Tourist Guides for Teens - An Intercultural Journey

A Project Prototype by Don Doehla, NBCT

not published

Students in Napa, California, will collaborate with students in Ottawa, Canada, and in Marseille, France, to create digital tourist guides of their respective communities for one another, and for other teens who might visit their communities. The guides will be aimed at teens and their interests, and will serve to assist others to know what opportunities are available in their community, so they may plan a visit. The tourist guides will be in the style of a digital magazine, or a website, and will be made available through contacts at the local tourist offices of our respective communities, and through social media. Students will create videos to accompany the magazines, or posted on their websites, to raise interest and awareness about the points of interest for their respective communities. In addition, students will engage in an intercultural journey, and reflect on their growth in openness to change their own perspectives and values as they reflect on the perspectives of others.

Key Content

 Students will learn the language of tourism, how to describe activities and points of interest in complex sentence patterns appropriate to intermediate fluency. They will also develop intercultural skills as they interact interpersonally with their friends in Ottawa and in Marseille. Students will learn to express opinions as they offer their own points of view about activities and points of interest to teens in their own communities, and as they express their ideas about the same in the other communities. Students will learn the language of persuasion as well, as they seek to elicit interest on the part of teen tourists to their communities.



Authentic Resources


Students will consult many and varied multimedia resources related to tourism, to building websites, to points of interest and activities in their communities and those of our friends in Ottawa and in Marseille. Students will provide surveys, photos and videos for their colleagues to consult and ask them to provide feedback and input in response to these media. We will invite members of the Francophone community to visit our classes to interview them about their ideas regarding tourism in Napa Valley, and the ways our website can help support their work in the community as travel agents, as tour guides, as hotel and restaurant owners, etc. We will consult readings in French such as the Michelin guides (red and green), websites devoted to tourism in France and Canada as examples to emulate. We will read articles of pertinent interest in Phosphore magazine, a French language magazine devoted to teens. We will look for other magazines and printed materials from both France and Canada, and perhaps other Francophone regions of the world, to ensure that our website is of interest to the wider Francophone teen population of the global community. In addition, we will ask our partners to suggest and/or supply resources that they enjoy from their own cultural contexts to inform us of our target audience. We will also offer to do the same for our friends abroad.


Interdisciplinary Connections


In this project, we will connect with technology as a discipline as we learn to build a website, embed videos, and as we gather the data we seek to post on the site. We will connect to business as a discipline as we learn about tourism and all the connections within that community. We will learn about history and geography as we include points of interest in our community to include on the website. We may also address meteorology as we add in an element about weather and seasons on the website. We will have a section on the website devoted to transportation in our community to help tourists know how to get around when they visit. We may also choose to include information about health care, and other emergency services, available to tourists who may need assistance during a potential visit.


Language Content

Students will learn the vocabulary of tourism and related businesses, of leisure activities available in their community and those of their peers, of website design, of meteorology, of transportation, of emergency services, etc.


Students will learn to develop created, complex sentences, for persuading their peers. They will need to learn the conditional and imperfect tenses to use in if/then constructions. They will learn expressions to express persuasion, such as: ça vous dit de + infinitive; vous voulez bien faire…; vous devriez faire…; vous pourriez faire…; si vous aimiez faire…, vous devriez….; si j'étais vous, je….; etc.


Students will learn to express opinion, doubt, volition, emotion, and necessity in complex sentences which require the use of the subjunctive, to offer their own insights into the pros and cons of choosing various points of interest, and activities available to teen tourists to Napa Valley.


Success Skills and the World Readiness Standards


Students will:


  1. Collaborate to create a website for teen tourists in Napa Valley. They will collaborate in groups of three to four on sections of a website. They will collaborate as a whole class to develop the whole website.

  2. Students will engage in the creative process as they develop specific elements of the website, such as articles, videos, images, and the layout of each page and their integration into a whole website. Students will need to make decisions about fonts, styles, structure of the website, and many other design elements, so each part connects to the whole.

  3. Students will engage in critical thinking processes involving both application (of the language elements they have learned to develop language-based elements of the website, for example), to creativity/synthesis (of the whole website to ensure continuity of the whole). Students will research how to build a website, and apply their learning to make  decisions about the design and the content of the website. Students will develop tools for their investigation, such as surveys, etc. to gather the information needed from their peers, to respond to the needs and interests of their peers.

  4. Students will learn to clearly express themselves in all modes of communication, oral and written, as they create the various elements of the website, from articles, to videos, and to all the postings on Edmodo with their peers in France and canada.

  5. Students will engage in interpretive, interpersonal and presentation communication, orally and in writing, throughout the scope of the project.

