Penpals and ePals

Posted May 26, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

When my mom was a child, she had several penpals.  I remember how she would tell me about them and how much she relished reading their letters and writing back and forth to her friends.  How exciting it was for a letter addressed to her with a stamp from a faraway country to arrive in her mailbox!

Today young people still enjoy sharing their lives and learning about other cultures through penpals.   Schools use services that connect students from classrooms all over the globe. Children practice reading and writing in a foreign language, work on literacy skills, and learn about other cultures.

Although the content of penpal letters may be similar to what it was when my mom was a girl, the method of communicating is shifting.  In the Peanuts comic strip, Charile Brown has a “pencil-pal.”  In 2011 children are more likely to have an e-pal, since many of them correspond instantly via email with friends around the world.

Have you ever connected with someone in another part of the world through a penpal or e-pal relationship?  What did you learn?

by Marcia Chamberlain, WITS writer

Letter from the Heart

Posted December 20, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

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As a follow up to the lesson about our hands, we wrote about our feet, hair, eyes, heart, and ears. In groups, students brainstormed and wrote down facts about the body parts. Then we reviewed how to format letters. In this assignment, students were to take the perspective of their body part and write a letter to them. What would your eyes want to say to you? What do your ears enjoy doing? One student’s feet were sad to have stopped playing soccer, but glad they got a rest. One pair of eyes reminded their owner to wear glasses. And one boy’s hair asked to be put into mohawks more often.

Hearts, Hearts, and More Hearts

Dear Jackson,

I am Heart. I get really tired when you work out. Can you try to do something else, like watch T.V. or draw? Try not to eat so much candy. It is bad for me. I like it when you drink water. I like to pump blood. But I hate cholesterol. Some people think I am shaped like a valentine heart, but they are wrong. If you think my job is easy, you are wrong. I like it when you do more peaceful things.

Love,

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P.S. Watch more T.V.

Picture and letter by Jackson, 2nd Grade

posted by Amy Lin, Writers in the Schools