In the past, I have used epals and other services to connect my students with students from other areas of the world. I have also contacted teachers at other schools to have students write and mail letters to each other.
This year, with college readiness being at the forefront of the district’s message to students, I decided to have an adult be the class pen pal for my English Language Learner class. I chose a good friend who works for Sony movie studios in
As he travels the globe promoting Sony movies, students email him questions about the country he is visiting. Antonio responds back via class email and sends a postcard and magnet from each location. The students write a paragraph entry about each country in their world journal, along with illustrations. We also have a map where we tack the postcard he sends from each country.
This past week the students were fortunate enough to get a surprise visit from him. He was able to discuss his experiences, the importance of having a good education, and connect with the students on a personal level. They were also fortunate enough to receive a free gift from him, which they will forever cherish. The students were able to see first hand a successful English Language Learner who embodies the traits of dedication, ambition, and perseverance. The students have become enthusiastic about learning and communicating with an adult. It was a very powerful experience to meet the pen pal they have been communicating with all year long.