Monday, May 2, 2011

7 Reasons to Celebrate International Pen Friends Week

by Jan Shoop

Why celebrate International Pen Friends Week?
Why should teachers spend time having students write pen pal letters?
What benefit do students gain when writing and receiving a letter from a pen pal?
How do teachers align pen pal writing with the curriculum and objectives?

Thinking about this topic reminded me of all the great reasons why teachers should have their students write pen pal letters. I thought of all the exceptional curriculum ideas created from pen pal writing.

Here are my top 7 reasons:

1.      English/Language Arts – When a student has a pen pal, his grammar and spelling improve. Whether students type their letters on the computer and email them, or write the letters by hand and mail them, they learn the etiquette and skill of letter writing.
2.      Penmanship – Having students write letters by hand, improves penmanship and pride in writing.
3.      Social Studies – Having a pen pal is a great way to motivate any student to want to learn about other countries and languages.
4.      Character Education – When students write pen pal letters, they have a chance to learn the similarities and differences of other students from all over the world. Students learn tolerance, empathy and compassion.
5.      Math – If you mail your pen pal letters, you will have the perfect opening to create a math lesson on the cost of mailing letters and currency conversion.
6.      International Studies – Most students in the United States will not have the chance to travel abroad during their school years. Having pen pals gives students the opportunity to bring the world into their individual neighborhoods.
7.      Geography – Having pen pals provides students an occasion to learn about the geography of the country of their pen pal friends.

3 Pen Pal Websites to Help You Get Started:

An informative YouTube video, created by a teenager, on how to get international pen pal friends:

Do you have an inspirational story about your students and pen pals?
We’d love to hear it!

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