I don't know about you, but I remember the days of Pen Pals. These were simple days, when you went home after school, had a snack and read Highlights magazine with your parents. The best part of this was the pen pal section and finding the kid on the other side of the world who had something in common with you. For me, it was always gymnastics. And of course everyone's favorite gymnast, Nadia Comaneci!
So, what does that have to do with now? And especially what does it have to do with school? Well, I just read an article about how some teachers are using Web 2.0 tools to bring life back into old projects.
My favorite part of this article spoke about Pen Pals. The example used in the article:
"You’re studying about the Maritimes in Social Studies and you’ve registered on ePals for a pen pal from Newfoundland for each of your Grade 5 students. The students have sent a few e-mails back and forth, but like my 1960’s friend, they’ve discovered that written correspondence has its limitations. Desiring to take this learning experience to another level, you take advantage of the opportunities that Skype presents and set up a time when your class can Skype the class in the St John’s, Newfoundland. You’ve just provided a voice-to-voice learning experience that will expand the walls of your classroom and open up possibilities for your students to become global partners with students across the country or across the world."
Exactly! Or, how about teaching about the upcoming Olympics and have an athletic "pen" pal that you can root for, or finding a Nobel peace prize winner who can tell you all about why they won. And let's not forget about including Social Studies in all of this. Once your class has their pen pals identified, go ahead and locate them on a map. See how many countries you've touched.
I could go on and on, but that's enough for now. Enjoy!!