Pen Pals

In the strategy, Pen Pals are suggested for the grade levels of 3-5 and 6-8.The NCSS Curriculum strands include: I. Culture, II. Time. Continuity, and Change, III. People, Places, and Environments, VI. Power, Authority, and Governance, V. Individuals, Groups, and Institution, and IX. Global Connections. Social Studies Pen Pals will help students relate to other students their own age throughout the world.This will also help students relate the information they learn from the pen pal to what they are taught about the place in class.Writing to a pen pal will not only connect information that is taught in the classroom, but it will also help students compare cultural norms, leisure activities, community life, and the physical environment. There are many procedural recommendations for this strategy.To have pen pals work, the teacher needs to establish connections with another teacher.This is a great way to have teacher connections with other communities who are interested in social studies.When the class is learning about a certain culture, a teacher could contact that teacher and school district to hook up with some pen pals.Choosing a limitation will help the students know what to do with his or her pen pals. Some of the deciding factors could include: the deciding the length of the letter, how often communication will last, and topics covered.The teacher should identify instructional goals and objectives for this activity.Have ideas that the students could use to learn new things about the pen pals life and culture of the country. For example, the students could ask about government, historical issues, pop culture, and anything else that would relate.Teachers could also include some languages arts into it. Make sure to review the proper way to write and address a letter.To protect privacy of the students, all letters should go to the school the class is writing to, and students should only write his or her first name. When introducing the project, make sure you provide a goal for the class.One thing the class could do is an introduction package is collection small items to give the pen pals an idea of what the classroom is about.Once students start to receive letters, teachers should communicate with he or she to have a feel of how the letter is going.This way the teacher can see if the student is writing appropriate things and is still completing the assignment.During this project, there should be a tracking system to address when they receive and send letters.This could be a student, teacher, or both.This is helpful to see if a teacher has to provide a student with a new pen pal.

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