Friday, 28 June 2013

Classroom Pen Pal Systems - For the love of Writing Letters


Having a pen pan is one of my favorite memories from childhood. If you would like to introduce a pen-pal system for your students, here's how you can get started...

First decide if you want to use email (if your students have computer and internet access at school or home) or traditional mail (it would be nice to keep this beautiful tradition alive). If you chose the latter, you can check out International Pen Friends. It's a website that has tons of listing of potential classes around the world that your students can write to using the old fashioned pen-and-paper letter and mailing system (for a fee).

If you prefer to use an email system, you can check out ePals which is designed specifically for classroom use.
It's a free service with free teaching resources too! 

You may also be interested in this blog post about books that teach your students about other forms of writing including how to write a letter. Also, I saw these story books by Alma Flor Ada on amazon that will make a great way for you to introduce letter writing because each book has a series of short letters written back and forth between popular folk tale characters.

One of the Three Little Pigs is hosting a housewarming, and Peter Rabbit would love to go. But he's in bed with a cold after a narrow escape from Mr. McGregor's garden. Meanwhile, Goldilocks is planning her birthday party and hoping her new friend Baby Bear can come (he's forgiven her for breaking his favorite chair). But with the Big Bad Wolf on the prowl and Little Red Riding Hood heading off to grandmother's house, there's no telling how things may end!

Hidden Forest has a new resident. Little Red Hen and her seven little chicks have moved into a cottage and plan to grow a bountiful crop of corn in the nearby field. The problem is that none of the Red Hen's neighbors are willing to help with the hard work. "Not I," says the dog, the goose, and the lazy cat. So Goldilocks, who has heard about the new arrivals from her friend Little Red Riding Hood, comes up with a neighborly idea: Why don't all the residents of Hidden Forest chip in and work on the garden? Better yet, why not make it a surprise? 

Everyone who's anyone will be at the Three Little Pigs' housewarming party. Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood have already marked it on their calendars.  Unfortunately, so have the wolves -- those who've caused the Pigs to build their brick house in the first place!  In this wonderfully creative sequel to Dear Peter Rabbit, Alma Flor Ada imagines what it would be like if a few beloved fairy-tale characters were pen pals.

2 comments:

Katie Lawson said...

I loved having a pen pal as a child! I can't wait to get this started with my own class! :)

Jason Villegaz said...

Before a 1300 number or mobile phones, a snail mail have already proven its importance as far as long distance communication is concerned.

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As a Caribbean primary school teacher, I share my unique classroom with the world through this blog. Readers step into my class through the pictures, articles and classroom samples of games and lessons used in my class. I have been teaching since 2005 at the std. 4 primary level in Trinidad and Tobago. I am particularly interested in sharing my own personal lesson plans, tests and activities. Teachers need to share ideas and support each other because in doing so, we help to educate our students and develop ourselves as teachers. Technology is ever evolving and we as teachers should get on board with it, collaborate and keep up to date with this new age that we live in. Our students belong to this technological era and we must embrace opportunities to learn from each other in this global community. I also love to express my creativity in the classroom. I am a bit of a craftster . So I'm always cutting, gluing or making something... a game, a chart, a learning center, etc. So, teachers and parents, feel free to stop by and see what's new at Nyla's Crafty Teaching!