The activity that I chose to have my students participate was one from ePals.com. I found a class of 5th graders from France that was looking for another class to exchange emails with.
The class from France is looking to learn about different cultures and the experiences students in the same age range are living their daily lives. This will be a year long experience for both classroom, so at the start of the school year, students will be introduced to this project and complete a KWL chart about things they'd like to learn about France and their ePals through the year. In my lesson, there are three main essential questions that will be answered by the end of the year along with information about France and their ePal, through a google presentation.
This covers global awareness because it is teaching my students to be cognizant of students in their age group's daily experiences culturally, academically, and socially from different countries and backgrounds. I hope that they find many similarities and differences from this experience to be able to take away not only a great understanding of the way other students live, but maybe even an unlikely friendship.
Having the students converse about their daily lives is a great idea. It seems like most sites give suggestions for pen pal lessons that involve having the students talk about all sorts of forced prompts instead of encouraging them to have more natural conversations. I'd think that the students would learn a whole lot more if they controlled the flow and could ask the questions that most interested them.
I think that allowing your students to become ePals with a class from France is perfect for your age group! It also can help your students with their "letter" writing skills and also help teach them about how to use technology appropriately. This simple assignment can allow for so many teachable moments. I don't think that I could use this with my middle school students without careful watching by myself. Who knows what they might try to say!