Friday, July 29, 2011
2011: International Pen Pals
Letter writing is an essential fourth grade writing standard. Knowing this, I wanted my fourth grade students in Richmond, California to feel a sense of purpose when writing a letter to another person. With this notion, our class decided that we would write letters to the children I work with in Nicaragua. After much investment in our philanthropy unit, reading Three Cups of Tea, and gathering donations for Los Quinchos, my students were ecstatic when I allowed them to paint pictures of their lives via letters. Knowing that another child, in another part of the world, might enjoy what you have to say is an exciting idea! Half of the letters were in Spanish (as half of my students came out of the bilingual program and have the ability to write in Spanish) and half of my students wrote in English.
Each Yahoska received one or two letters, depending on their writing ability and age, to read and then respond to. The girls were stoked to receive letters from my students! For the letters in English, Nour, Gloria, and I spent large amounts of time translating the letters to each individual girl. With the youngest Yahoskas, we sat with each individual and aided them in their composition. The girls enjoyed being allotted time to think through their life experiences and develop letters that describe their 7-year-old lives in Nicaragua.
I can't wait to throw my previous 4th grade students in Richmond, who are now big fifth graders, a Nicaragua party so that they can see the pictures of the girls receiving the donations they collected, as well as receive their pen pal letters!