Pen pal project: advice, please!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by mkate, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Dec 22, 2014

    Hello! I will be starting a pen pal project after the break with my English learners (3rd grade) in Spain. I am a bit wary of having each student paired with a particular pen pal (as there could be disappointment if one pal is not responsible about getting their letter in, or turns out not to have the skill level to do a good letter, or is absent for an extended period, etc.) I am also thinking it would be wise to send all the letters together in one package, rather than in separate envelopes.

    Those who have done pen pal projects, could you tell me about how you handled the logistics? How exactly does this idea get put into practice? I'm sure there are many different methods, so I'm just looking for ideas and others' experiences.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. hollydoris

    hollydoris Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2014

    We do pen pals and yes, occasionally it is disappointing because you cannot control what gets sent/not sent. Are you paired with a classroom? If so, hopefully the teacher will help make sure a letter gets sent each time so your students aren't forgotten. I rarely have a student not get a letter (though it's happened once or twice in the past three years I have done this) because I am paired with other classrooms and that teacher helps make sure they complete and send a letter. However, it is a more frequent problem that the letters that get sent are around 3 sentences long when my student wrote a full page to that person. It is disappointing for the student and for me, and that's why I make sure my students write AT LEAST one full page so we aren't the ones being disappointing. :) For my student that really struggles with writing, I make sure he writes everything he possibly can and then includes some sort of picture he drew to show his pen pal that he does care. Unfortunately not all teachers put a lot of stock into pen pal letters and look at it more as an extra thing in the classroom that doesn't really matter, but if your students keep the same pen pal for awhile they will grow to know what to expect from that student.
     
  4. hollydoris

    hollydoris Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2014

    Also, I have sent all of the letters in one envelope but I think I will switch soon to having each student address their own envelope and stamp it. It is more fun, but can be pricey depending on how frequently you send letters and how many students are in your class.
     
  5. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Dec 23, 2014

    Thanks! I have yet to iron out the details with the other teacher, and I suspect I may have fewer students than she does, so we will have to figure out what to do. Thanks for your input!
     
  6. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Dec 23, 2014

    I did not have good experiences with pen pals, but I love the idea. The two years I tried it, I had more students than the other class, so I had a few of my better writers write more than one letter. We did not use last names, and I did not allow photographs of the students. We took a picture of something interesting at our school. I sent all of the letters to the other teacher in one envelope, but inside each letter was in an envelope with the first name of their pen pal.

    We only got one set of letters back the first year ( we sent three), and none the second time. The kids were disappointed.

    Good luck!
     

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