Notes from the classroom: Third graders use technology to reach across the world

Editor’s note: On a periodic basis, this section will feature teachers from across Union County, describing in their own words what goes on in their classes. This week, we highlight Amanda Jackson’s third grade class  at Waxhaw Elementary.

Students at Waxhaw Elementary are combining information they learned with technology to go global and become ePals with a classroom of students in Spain. After extensively studying a friendly letter writing unit in Writer’s Workshop and researching information on Spain in Social Studies, the students were eager to learn more.

To enrich their learning experience, I recently set up a classroom account on ePals, an educationally based website that allows students the opportunity to “travel worldwide” with just a simple click of the mouse as they share emails with other students across the globe.

Once the classroom account was created, each child in the class received his or her own personal email address securely protected and only available through the use of the ePals site.

The students use Waxhaw Elementary’s new “Netbook Nook,” featuring a technology-rich classroom full of small laptop computers, to send and receive emails with a classroom of students in Spain.

Currently, the students are emailing back and forth once a week in an effort to globally enrich their current knowledge base of Spain, letter writing skills, and the use of a computer.

The students enjoy this opportunity and quickly realized how different the world around them can be.  It is my hope that through this experience, and others similar, the students will leave third grade as lifelong learners who will continue to seek out ways to globally enrich their lives.

As a teacher, one of your biggest goals is to design activities and lessons that your students will always remember.  I am so happy to have come across such an enriching website that keeps my students fully engaged and constantly searching to learn more.  If they could email back and forth all day, everyday, I think they would do it without hesitation.

– Provided by Amanda Jackson

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