When I was young, I loved writing letters; and I especially loved having a “pen pal” that would write back. As a teacher now, you can imagine how excited I was when an elementary teacher from France wanted to be pen pals with my third graders!!
Throughout this school year we have exchanged letters with Madame Nizette’s students near Paris, France. My third graders learned a little bit about France, their school, and were surprised to find out that our pen pals often liked the same hobbies, had the same toys, and loved the same foods! My students even learned some French and also sang a French version of “Jingle Bells” to their pen pals around the holidays. Children in France write cursive at a very young age, and this got my third graders excited about learning to write in cursive.
I was tickled to see my third grade students enthusiastically writing their return letters, telling their pen pals about Michigan and our town of Schoolcraft, asking and answering questions. They worked hard at making sure their neatness was exceptional, and that they had correct spelling and punctuation. My students knew their French pen pals were just learning how to speak English, so if the word was spelled wrong it might make it difficult for them to understand.
Madame Nizette’s class and our class are going to attempt to Face Time before the school year is complete. Each of the pen pals will get to meet online. How exciting is that! As a teacher, and a person that loves to learn about other cultures, it brings a happy tear to my eye knowing how this experience may influence the love of learning another language and an interest in other cultures. What a great learning experience it has been!