The first illustration with humans. A friend in Vietnam.
It’s amazing the mutual payoff we’ve created. My sister’s final project for all of college is based in educational inquiry. Her fourth grade class is pen pals with my class. The idea is that each class can learn about diversity and leave this year culturally proficient. The fourth graders’ conversations have been incredible – people of color as strong protagonists in literature, self directed research about holidays they’d heard about from my class, and a sense of awareness for others that I can only wish some adults had.
The kindergarteners’ reactions have been…a bit different. Few hang on my every word as I prepare them to write their responses, the gears turning in their eager minds. Some have trouble remembering my sister’s name from month to month. And most just like seeing their name in the letter’s greeting and care very little about its substance.
I have learned things about my students exclusively because they’ve trusted these fourth graders with their words. Kids who are hesitant to write and draw under typical writing workshop routines are thriving. And I’m not sure who I’m more proud of – these little ones for how far they’ve come, or my sister for finding her calling so naturally?
2 thoughts on “Pen Pals”
Yay! This made my heart happy. Students who I cannot get to write sometimes use their neatest handwriting and don’t mind spending twenty minutes writing three sentences as long as it means they spelled every word correctly. They also care so very much about setting a good example. I’m glad that the payoff is happening.
Authentic writing for a purpose fuels writers. Keep doing what you’re doing!!