  6. Students will use French and English to engage with their peers in Canada and in France to investigate, explain and reflect on the practices, products and perspectives of the target cultures, and of their own. As a result of this inquiry, they will acquire greater intercultural skills with the support of their peers in the other communities.

  7. Students will build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines, including tourism and related support services, emergency services, meteorology, transportation, and web design, among other fields.

  8. Students will access and evaluate the information they gather from their peers, and from their research. Students will reflect on the diverse perspectives that they encounter in their investigations.

  9. Students will use the the target language (French), and English, in collaboration with their peers in France and in Canada, to investigate, explain, and reflect on the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own. Students will use the languages of their investigation explain, and reflect on the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.

  10. Students will engage with community members in English and in French to enrich their inquiry toward building the website, and as they grow to know their peers in France and in Canada. We hope that we will also be able to arrange an exchange visit to meet face-to-face!



Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their own learning on a regular basis. Students will keep a digital journal on Google Docs. They will post the link to their journal file on our school management system, Echo. When it is time to do a reflective writing, I will post a question on our daily agenda, and they will write about the question on their file in Google Docs. Some days our questions are in French, some days the prompt is in English. Questions in English are usually related to the process of the project, ie, where they are in the project. These questions may be related to their individual collaboration toward the objectives of the project, or their thoughts about how their group is staying on track. Other questions, in French, are often about what they are learning about the language and about cultural notions I believe they can communicate about in French. Since these reflections are not assessed, I allow students to use their resources, such as handouts for the project, about the language, or notes they have taken. I allow them also to use dictionaries to look up a few words to help them express their thoughts and intentions. I like them not to spend too long looking up things, so I circulate to coach students as well. I do award practice and participation points for journal entries - my school has a grade category called P&P for this purpose. Since I am required to have a P&P grade, awarding points for reflective writing in this category helps provide students with an additional incentive to do the reflection, though most students willingly participate, and are keen to do so.

One part of our reflective journals is devoted to a log of notes connected to language and culture. Students keep a log of vocabulary items they want to remember, with definitions and examples, They also keep a log of cultural notes. We learn to play the role of cultural anthropologists, and record "field notes" usually in Google Docs.


We will begin the year with an activity called 'what I think i know about..." Students will create a page in Google Docs, and set a horizontal line across the middle of a page in the document. Above the line, they will record what they think they know about tourism in Napa Valley. Below the line, they will record what they have come to know as a result of the inquiry they will do during the course of the project. This document will be the subject of a journal entry towards the end of the project.


In addition, to launch this project, I will create a letter for the students in my classes, as well as for the students in Marseille and in Ottawa. The letter will be in French for my students. I will provide a letter in English for the students in Marseille. The teacher in Ottawa will make the choice of which letter to use, or perhaps both of them as she sees fit. The students will do a close reading of the letter inviting them to create a website for teen tourists to their regions of the world. They will think, pair, share what they understand from the letter, and work in their small groups to fill in a know/need to know organizer, which they will keep in their project folder to consult as needed during the course of the project. We will hold a full class discussion about what we know and what we need to know. I will save this document as a file on my computer connected to our white board. Periodically, we will pull up the file to see where we are. As we acquire the knowledge we need to know, we will move items to the know side of the document. We will revise, update, and change the document as we learn all we need to know. This document will also help to establish a beginning, middle and end baseline for reflection during the scope of the project.




Whether we need to incorporate intercultural reflection on our webpage or not will be a decision students will make for themselves. It is conceivable that on a page devoted to "about us" could be added to the website, and it could become a space where students will be able to express personal reflections about their own personal growth in interculturality. If this is what they choose to do, we will make some joint decisions about what to post on a public space of this kind. If we forego this option, we will nevertheless engage in one or more opportunities to reflect upon our growth in interculturality. We will also write letters to our friends in Canada and France, and post them on Edmodo for feedback and further discussion. In addition, groups will have the opportunity to create a final video reflection to post on Edmodo to share their insights with our peers across the globe.




We will use the following technology tools, among others, as needed :


  • Padlet - for brainstorming, for keeping a digital Know/Need to Know

  • Edmodo - for communication and sharing of media between our three locations

  • Echo - our school district's management system

  • An online blog space or Google Doc for the reflective journal

  • Google Drive - to store files and folders necessary for the project

  • The Website host will need to be determined. We may create a Google Site, for example.


