Well, I don't remember having too much success with my own Pen Pals, but I've been really happy with those my students have made. Over the years I have been Pen Pals with friends' or relatives' classrooms across the country. This year, I am going to be Pen Pals with a teacher at our neighboring school. Many of the kids who attend the different schools actually live on the same street which was literally cut in half by our district's boundary lines. The cool thing about this partnership is that we are going to meet twice this school year. First, our Pen Pals will visit our classroom in September as we create and share a Get To Know You Lunch. We thought the Pen Pal experience might be more authentic if they have a face and introduction to go with the name. Then, in May, we will visit our Pen Pals class for a Good Bye and Good Luck Next Year Lunch.
I'm excited to incorporate Pen Pals into our writing program which already includes letter writing. Who doesn't love getting a letter in the mail? While I've always sent a postcard to each of my students at the beginning of the year, I'm going include a postcard for their birthdays and one positive postcard at some point during the year, as well. Again, I'm seeing another opportunity to share life lessons along with academic ones.
Do your students get an opportunity to personally communicate with other kids through some type of communication during the school year? How often do they "talk"?