SWBAT: Express themselves appropriately (grammatical structures and register) in the TL to ask for help in obtaining information for a cultural project they are completing for their FL class; Express themselves correctly in the TL when reporting their findings to the class.
Standards targeted: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 2.1, 2.2; 3.2; 5.1
Description of activity: Students are asked to compile information about how certain holidays (e.g., birthdays, independence days) are celebrated in different TL countries. The end product is a written report and an oral presentation to the class dealing with a particular holiday for a given TL country. Because this information is typically not available in usual print media and because it tends to differ among cultures, the students must contact native speakers (NSs) or other TL users who are familiar with these cultural customs. One possible place to find TL speakers from many different countries is on an electronic discussion list that deals with the TL in particular or FL issues in general. Hundreds of these lists exist for many different language groups.
1. You, the teacher, need to identify various TL language and language-related lists as possibilities for resources. You must also instruct the students in list netiquette and appropriate participation in such fora. If you need to brush up here also, check out Patrick Crispen's Roadmap course: Netiquette.
2. In the class as a whole or in small groups, students can brainstorm the type of information they need to complete their reports. Next, they can generate a list of questions they wish to ask TL users on the list in order to obtain this information.
3. Have the students ask their questions on the various lists. You might wish to send all questions through your own email account in order to keep track of the information and "stockpile" the responses. It would also make sense for you to join the various lists in order to monitor responses sent to your students' queries.
4. Allow a reasonable time period to elapse in order to garner as many responses from the discussion groups as possible. Then have students work on their oral presentations as well as their written reports. Make sure students are aware of the criteria for grading; present them with your grading rubric beforehand.
5. Have students be