Overview files comments

Preparing for the Project

Key Knowledge and Understanding Grid, and Product Reflection Square

Driving Question and learning targets

Launching the Project

Launching the Project

Generating ideas

Testing hypothesis

Deepening Inquiry - an Interpersonal Communication Task

Managing the Project

Examples of Scaffolding

Creating Promotional Videos

Writing Articles



Reflective Journals

Implementation Info

Implementation information not specified.

Preparing for the Project

Key Knowledge and Understanding Grid, and Product Reflection Square


Key Knowledge and Understanding

Key knowledge and understanding include (a) discipline-specific knowledge and (b) propositional (declarative) knowledge of language and culture (i.e., knowledge about something).

Success Skills

Success skills comprise the competencies described in the ACTFL World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages and in the 21st Century Skills Map and represent procedural knowledge of language and culture such as the one described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines (i.e., knowledge of how to do something).

Key Tasks and Activities

Key tasks and activities may be used as learning activities, formative (benchmark) assessments, or summative assessments that allow learners to demonstrate their key knowledge and understanding and success skills.

Students will learn to communicate at the intermediate range, in all three modes, oral and written, about tourism, and related support services, including the vocabulary of the tourist trade.

Students will be able to ask and answer questions, in collaboration with their colleagues in Ottawa and Marseille, as they gather information needed to build a website devoted to tourism for teens in Napa Valley. They will form hypothesis based on the data they receive from their peers, and test them out with further inquiry. They will reflect on the data they receive, and what the data tells them about the values and attitudes of their peers. They will also reflect on the data as it pertains to their own values and attitudes, seeking to see themselves through the eyes of others.

Students will work in collaborative teams to create a whole class website for their city/region. Each team will be responsible for sections of the website, which will be designed by the whole class. They will do research about the interests of teens with the help of their peers in Ottawa and in Marseille. They will develop surveys, collect data about the interests of their peers, and to collect appropriate language samples to include in their websites. Students will keep a reflective journal to record their intercultural journey over the course of the project, and reflect about how they grow in openness, how their values and attitudes shift, and how they become more aware of the values and attitudes of others.

Students will learn to persuade their target audience in complex sentences related to the tourist trade. They will also learn to make suggestions of activities based on what they think will be of interest to their peers.

Students will be able to engage in interpersonal communication to learn how to persuade teens to visit Napa Valley, and they will suggest activities, and points of interest, they think will be interesting to their peers.

Students will use Edmodo to interact on an on-going basis with their peers in Ottawa and Marseille. They will learn to persuade and suggest, even as their peers seek to persuade them to visit the communities of their peers, and suggest activities of interest to them.

Students will learn to express opinion, volition, necessity, doubt and emotion, in complex sentences to help inform their target audience about points of interest and about activities relevant to teens, and related to the tourist trade.

Students will learn to express their own opinions in complex sentences involving the use of the subjunctive to help inform their target audience about the choices they have as tourists in Napa Valley.

Students will post images, videos, and text, to elicit the opinions of their peers about options available to visit in Napa Valley. They will also share their own opinions with their peers about the images, videos and texts which they will post as well.


Product Reflection

Background Regarding the Problem

My students, and the students in Marseille and in Ottawa, all live in areas of the world where tourism plays a significant role in the local economy. Teens also frequently state that there is not much to do in their own home regions, but viewed through the eyes of other teens, that might not be the same conclusion.

Specific Cultural Context for the Problem

In this project, we will explore our respective home regions through the eyes of others in Marseille and in Ottawa, and thereby, come to new understandings of our own values and attitudes, while learning about the values and attitudes of our peers in France and in Canada.



How can we create an online tourist guide/website, with accompanying promotional videos, for teens visiting our community?

Students in Napa, Ottawa and Marseille all live in areas of their respective countries where tourism is an important aspect of the local economy. Students have expressed the desire to visit one another and to support helping teens visiting to find interesting activities, and points of interest in their own local communities. What is more, teens have expressed high interest in knowing what interesting things there are to do in the target cultures. They all desire to impact their local communities, by making a positive contribution toward embettering options of things to do for teens who may be visiting their regions. Students have also expressed the desire to prepare for future careers in tourism, hospitality and the culinary arts.



Students in all three cities, will collaborate to build websites for teen tourists to their cities/regions. The websites will include photos, videos and articles, featuring points of interest and activities available in their areas.

The target audience will be each of the other classes, and also teens in other parts of the world interested in visiting the respective regions.

Why do learners care?

Students are keen to learn about each other's communities, and to share their own communities and interests with others. In addition, students are keen to contribute to the local community, by creating awareness of the interesting activities for teens to do in their community. Moreover, teens want to prepare for their own future careers options in the tourism, hospitality and culinary arts industries.

