Margareta Tripsa, English, Smithfield Elementary School
“Virtual Me: Using Blogging to Improve Writing” is a six-day unit for English as a Second Language Learners in second grade. This unit can be taught to second through fifth grade students, both second language learners and mainstream students. The underlying premise of this unit resides in the fact that teachers need to employ pedagogy, content, and technology skillfully in order to shape 21st century college and career ready students. This unit promotes the belief that technology-enriched learning environments in combination with strong pedagogical approaches can provide meaningful avenues for teaching even content that might seem very abstract to students, such as grammar. Throughout this unit students will work towards reaching specific core knowledge standards related to writing opinion pieces via blogging in an environment where teachers would utilize Sheltered Instruction and Observation Protocol (SIOP) strategies and Performance Excellence for All Kids (PEAK) Strategies. Besides core knowledge regarding the use of grammar for academic purposes, through the use of Web 2.0 tools, students will also practice other skills like creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills. The web 2.0 tools will empower students by expanding their community of learners from the single setting of their classroom to the entire world while they find themselves emerged in dynamic learning environments.