Students will then be assigned a fellow student “noteworthy person” to research, hand-copy the information, translate the entry into English, and finally read the German (or target language) entry to the entire class before giving a summary of the information in English. The teacher adds “INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA 2040 – Beachtenswerte Leute” (or the target language equivalent of “NOTEWORTHY PEOPLE”) above each entry, prints out the articles (which include the photos),separates each student’s entry, and laminates each into a sturdy preserved large card. (Card sizes will vary according to length of students’ biographical entries). Students are to try their best to save this card throughout the next 40 years, reading it in 2040 to see how many of their predictions actually materialized. Kids stay interested in this project from beginning to …. at least 40 years later. :)

GOALS: 1) To incorporate isolated vocabulary words into meaningful context; 2) to practice thinking and planning in the target language on a personal long-term basis; 3) to hone vocabulary comprehension/ translation abilities.

OBJECTIVE: Students will effectively use planning/reading/writing/ research to increase/improve application of general vocabulary, specific vocabulary of professions and family, previously acquired words and expressions, sentence structure, and tenses focusing on the (narrative) past.

MATERIALS: Computer(s) with in-house link to teacher-created document “INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA 2040 – Beachtenswerte Leute”/ printer / laminator & laminating sheets/ scissors/ FL-English dictionary/current photo of each student.

PROCEDURE: Day 1: New vocabulary covering professions and family is introduced in (impersonal) context as provided in the textbook.
a) Correct pronunciation is practiced out loud: teacher models and students repeat in choral fashion.
b) Teacher uses whip around (no pass option) strategy to monitor/ correct each student’s pronunciation.
c) teacher pronounces word, students write, teacher writes correct spelling on board, student check own work (question-all write); this procedure gives students immediate feedback for each word instead of meaninglessly checking a vocabulary list.
d) Teacher asks students to think and make notes about their future.
STUDENT HOMEWORK: Students research a biography about a famous noteworthy person whose positive accomplishments relate most closely to their own aspirations.

Day 2: Begin writing biographical entries.
a) Teacher provides a model biographical encyclopedia entry written in the target language and complete with picture. (I used one about Albert Einstein).
b) Students write while teacher circulates around room and helps with individual problems. (It is important that students do NOT write their complete entries in English first and then translate into the target language. They should write sentence by sentence in the target language, and get help from the dictionary and/or teacher or peer as needed. This is also a great time to teach finding the proper contextual meaning among those listed in foreign language – English dictionaries).

Day 3: Check entries and begin entering them into computer document.
a) Partners read entries to each other and help correct vocabulary and grammar, while
b) individual students meet with teacher for final draft corrections.
c) Students begin opening “Internet Encyclopedia 2040” (actually an “intranet” shared document), typing their entries as they are ready. (If students don’t have access to computers around the school during their free time, more time can be allowed to enable all articles to be entered into the shared document via class computer); of course, the document can involve the class computer only, if necessary).
TEACHER HOMEWORK: Next to each biographical entry, teacher scans in photo of each student with name and date (John Smith in 2000) under the picture. (If there is no scanner, simply print out the articles later and then cut, paste, and copy pictures and entries).

Day 4: Researching Noteworthy People
a) Students are assigned a certain fellow noteworthy person (student) to “research.”
b) Each student must access the biography of the designated peer, copy the entry by hand (as is) in the target language (students may not print out the entries).
c) Each student translates into English the biography of the designated peer.
( part b and c may take longer than one class period depending on class size).

Day 5: Presentations
a) Each student will read (in the target language) to the class his/her researched entry of fellow “noteworthy person,” and
b) ask listeners specific questions in English regarding the read material, and
c) give a final summary (in English) of the researched entry.

a) Writing: How well did the student biographer use new and established vocabulary in conjunction with correct grammar, especially the (narrative) past tense? How accurately did the student copy his/her assigned fellow student’s entry?
b) Reading: How accurately was the silent reading transferred from the computer screen to the written page? How fluent was the pronunciation of the researched entry during oral presentation?
c) Comprehension: Which level of comprehension was apparent by the fluency of oral reading and presentation of the material? How did students react while hearing the initial reading in the target language? How well did the FL speaker/reader summarize the entry in English?

USEFUL INTERNET RESOURCES: (this is just a fun site!!!)

E-Mail Hilke Maria Cornelius !

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