View Full Version : Pen Pal Exchange

May 18th, 2011, 13:37
I know that this will depend on what TPTB say and how many students I'll have, but I have a few friends who teach elementary and middle school here in the U.S. and I was thinking of doing a pen pal exchange between similarly-aged students.

Has anybody done this and how did it go?

May 18th, 2011, 13:39
You're getting ahead of yourself by far but...

I did it with the jhs that I went to. It went down the pan when the british school took like a month to write back and my kids gave up waiting. It's a shame it was a nice little exchange.

May 18th, 2011, 16:37
Yeah, I know I'm thinking way too far ahead, but I'd rather already have some ideas waiting on the back burner in the case of a situation where I'm actually doing something other than being a human parrot.

May 18th, 2011, 17:26
Has anyone ever tried making it more modern and exchanging e-mails instead of letters? It seems like it would remove the waiting a month and losing interest problem. But I suppose it might bring out a load of all new problems.

May 18th, 2011, 17:46
I did think of that, but you know how Japan fears the internet.. I suppose I could have gotten them to make new email addresses for it but writing letters seemed appropriate at the time. We also made huge posters to explain Japanese schools (this is cleaning time! These are toilet slippers!) which was fun. We got one in return and everyone was disgusted that they were allowed pizza for school lunch.

May 19th, 2011, 11:58
I've done it twice. The first time was with a young, temporary JTE who didn't really care much about it, so we did our best but she didn't really get on the kids very much. At least at my school, I had to give them very specific directions and and entire model for them to follow and fill in the blanks. The girls will come up with the most sickeingly cute stationary and stickers possible and put a lot of effort into it. The first time I didn't give any instructions to the US teacher and I got back ripped out spiral notebook paper type stuff that was so messy and ugly we made an executive decision to not hand them back.

The second time I made sure I found a teacher at home who cared and would actually instruct her kids, and it turned out better. The kids here were interested but get really intimidated by having to write more than one or two English sentences in a row. Actually the US kids ended up being more enthusiastic than my kids, I think.

My advice is 1- supervise the kids and make sure you give them a very easy to follow model letter. they will all end up with about the same stuff but just accept that you can't ask for more.

2- It takes FOREVER. Unless you are at a high level school, expect many class periods to get all the kids to finish a simple letter. Most will not work on it at home.

3- Instruct the teacher at home to supervise the kids and let them know the kids here will take time to decorate their letters and make them nice so it would be helpful if the kids at home were neat and took a little time too.