Possibilities for Cultural Interaction and Reflection

The nature of this project is intentionally designed to ensure a large amount of interaction between the three cultural contexts. Students in Napa, Marseille an in Ottawa will interact frequently on multiple levels to build schema, to acquire the language needed to describe the activities they want to include as they build their websites, to make decisions about what local activity options to include, and the ways to rate the various suggested activities. Students will also learn how to express their opinions about the various activity choices. Students will learn from each other about the things which interest them. They will explore what are their common interests and what are the differences in their interests. They will learn from each other how to talk about these similar and different interests, and how to formulate their opinions about these interests. The intercultural exchange lies at the heart of this unit.




Driving Question and learning targets

The Driving Question: 

How can we create an online tourist guide, with accompanying promotional videos, for teens visiting our community?


SLOs - Student Learning Outcomes:

SLO1 - Students will anticipate, inquire, and analyze their peers' needs, and then test their hypothesis about them, as they respond to the replies they will receive from their peers about them.

SLO2 - Students will describe and suggest activities of interest in their community aligned with their peers' needs and interests.

SLO3 - Students will express their own opinions, doubts, wishes, and needs in connection with the needs and interests of their target audience, as a way to support the choices they will make about activities they want to do.

SLO4 - Students will synthesize the similarities and differences between their own personal interests and those of their target audience.

SLO5 - Students will demonstrate openness to change their own perspectives and values as they reflect on the perspectives of others.


Student Learning Targets

Language Targets:

I can describe various activities of interest to teens visiting my community using complex sentences, and hypothetical constructions.

I can express my own opinions (using complex sentences that may require the use of the subjunctive) about the activities included on our website.

I can make suggestions of activities to teens based my inquiry about their interests.


Content/Product Targets:

I can promote tourism for teens to our community.

I can use social media to develop interest in visiting our community.

I can create promotional videos to develop interest in visiting our community.

I can build a website to communicate with teens from the Francophone/Anglophone world interested in visiting our community.


Intercultural Dispositions Targets

I can demonstrate willingness to show curiosity, tentativeness, and openness, by asking questions, showing empathy toward others' ideas and interests, and by reflecting on my own values and perspectives through the eyes of others.

Launching the Project

Launching the Project

Students will receive a letter inviting them to participate in the project to prepare for eventual visits to each other's communities. The letter will include the following breadcrumbs:


  • The development of a website to help inform teens about choices of activities and points of interest in their own communities

  • The inclusion of videos about the choices of activities and points of interest in their own communities

  • The option to make these websites available to a larger community through the local tourist offices of their respective communities

  • The intercultural journey they will embark upon as they work with peers in other countries

  • The need to ensure that the articles on the points of interest, and the suggested activities, include sufficient information, in complex sentences, to inform their target audience, including suggestions, opinions, and viewpoints, about the choices they make.

  • Logistical information about the benchmark tasks in the project.

Generating ideas

Using authentic texts/media, students will generate ideas for inquiry as they interpret the media, and take notes about the content in the media. They will develop a set of questions for their peers in Ottawa and in Marseille about the activities which they prefer for leisure time. They will post the questions on Edmodo, and the students in Ottawa and Marseille will answer the questions. They will collate the answers to the questions, and formulate some ideas about what students might like to do when they visit Napa Valley. Students in Ottawa and in Marseille will do all these activities as well.

Testing hypothesis

Napa students will test their hypothesis about the interests of students in Marseille and in Ottawa by posting photos of activities to do in Napa on Edmodo. Napa students will ask their peers in Marseille and in Ottawa to inform them about the ways to describe the proposed activities in French. They will also ask them which activities seem to be of particular interest and to tell why they find them interesting. Napa students will discuss the results and develop other questions for further inquiry. As a class, we will create a "word, expressions, ideas wall" of possible activities for inclusion in the final products. The wall will serve as a benchmark of understanding of how to label activities in French, how to describe them, and how to interpret them. Students in Ottawa and in Marseille will do all these activities as well.

Deepening Inquiry - an Interpersonal Communication Task

Students will post questions and replies on Edmodo to engage in interpersonal communication in both English and in French to further inquiry into the things of interest to the respective target communities. Napa students, for example, will reply in the language of posting of their peers in response to their questions. Likewise, as Napa students post items for their inquiry, they will post in French, and students in Ottawa and Marseille will reply in French. Our mutual agreement is to post in the language of the string of inquiry. As one of the three teachers, I will monitor the posting of all students, especially Napa students, to check for understanding, to check language development, and to plan for workshops on aspects of the French language in support of student learning as to how to communicate in the target language.

Managing the Project

Examples of Scaffolding

Examples of Scaffolding Strategies

  1. For Language: The teacher will provide comprehensible input, guided practice and will assess various language specific content needed for success on the project. For example, the students will receive handouts to support understanding how to create complex sentences which require the use of the subjunctive to express opinion, doubt, necessity, volition, etc. Likewise, students will receive support to formulate and to test hypothesis. As the need for other discrete language items are needed, the teacher will provide workshops and practice to support high levels of achievement by the students. In addition, native speakers from the local community will be invited to come to the classroom to help students improve their language skills.

  2. For Discipline-Specific Content: Students will interview their peers via Edmodo and Skype. Members of the local tourist board will be invited to the classroom to serve as guest speakers. Students will read, view and listen to a variety of authentic resources, and they will collect information relevant to the project from these resources, using a variety of graphic organizers to help them organize the data they encounter.

  3. For the project process: Students will keep a reflective log in Google Docs to record their intercultural journey throughout the project. Students will keep a group folder in Google Drive to ensure they are organized. The teacher will use the Know / Need to Know strategy to ensure students keep track of important details. The class will use a Google Calendar to keep track of due dates and times. Students will have copies of all the rubrics in a Google Folder, and will be asked to review the rubrics on a regular basis.

  4. For Technology Skills: Students will access Google Helps, and YouTube videos, among others, to support them in learning how to build a website. Each group will have a technology expert as a member of their team as well, who will be the point person responsible to ensure that their team can produce the key components to the website. In addition, the point person will serve on a class-wide committee to make decisions on behalf of the class regarding the look and feel of the website, such as font choices, color scheme, website layout, the details of what to include, etc.

  5. For the Final Product:  Students will participate in a feedback and revision protocol to ensure that their group's components are on track to meet the learning targets and SLOs, and that each group is answering the driving question.


Creating Promotional Videos

Students will create promotional videos for the identified activities of interest in their respective communities for eventual inclusion on the project websites. There will be multiple drafts of the scripts for the videos, done on Google Docs. Students will peer edit each other's scripts, and the teacher will also comment on the scripts to coach students toward higher levels of accuracy of expression, and for greater proficiency. These comments will not be corrections, but comments meant to help students reflect on how to improve their writing. Additionally, students will create draft videos, and participate in a peer editing process using the critical friends protocol to reflect on the ways to improve the videos - linguistically, visually, acoustically, etc. Students will be able to offer warm feedback using sentence frames to scaffold language production for positive feedback, and for suggesting ideas for improvement.

Writing Articles

Students will write articles to post on the website. They will do rough drafts in Google Docs, and participate in an editing process much like that for the videos mentioned above, before posting their final drafts on the website for the project.



For Formative Assessment: A variety of assessment strategies will be used to ensure students are on track with the project. For example:

  • Exit tickets to assess what students are learning about tourism, language, collaboration, interculturality, reflection, the PBLL process…

  • Quick checks for understanding: polls, thumbs up/down, comprehension checks, etc.

  • Reflection - students will have frequent opportunities to reflect on their learning via blog entries (on a Google Doc), exit tickets, check lists with narrative responses after the check lists, etc. In particular, students will keep a log of their "intercultural journey" in the form of a journal

  • Collaboration: students will self assess using the rubric for collaboration, including a section for narrative responses on aspects of their own collaboration. In addition, they will evaluate each other based on the collaboration rubric and will provide warm feedback on 3 or more aspects of their peers' collaboration in their groups.

  • Other: we will frequently re-visit the know / need to know chart to see where we are on the way. As we answer the need to know items, we will move them to the "know" column. By the end of the project, we will expect that all need to know items are addressed.


For Summative Assessment: Each assessable aspect of the project will be assessed using rubrics. I will list some rubrics below, but these will be subject to revision and adaptation once the project begins. I always like to co-create rubrics with my students on specific aspects of the project; this ensures a greater level of buy-in by the students, and offers additional opportunities for voice and choice.



Example Rubrics:

Communication - presentational oral - intermediate level

Communication - presentational written - intermediate level

Critical Thinking - students will select the 2 criteria most useful to them for assessment from this rubric - most likely we will choose application and creation




Digital Project Rubric - for the website, the videos, and other digital tools



Reflective Journals

Students will keep a reflective journal of their intercultural journey to describe and to synthesize their learning about openness to the perspectives of others across cultural and regional boundaries. Students will write about the things they find similar and the things they find different about one another's cultural products, practices and perspectives. They will describe how they see themselves through the eyes of their peers in the other countries. They will demonstrate openness to change their own perspectives and values as they reflect on the perspectives of others.

Implementation Info